Gala dinner called off

By Jamie Lowe

The 2020 Deniliquin Business Excellence Awards have officially been cancelled.

The annual gala, which is held in June each year, was first called off in March after the New South Wales Business Chamber cancelled its regional and state awards.

The Deniliquin Business Chamber said it would look into holding a virtual awards night, but has since made the decision to give the 2020 awards a miss due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on local business.

Executive officer Lauren Ryan said while it was disappointing, there were more important things at hand.

‘‘With the uncertainty of the situation we decided it was better to just wait until next year,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s disappointing because it’s always a great night, but we’re hoping to celebrate local businesses in other ways.

‘‘We also decided against the virtual event because everyone already has a lot on their plate.

‘‘Now is probably not a good time to ask businesses to fill out nomination forms for awards that won’t see them be able to advance to regional and state events.’’

The Business Chamber has historically invited guests to Deniliquin to serve as judges, however with travel restrictions that were in place Ms Ryan said it would have been impossible to bring someone in to judge.

‘‘We usually get judges from across the region, with some needing to cross the Victorian border to come to Deni,’’ she said.

‘‘We didn’t want to bring people to Deni who are travelling from places that have had positive cases of COVID-19.

‘‘They also may not have been able to make it here anyway.’’

As a way to help out during this tough time on local businesses, Deniliquin Business Chamber is offering all of its members six months of free membership.

Ms Ryan also said chamber is hoping to celebrate local businesses with the awards gala next year.

‘‘We’re not alone when it comes to our event being cancelled,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s been a lot of events cancelled and much like them we’re looking at what we can do next year.

‘‘The main focus now is to get through this and come out the other side.’’