By 1News

The Big Gay Out has been cancelled due to the threat of a potential outbreak of the Covid-19 Omicron variant in the community.

Organisers made the announcement on social media on Wednesday morning.

The free event was meant to be held on February 13 in Auckland's Coyle Park.

Ending HIV NZ and Auckland Pride Festival were hosting this year's festival, where vaccine passes were required to attend.

New Zealand Aids Foundation CEO Dr Jason Myers said the decision had been made with the safety of the communities it serves at its core.

“It has simply become untenable to reconcile delivery of the event with Aotearoa on the precipice of, what experts predict to be, a very difficult time for New Zealanders and our public health system."

"We note the level of disruption caused overseas by the rapidly spreading omicron variant and cited the role that large and outdoor gatherings have played in places such as Victoria as another factor sitting behind this preemptive decision."

Myers noted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated earlier this week the emergence of the Covid-19 variant Omicron in the New Zealand community is a matter of "when, not if".

"The team is of course extremely disappointed. The Ending HIV Big Gay Out takes considerable capacity to deliver, with many people involved in putting on an incredible event each year. I acknowledge the disappointment that will be felt by all those involved as well as all those that were planning to attend. I feel this personally," Myers said.

People who had already registered for bus tickets or who had made a donation towards the event have been contacted directly about refunds.

The event usually attracts 15,000-20,000 people, with Myers saying the festival had not been cancelled since 2018. That cancellation had been due to extreme adverse weather on the day.

Top Image: People celebrating and waving rainbow flags. (File photo) Photo: Mixmike/iStock

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