The 2020 iteration of Sculpture by the Sea has been postponed due to coronavirus-related restrictions on outdoor gatherings. The annual celebration of art, which draws crowds of more than 450,000 people to the two-kilometre stretch between Bondi and Tamarama each year, was slated to begin on October 22. But in a statement released yesterday, the festival’s founding director David Handley announced it has been put on hold.

“Due to current public health orders limiting mass outdoor gatherings, our 2020 event will not be going ahead as planned,” Handley said in the statement. “Sculpture by the Sea and Waverley Council are, however, reviewing potential new dates for the 2020 exhibition, including staging the event later this year or early next year. We are continuing to work with the council and NSW government agencies, including NSW Health, on reviewing all options for an exhibition that will ensure safe attendance.”

More than 100 Australian and international artists had already sent their sculptures in preparation for installation, leading organisers to “wait and see if there was any chance we could proceed with this year’s exhibition as planned”, Handley said.

As New South Wales government restrictions currently stand, no more than 20 people are permitted to gather outside in a public space. Those spaces include public parks, reserves, beaches and gardens.