Who could have imagined at the beginning of 2020 how events would unfold so rapidly and disastrously?
The spread of Covid-19 throughout the world has had devastating consequences in almost every country including Ireland.
Thousands of deaths, health systems struggling to cope, population lockdown, movement restrictions and mass unemployment have caused great grief and hardship.
The economies of almost every country have been gutted and the world is likely to experience the worst recession since the 1930s.
The tourist and hospitality industry is particularly hard hit. International travel is at a standstill and many airlines have almost shut down completely. Some may never recover.
Many hotels and restaurants are closed, entertainment and sporting events have been postponed or cancelled altogether.
We are now beginning to see the start of tentative steps to reopen the economy in some places but it is likely to be slow.
It is likely that the hospitality sector will be one of the slowest to recover as many restrictions such as social distancing are likely to continue for a long time.
Even when restrictions are totally lifted it is likely that there will be a residual reluctance to travel, to stay in accommodation, to gather in large groups or to eat out in restaurants.
Galway, which depends largely on tourism is suffering no less than everywhere else. This was to be a huge year for Galway as it was the 2020 European Capital of Culture and had a huge programme of events scheduled for the year.
Most events the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture have been postponed or cancelled.
Galway Races 2020 Cancelled
A statement said: “In light of the evolving situation regarding Covid-19, for public health and safety reasons Galway Race Committee has reached the difficult but unavoidable decision that the 2020 Galway Races Summer Festival, due to be held from Monday 27th July to Sunday 2nd August will not be able to take place as an event open to the general public this year.
However there is still a hope that (pending easing of restrictions) the Galway Races will go ahead behind closed doors.
Galway Arts Festival in Doubt
The Galway Arts Festival is a collection of numerous events including parades, concerts, theatre and many performances on the street and in pubs and other venues.
It is unlikely that the bigger events will go ahead but the committee is keeping an open mind and waiting or developments.
Keep an eye on updates at 2020 European Capital of Culture and Galway International Arts Festival Website
Update 2 May 2020: Galway International Arts Festival has confirmed that the festival in July has been cancelled due to Covid-19 but a smaller programme of events is being planned for the Autumn.
Most Sports Events Off
The GAA has instructed that all facilities are to be closed and all games and training has been suspended.
Rugby, soccer and other team games are all stopped in accordance with the Covid 19 regulations.
All organisations are anxiously awaiting an easing or lifting of the restrictions. Many players are attempting to stay fit by exercising at home and within the 2km from homw limit.