In a promising step forward for the events industry, indoor and outdoor events are set to restart in July, after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed more steps towards lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Following a National Cabinet meeting on Friday 12 June 2020, Morrison reconfirmed the commitment to the three-step COVID-safe framework and said it will be completed in July.
National Cabinet has agreed to remove the 100-person limit on non-essential indoor gatherings that was initially included in step three of the framework, and replace it with a one person per four square metres rule.
This means the maximum number of attendees allowed at an indoor gathering will change depending on the size of the venue and each room within it.
“Now, that will mean obviously for much larger premises that will provide much greater scope,” Morrison told media on Friday.
People will be required to maintain good hygiene, stay 1.5 metres away from other people whenever possible and download the COVIDSafe app to allow identification and traceability of people that have been in contact with a confirmed COVID case.
States and territories will determine when to implement these changes under step three of the framework.
High risk venues such as nightclubs will not form part of step three and will be considered following further advice from medical experts.
Under step three of the framework, interstate travel is also set to resume across Australia, while people will be encourage to return to workplaces that have developed a ‘COVIDSafe’ plan.
BECA demands firm plan to restart events
In response, the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) is urging all states and territories to commit to a timeline for lifting the 100-person cap on events.
“For business recovery, it is critical that notice is given to allow professional event organisers to plan and promote, as well as implement new safety and hygiene protocols,” said BECA chair Vanessa Findlay.
“We urge all states and territories to announce this change for July as soon as possible in line with step three of the framework for a COVIDSafe Australia.”
Findlay said it is also crucial for internal borders to reopen simultaneously to benefit the industry.
Stadiums to reopen to spectators
Also under step three, outdoor venues with up to 40,000 spectator capacity will be able to reopen at no more than 25 per cent capacity for ticketed and seated events.
Morrison said while this change won’t happen straight away, he expects it to take effect in July.
“This is something that would be happening as part of step three, where states and territories choose to move to that, and it will require a bit more work,” he said.
“But we have to give venues and others time to prepare for that sort of change.”
Again, attendees will be required to maintain the one person per four square metre rule, stay 1.5 metres away from others, maintain good hygiene and download the COVIDsafe app.
National Cabinet reiterated high risk outdoor events without ticketed seating such as music festivals do not form part of step three.
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