The Grapevine Gathering music and wine festival in the Hunter Valley has been cancelled after last-minute changes to COVID-19 restrictions.
The NSW Government on Tuesday amended a public health order to expand a ban on singing and dancing to include outdoor events.
Organisers said they were “extremely heartbroken” to be calling off the major festival just four days before it was due to go ahead.
In a social media post, they claimed to have had a COVIDsafe plan in place “for months” and had been communicating constantly with the government.
“This is a devastating blow not only to the live music industry, but also to regional tourism,” the organisers said, projecting a loss of more than $5.2 million to the region from the event’s cancellation.
The cancelled festival is the sort of event NSW Health has previously advised people to take a rapid antigen test before attending, but the RATs are scarce and the results unknown to health authorities.
It comes as the state prepares to roll out a reporting system for rapid test results through the ServiceNSW app and website.
NSW Health has repeatedly warned the daily case numbers, which have surpassed several records in recent weeks, were not giving a full picture of the virus’ circulation in the community without rapid tests being tracked.
Customer Service and Digital Minister Victor Dominello said on Monday night the developers were “working around the clock to get this live very soon”.
Under the proposed design, individuals would be able to report a positive rapid test results through a COVID-19 resources tab by completing a form.
“By reporting your result with NSW Health we can make sure you get access to the support you need.”
The rapid test reporting system is expected to be launched as soon as Wednesday.
While the transition to a system that relies more heavily on rapid, at-home tests has been welcomed, the test kits remain in short supply in NSW.
The state government has ordered 100 million tests, with the first to begin arriving this week intended for schools, social housing, vulnerable, remote and Indigenous communities.
Hospitalisations rose again on Tuesday to 2186 as the state recorded 11 more deaths and 25,870 cases, positive results reported from 36 per cent of all PCR tests carried out.
There were 170 people in intensive care and 51 people on ventilators.
– With AAP