The P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival has been cancelled for 2021.
Organizers made the announcement Monday in a written release.
"Due to the evolving public health situation in the Charlottetown area, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival," the release said.
That evolving public health situation is the community spread of COVID-19 in two schools in the Charlottetown area, West Royalty Elementary and Charlottetown Rural High School. On Monday, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced five more cases — four linked to the schools — and said she was sure there would be more cases to come.
Schools in the area have closed for at least three days.
The cancelled event would have been the 25th annual shellfish festival. It was scheduled to run Sept. 16-19.
Organizers said the board has been working for the last six months to prepare to offer a safe and fun event.
"This is not the outcome we were hoping for, but our community's safety remains our number one priority," the release said.
Tickets will be automatically refunded, organizers said, noting it could take 14 days for refunds to appear on credit cards.
In past years, as many as 3,000 people filled one tent during parts of the festival. Festival organizers had been planning on cohorting (grouping people together), demanding that festival goers be double vaccinated, and strongly recommending everyone wear masks.