Balmoral Show organisers are expecting to cap ticket sales for the event to proceed in September.

Responding to questions from Agriland, the society said it was still reviewing which measures would be required.

However, it's likely widened roadways, capped ticket sales, cashless transactions and masks indoors will all be features of the 2021 event.

A spokesperson said: "Planning for the 2021 Balmoral Show in September is ongoing and the committees and staff have been exploring all options to enable the event to go ahead.

"As we are still three months away from the show, and as the regulations and guidance around Covid protocols is ever-changing, we are very much still in the planning phase of what the 2021 show will look like.

"Our plans are ever-evolving in line with regulations and we will continue to update our exhibitors, traders, visitors etc. in the lead up to the show as more information becomes available."

Restrictions easing

The latest Department of Health figures show that around 1.14 million people in Northern Ireland have now received their first vaccine dose, with a further 822,000 having also had their second. It compares with a population of more than 1.8 million.

The RUAS spokesperson said the vaccination programme's successful rollout, along with the ongoing easing of restrictions, had "given confidence" that September will be a viable date to run the 2021 show.

Organisers, will of course, be watching other major UK events, including the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Windsor Horse Show, Great Yorkshire Show and Devon County Show running in July, August and September.

"There are of course challenges in running an event of this size and we will need to adapt to ensure we can make the show Covid secure and compliant," the spokesperson added.

"The safety and wellbeing of our visitors, exhibitors, stewards, officials and contractors remains the greatest importance.

"We are expecting some guidance from the government around the staging of large scale events in Northern Ireland in the coming months and we will amend the show in line with this guidance when it is available."

Cap on ticket sales

The show will be a pre-purchased ticket only event this year unless restrictions are eased significantly by September.

Responding to whether there would be any cap on ticket sales or admission, the a spokesperson said: "We do expect that there will be a cap on the attendance but we do not know what this will be at this stage. Tickets will be available to purchase online from Friday, July 23."

But as for other measures, such as one-way systems and Covid tests on entry, the finer details are yet to be decided.

"We are continually examining the show plans and working to ensure there is space to socially distance and to avoid build-up of visitors in popular areas," the spokesperson said.

"We are widening aisles and roadways. Trade stands will all be managed to ensure that visitors and staff can socially distance," the spokesperson added.

"We will have signage and clearly marked areas around showing rings but a certain amount of onus will also be on individuals to maintain a social distance themselves as they would in any public place.

"In line with current guidance, masks will be mandatory while indoors."