Canberra's annual Carols by Candlelight is likely to go ahead with a performance in front of thousands of audience members at Commonwealth Park this year, but still with COVID restrictions in place.
While organisers said earlier this year the event would likely be a virtual carols streamed over Facebook, easing coronavirus restrictions has meant an in-person performance at Stage 88 could still take place this Christmas.
The event would still need be granted an exemption from the ACT's chief health officer to go ahead, but talks are under way between organisers and the National Capital Authority to plan for a COVID-safe carols.
A crowd cap of 2000 people is being planned with audience members having to register online to be able to attend, as opposed to the more than 10,000 that pack Commonwealth Park in normal years.
Parts of Commonwealth Park surrounding Stage 88 would be fenced off in order to enforce the 2000-person limit.
Social distancing will be carried out with markers on the ground.
Audience members will each be assigned a space 1.5 metres apart from the nearest household group.
Olivia Swift, the artistic director of the Woden Valley Youth Choir, which organises carols each year, said while coronavirus had meant some changes to the event, the choir and Canberra City Band would still be supplying the music as normal.
While Santa will make his customary appearance, children won't be able to rush up to the stage to greet him due to social distancing.
Ms Swift said after a horror 2020, it was important to be able to celebrate the festive season.
"Carols by Candlelight is an important event on the calendar and it's a wonderful community atmosphere that brings people together and fills people with joy at Christmas time," she said.
"It's special that it can go ahead and will help to lift morale after such a terrible year."
For those unable to attend carols due to the audience cap, a livestream will be available online.
Ms Swift said discussions were still under way with the National Capital Authority on developing the COVID-safe plan for carols.
"We're confident that it will go ahead because it is such a special event and a charity event and it ticks all the boxes but we have all our fingers and toes crossed [for approval]," she said.
A spokeswoman for the National Capital Authority said it had worked with carols organisers for many years to plan the event.
"There is still much to do in COVID times before we can confirm any arrangements," the spokeswoman said.
"This includes developing a COVID-safe event plan and seeking approach from the ACT chief health officer for the concert."
Under current restrictions, a special ACT Health committee, including chief health officer Kerryn Coleman, decides whether events for more than 500 people can go ahead.
Exemptions have been granted for Raiders and Brumbies matches at Canberra Stadium, with almost 10,000 fans allowed in for the Raiders' home final earlier in October.
Despite this, several large events have been cancelled their plans such as Summernats, Spilt Milk and The Canberra Times Marathon Festival.
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