COVID update: NSW event limits, Melbourne curfew, QLD border closure


The latest updates and how they impact the events industry.

With the COVID-19 pandemic changing daily, we’re rounding up the latest updates and information relevant to event professionals.

Here are the biggest changes you need to know for the week ahead:

Melbourne enters stage four restrictions

From 6pm on Sunday 2 August, metropolitan Melbourne has entered Stage 4 restrictions, with new measures in place reduce people’s movement around Victoria.

A curfew is in place in metropolitan Melbourne from 8pm to 5am every evening, with people only allowed to leave their house for work and essential health, care or safety reasons.

From 5am – 8pm, Melbourne residents can only leave their home for one of four reasons: to shop for necessary goods and services, to exercise, to work or for care or health care reasons.

Stage three restrictions will be in place from 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August for Regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire.

All Victorians must wear a mask when they leave home, unless an exception applies.

NSW corporate events limited to 150 people

While there has been some confusion around event restrictions in NSW in recent weeks, the NSW Government website currently states corporate events are to be limited to 150 people, in keeping with the one person per four square metre rule.

NSW Government defines a corporate event as “an event, hospitality or social activity organised, held or funded by a business or other organisation for staff, clients or stakeholders and held at a function centre”.

It remains unclear whether the 150-person limit applies to exhibitions and conferences, however the government advises the following when organising events in NSW:

  • For conferences, consider allocating people to topic-specific streams to minimise co-mingling between groups, and allocating specific seating areas to these streams for larger plenary sessions.
  • For functions or corporate events, consider allocated seating and ensuring people remain seated as much as possible, to minimise mingling between seated groups. Ensure no more than 10 people at a table.
  • Seating must be separated by 1.5 metres. Household or other close contacts do not need to physically distance.
  • If a conference has multiple sessions, consider staggering the start times of different sessions to minimise crowding around the venue.
  • Ensure alcohol at any event is only served to and consumed by seated attendees.
  • Group singing or chanting is particularly high risk and so should continue to be avoided.
  • Dancefloors are not permitted (except for the wedding couple at a wedding).

More information is available here.

People in NSW are also being encouraged to wear face masks in indoor settings where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport or in supermarkets.

QLD closes border to Greater Sydney

Queensland has declared Greater Sydney a COVID-19 hotspot.

From Saturday 1 August 2020, people who have been in Greater Sydney within the last 14 days will be turned away at the Queensland border.

Returning Queensland residents will be required to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

“We have seen more cases of community transmission spreading across a wider area of Sydney,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“Throughout this pandemic we have acted quickly to put the health of Queenslanders first. And that’s what we’re doing here.”

The Queensland border also remains closed to anyone travelling from Victoria.

ACT postpones further easing of restrictions

The ACT remains under stage two of its plan to ease restrictions, which limits all indoor and outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 100 people within the one person per four square metre rule.

The region has postponed its transition to phase three, which will be assessed on a weekly basis. More information here.

EEAA encourages states to be #ExpoReady

Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) president Spiro Anemogiannis says while the situations in NSW and Victoria is creating uncertainty for the restart of events, other states, including QLD, SA, WA, ACT and the NT, have already started running domestic events.

A number of EEAA members have already successfully run events in recent weeks, which will help with restoring confidence across the sector.

“As you would have seen, we have embarked on our Rebuild Strategy, with the launch of the #ExpoReady campaign which is still very relevant, especially for states outside of Victoria,” says Anemogiannis.

“We have also begun discussions with a large number of industry associations to develop a national media campaign engaging associations and corporates to promote the value of business events and exhibitions.

“We need to stay on course as an industry. We are still lobbying for more support from government to keep us going until the real turnaround. We are in active discussions with the new National COVID-19 Commission (NCC) around its focus on creating jobs and stimulating our economy.”

WA, NT, SA and Tasmania

South Australia moved to Step 3 of its roadmap on 29 June, and has removed limits on gatherings completely and introduced a 1 person per 2 square metres rule instead.

Stage 3 restrictions commenced in Tasmania on 26 June, which sees the number of people permitted to gather now determined by 1 person per 2 square metres, up to a maximum of 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises and 500 people in an undivided space outdoors.

Most restrictions within Northern Territory have been lifted, under stage three of the government’s recovery roadmap. Events and public gatherings of less than 500 people are permitted to go ahead, with a COVID-19 Event Safety Plan.

Western Australia moved to Phase 4 on 27 June, which has resulted in event limits now only determined by the 2sqm rule. A new tentative date for Phase 5 is now set for Saturday, 15 August, which would see all event restrictions removed, but WA’s hard border will remain.

If you’re looking to host an event in any of the above locations, browse hundreds of great venues and suppliers on the A LIST Guide.

More reading

How Melbourne event businesses have responded to a second lockdown
Virtual internship launches for event management students
Iconic resort set to become ‘landmark for events’

Featured image: Brisbane, Queensland

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