WEYMOUTH Carnival 2021 has been cancelled in a year where other big events that attract visitors and boost the economy may again fall victim to the effects of the pandemic.

Organisers of Weymouth Carnival announced yesterday that the committee had unanimously decided to cancel the event for the safety of visitors and for people living in the town.

The carnival, which was last held in 2018, was due to make a major comeback this year with a new organising team at the helm who have been planning it for more than a year.

Moving away from its traditional date of the third Wednesday in August, the revived up-to-date carnival was due to be held over a weekend with lots of new features and incorporating different areas of the town.

John Simpson, vice chairman of the Weymouth Carnival Group, said: "We have put a lot of time and effort into the 2021 carnival so it was a difficult decision to cancel the event but it is one we had to make.

"The health and safety of our visitors and of the people in the town come first and it would not have been right to put the event on.

"We are looking ahead to 2022 and we now have more time to plan and fundraise so hopefully that event will be the best it can be."

Weymouth BID had donated £15,000 to be used to pay for the Red Arrows to perform at the carnival and organisers hope that money will be rolled over to next year's event.

Craig Oakes, president of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce said: "We would love to see the carnival come back next year but it has to be right and there is no way it could be right this year given the global impact of the pandemic."

News of the cancellation of the carnival comes as organisers of other big events consider what they will do this year. Last year events had to be cancelled or were moved online – and organisers hoped it would be business as usual in 2021.

Organisers of the Dorset Seafood Festival held around Weymouth Harbour have already got back-up dates in the diary in case the July event is unable to go ahead.

Sophie Kermani, spokesman for the event, said: "At the moment we are planning on going ahead with the Seafood Festival, but we have no idea what will be happening later this year so it is very difficult to plan.

"We have back-up dates for September if the July dates cannot go ahead but it is so difficult to judge at the moment. We will have to see nearer the time."

It has been confirmed the Fayre in the Square, organised by Weymouth Rotary Club around Hope Square in May, will be held online this year, as it was last year, as organisers say it is too difficult to plan for an event which may not go ahead.

David Langridge, from the Rotary Club, said: "The challenge has been in trying to second guess what is going to happen with coronavirus restrictions but, as we have a duty of care to our visitors and to the people who live in Weymouth, we have decided we will do another virtual event.

"It takes time to organise these large-scale events and to try and make plans which could be cancelled if restrictions are not lifted is too difficult so we will be moving online again this year following the success of last year's event."