Crab Fest has been cancelled for the second year in a row, with the City of Mandurah making the decision to shelve its signature event.
The two-day festival draws more than 100,000 people to Mandurah, stimulating the cash flow of local shops and stallholders.
But those businesses will miss out on that profit for a second year after the decision was made to scrap the event based on "current and anticipated restrictions" surrounding COVID-19.
Advice from the chief health officer was that it was too early to make a call on Crab Fest 2021 (which would have been held in March), but the City of Mandurah has decided to cancel the event in advance in an bid to give businesses "as much notice as possible."
"We've made the decision that it is fair in the interests of our businesses to give them as much notice as possible that Crab Fest won't be going ahead because we know the Crab Fest takes a lot to plan for," Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said.
"Anyone who is involved in Crab Fest knows how much planning and investment goes in to making this event happen by our local businesses, and this work would usually start now.
"Procurement processes, deposits, stock and staff planning and accommodation bookings happen a good three months out for an event of this size. By making this decision early, we're ensuring our partners, stakeholders and local businesses won't be putting that investment at risk.
"We have therefore made the tough but necessary decision not proceed with Crab Fest in 2021."
Crab Fest won't be the only event on the calendar to once again feel the sting of COVID-19, though, with Mandurah's iconic New Year's Eve fireworks and Christmas Pageant celebrations also being called off.
"We had hoped we could go forward with a traditional events program in 2021 but the chief health officer recently advised us given the nature of the New Year's Eve festival that the event will not be approved," mayor Williams said.
This announcement comes as a devastating blow for the Mandurah community and follows the cancellation of events such as the 2020 Crab Fest, Waroona Show and Christmas Pageant due to the pandemic.
But Mr Williams was adamant local families could still make the most of the summer events calendar, and was optimistic on the region's economic return throughout 2021.
"The key pillar events of Christmas, New Year's Eve and Crab Fest won't be going ahead but there will be a very exciting COVID-19 friendly summer event season," he said.
"We need to give our businesses every chance of success during that summer period by holding events that bring people here and see people spending money in the local Mandurah economy.
"Crab Fest will return in 2022 and we can't wait to see our traditional summer events program take shape but in 2021 we are very confident we will still see really good return into our local economy."
Mr Williams hinted to a small Australia Day festival, which will run over four days and an event to replace the traditional Crab Fest.
There will also be festive light installations across the eastern foreshore, through Mandjar square, and into the marina to celebrate Christmas.