BOATS2020 was due to start in Southampton on Friday, with an expected 20,000 visitors over the next 10 days. The organisers of BOATS2020 said they were told at about 18:30 BST, by Southampton City Council, that the event could not go ahead.
Southampton City Council said the decision was “regrettable” but was made with public safety in mind.
Lesley Robinson, chief executive of British Marine, which organised BOATS2020, said she was “desperately disappointed” by the cancellation, “especially receiving the news at the eleventh hour before opening”.
She added: “Alongside our exhibitors, we were ready to open a show that exceeded all safety requirements. We are truly perplexed as to why we are unable to run the show at least until Monday in line with the government restrictions imposed yesterday.
“Public health and safety come first and naturally, as the show organiser, British Marine must comply with all guidance.”
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