The City of Annapolis has informed organizers of the two fall Annapolis boat shows – the United States Powerboat Show, Oct. 1 to 4, and the United States Sailboat Show, Oct. 8 to 12 – that the events will not go on in the City of Annapolis as scheduled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are concerned about public health and the ability to maintain a safe environment downtown with the large number of visitors that the Boat Shows draw,” said City Manager David Jarrell. “It is a blow to the City and will be additional stress on local businesses. But we can’t be the epicenter of a COVID-19 outbreak. It’s that simple.”
City leaders and boat show organizers have been in conversation with officials from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health for months trying to work out a plan to develop protocols to keep visitors to the boat shows safe both inside the boat show confines as well as outside the gates on City streets and in local businesses. In recent meetings between the City and the Health Department, it was determined that there is not a way to create the necessary conditions to maintain public health and safety.
The two fall boat shows bring nearly half a million dollars in revenue to the City of Annapolis and tens of thousands of visitors to the City. Boat show organizers say that businesses in Maryland benefit more than $112 million from the combined shows, which take place on City Dock where a temporary 500-boat marina is built. Boat show patrons have the opportunity to walk the temporary piers and see boats from hundreds of brokers and dealers, everything from yachts to fishing boats and smaller sailboats.
“This was a hard call. No one wanted to have boat shows in Annapolis more than I did,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “But our first obligation is to ensure the health and safety of City residents and visitors. We take that responsibility very seriously. We will enthusiastically welcome the boat shows in future years when it is safe.”
The hope is that 2021 will bring a return to the Annapolis Boat Shows. This would have been the 51st Annual Sailboat Show and the 49th annual Powerboat Show. For further information, visit www.annapolisboatshows.com.