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Poppy sales go virtual amid COVID-19 battleground

The shop’s managing director, Stephen Davie, said orders collapsed by 80 per cent before Anzac Day. “Running into Remembrance Day we are probably down about 65 per cent in terms of the number of organisations participating and the value of the orders,” he said.

“… so there is a significant drop. If you are walking past somebody you can put your hand in your pocket and give them something but if you have got to go and log in and find your card, well that’s rather different.”

Ted Helm, president of the Queanbeyan RSL sub branch is one organisation that will be impacted having supported Poppy Day “forever”. “We are not selling poppies because of COVID-19,” he said. “Normally we would do it at the arcade with volunteers selling them but we can’t do that this year. We would normally raise about $2500 but instead we will give the state RSL a donation of a substantial amount to help veterans.”

Poppy cascade at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park in 2018.

Poppy cascade at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park in 2018.Credit:Peter Rae

Paul Thomas is secretary treasurer of the Parkes RSL sub-branch and western districts president taking in 38 sub branches.

An Australian buglar plays the Last Post in Taji, Iraq, 2016.

An Australian buglar plays the Last Post in Taji, Iraq, 2016.

“Some clubs aren’t even having a stall, some aren’t doing a thing,” he said. “We are having a street stall but that’s all we are doing, there are too many implications when if you go into the shops you have got to clean your hands each time. It would drive the blokes crazy.”

Groups of up to 100 people will be able to gather for Remembrance Day services across NSW after the approval of a one-off exemption from COVID-19 restrictions Veterans’ Affairs announced in mid-October.

Acting Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said: “Australians have paused to reflect and pay tribute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month since 1918, so this is welcome news for our veterans community.”

A spokeswoman for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission said charities have in the wake of COVID-19 conducted activities and events such as raffles and dinners online.

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