While the 69th annual version of the PEI Easter Beef Show and Sale will go ahead, concerns about social distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 virus have forced the board of directors to make significant changes to the format.

The show and sale will not be open to the public. For this year only, a grading and scoring process will be used on farm to determine the champions in advance of the sale. A statement from the directors notes the number of attendees will be minimal and recommended separation distances will be recognized and followed.

The health and safety of Islanders is our first concern, so therefore we are using the advantage of this digital age to host the Sale “virtually,” notes a statement from the directors. "We need to do everything we can to minimize the spread of this virus."

A virtual call-in style sale will be held this Friday starting at 1 p.m. Buyers will have the option of calling in or receiving a call to place a bid on the animals they wish to purchase. Although the cattle and many of the buyer’s won’t be physically present on sale day, the directors note "we will have photos, videos and information on the exhibitor. The event will also be live streamed on the PEI Easter Beef Show & Sale facebook page so anyone wishing to watch the event can do so from home."

The directors note the show and sale is a major fundraiser for the Easter Seals campaign and they are hoping to contribute to that cause again this year. As well, stores and meat counters rely on having Easter Beef available for the holiday weekend.

"Producers from across the Island, including 16 youth, have been preparing their steers for many month, and they are now at market age," the statement notes. "Buyers and exhibitors have been very flexible in making the very unique situation work. Once again, If the COVID-19 situation progresses or upon further direction from the Chief Health Officer, plans will be revisited."

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