Coronavirus concerns threaten to scupper the plans of thousands of Canberrans hoping to emerge from their winter hibernation with some organisers already cancelling some of the city's largest summer events.
Petrolheads will still be able to get their fix of burn outs at Summernats but with a revised schedule and limited crowd numbers.
Meanwhile, the annual Carols by Candlelight concert will be moved to an online event to avoid large crowds, while the New Year's Eve fireworks could be cancelled for the second year in a row.
The Canberra Times Marathon Festival will still go ahead but could be held over multiple days, while the organisers of Canberra's largest gaming festival Cancon have already pulled the pin on the 2021 event due to coronavirus.
Despite many events being months away, ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman warned large crowds could hinder Canberra's coronavirus repsonse.
"For local public events, organisers are required to comply with the relevant public health directions and we strongly recommend they develop and follow a COVID safe plan," Dr Coleman said.
"Certain aspects of public events may be restricted...including the number of people in attendance."
Summernats director Andy Lopez said he was confident the event would be able to go ahead in 2021 in a way that would be COVID safe.
However, he said that meant having Summernats compete against itself.
"In the past we've programmed the event so you can follow an itinerary of events throughout the day," he said.
"We'll stage a number of events at a few places at the one time to help spread the crowd."
In an average year, the car festival would bring in 100,000 visitors over a four-day period.
While there will be a large area at EPIC to hold the event, the one person per four square metre rule will still be in effect with further caps on indoor spaces in the complex.
Marshals will be on hand enforcing crowd limits both in indoor and outdoor venues and to help avoid pressure points where punters were likely to converge.
"We're adjusting our programming and our financial expectations. There are lots of businesses in Australia in the hospitality and accommodation and entertainment industries that are doing it tough, and we're expecting it will be the same for us," Mr Lopez said.
The Summernats director said the event was likely to go ahead because while it had similar crowds to that of a music festival, the crowd was more likely to be dispersed.
For major music festivals that come to Canberra later in the year, there is no word about whether Spilt Milk will take place in Commonwealth Park, which normally draws thousands of festivalgoers.
Groovin The Moo cancelled all legs of its 2020 touring festival, which includes Canberra, but festival organisers have said they were planning to have it happen in 2021.
Large events like Summernats may still be intending to go ahead in the future, but other events have had to cancel altogether ahead of time or dramatically change how it is presented.
Canberra's annual Carols by Candlelight performance in Commonwealth Park will not be held at the venue this year, instead being performed to a virtual audience on Facebook.
Olivia Swift, the artistic director of the Woden Valley Youth Choir, which organises the event, said the choir, band and musical acts will still perform the festive repertoire online for people to watch, but a lot was still up in the air.
"We're trying to find a venue that allows for enough space for 100 people, and that is quite difficult," Ms Swift said.
Plans were initially considered to close off Commonwealth Park and have viewers spaced 1.5 metres apart, but the idea was scrapped due to the complexity of how it would be enforced on the night.
The organisers of Canberra gaming convention Cancon have already made the decision to cancel its 2021 event, which was scheduled to happen in January.
Organiser Tim Sleigh said a decision was made earlier this month to cancel the event due to coronavirus restrictions limiting the amount of people that would be able to attend.
Other issues included the drive-thru coronavirus testing clinic at EPIC likely to still be taking up a bulk of the convention area where Cancon normally takes place, along with logistics of having to sanitise individual game pieces every time a player touches them
"We would be losing half of our players due to having to take into account the one person per four square metre rule," Mr Sleigh said.
"The convention has been running for a very long time and has gone through bushfires and floods, and has never stopped before, until a pandemic."
The Canberra Times Marathon Festival, scheduled for November 8, will be up and running but with social distancing measures enforced on the course.
An estimated 5000 people are expected to pound the pavement as part of the running festival, which was postponed from earlier this year.
Festival director Julie Tedde said plans were being updated on a regular basis on how to run the event safely.
"We're looking at reducing the density of the event space, and one of the contingencies is splitting the site so there are two finish line areas so we don't end up with everyone in the same space," Ms Tedde said.
"We've also looked at strategically changing the start times to have a number of waves.
"Another contingency is to spread it out over two days."
After one of the most challenging years Canberrans have faced, there's no certainty of seeing out 2020 with a fireworks display over Lake Burley Griffin.
The ACT government said no decision has been made about whether the display will take place and that it was looking at options guided by public health directions.
The man in charge of organising Canberra's fireworks in previous years, Martin Brady, said whether or not the year will end in a technicolour bang depended on where the ACT was at in dealing with coronavirus.
"I think there's an appetite for fireworks and people have been busting for something, we just have to do it safely," he said.
"I think coronavirus has been managed well in the ACT."