Published: 15:42, 23 March 2020
| Updated: 15:45, 23 March 2020
Organisers of this year's Kent Excellence in Business Awards - better known as KEiBA - have confirmed this year's event has become the latest victim of the coronavirus outbreak.
The prestigious annual awards, which were due to see winners crowned at a glitzy ceremony at the Kent Event Centre on Thursday, June 18, has now been cancelled.
Organised by the KM Media Group, publisher of this website, and Kent County Council, it has fallen victim to the spread of the disease and the ban on public gatherings.
It follows on from news earlier today confirming that Business Vision Live, due to take place in May, has also been shelved for 2020.
James Gurney, managing director of the KM, said: "In business, the right decisions are often the toughest ones. But in these highly unusual circumstances, we have an absolute duty of care.
"KM Media Group and its parent company, Iliffe Media, remain completely committed to celebrating business excellence in Kent. We are already working with our sponsors, event partners, Kent County Council and all of our amazing business entrants to make the next event bigger and better than ever and hope to able to announce a new date for this incredible event soon."
Kent County Council's cabinet member for economic development, Mike Whiting, added: "In the context of the extraordinary times we are living in due to the coronavirus pandemic, cancelling the KEiBA 2020 is the right and understandable decision.
"Businesses are going through very difficult times and have plenty to concentrate on. I want to thank the team behind the awards for the work they have done and we all share their disappointment but, I am sure, KEiBA like our wonderful Kent businesses will be back bigger and better than ever next year, once the current emergency is over. KCC will certainly be doing all it can to support them."
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More by this authorChris Britcher