SCHOOL leavers hoping to let off steam after their final exams have been dealt a blow with official schoolies celebrations at the Whitsundays cancelled this year.
Airlie Beach has long been an alternate destination for teens wanting a lower key party than the bright-lights of the Gold Coast, but in 2020, there will be no official events.
Whitsunday Regional Council made the decision to not proceed with planned events due to the coronavirus pandemic at their monthly meeting this week.
Councillors voted unanimously to cancel the "2020 Whitsunday Schoolies 7-Day Safety Response Program."
The Whitsunday Schoolies Safety Response Program has been held in Airlie Beach each November specifically for high school graduates celebrating the completion of high school years.
The program normally draws over 1000 schoolies from across Queensland and inter-state and involves supervised diversionary activities, including mosh-pit style dance parties, in a safe environment known as Schoolies Central.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said it would be too high a risk to the Whitsunday community to run the program this year.
"The risk of a positive COVID case occurring if we went ahead with Whitsunday schoolies, and the flow-on impacts to the Whitsundays as a popular tourist destination, is just too high," Cr Willcox said.
"The Whitsundays is a safe place to visit, with no positive coronavirus cases for over three months, but constantly changing restrictions have made planning even a month ahead impossible so the common-sense thing to do was cancel."
Cr Willcox said COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on the lives of year 12 students and to call off Whitsundays schoolies is another blow to this group of young people.
"It's not the outcome we wanted but it would be irresponsible of us to go ahead this year."
Cr Willcox said while the specific schoolies events will not be going ahead, independent travellers, young and old, were welcome and the region was open for business.