Australia’s 100-person venue limit to be scrapped, heralding return of large-scale events

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed thousands of fans will soon be able to return to sporting events, and limits on the number of people at indoor venues will be scrapped.

It came after Friday’s National Cabinet meeting heard that all states and territories were on track to complete the move to the new stage three restrictions next month, according to ABC News.

A limit of 100 people on indoor gatherings will also be scrapped, with no limit on numbers, but a requirement that venues allow for four square metres of space per person.

Morrison said that would allow for weddings, funerals and other indoor events to only be limited by the size of their venue. Nightclubs would remain shut, he said.

Under the guidelines, patrons would be required to maintain good hygiene, stay 1.5 metres away from other people whenever possible, and download the federal government’s COVIDSafe app to allow identification and coronavirus traceability.

Moreover, with the creation of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) overarching health and hygiene standards, the ‘Safe Travels’ protocols, the meetings and events industry is expected to adopt some of the following recommended guidelines:

  • Implementing physical distancing for seating distribution and aisles, utilising government guidance if available, and creating visual support to show intent as appropriate.
  • Reducing venue capacity limits for participants as appropriate and required by local legislation.
  • Distinguishing between different areas of risk in the venue.
  • Considering pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaire for participants.
  • Limiting physical interaction and possible queuing at reception and registration using advance registration to enhance participant flow.
  • Creating isolation units outside the venue where possible for those showing COVID-19 symptoms..

States and territories will determine when to implement these changes under step three of the framework, which would also see the return of interstate travel across Australia. Professionals will also be encouraged to return to workplaces that have developed a ‘COVIDSafe’ plan.

BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said: “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.”

“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.

“It is also timely that internal borders are lifted at the same time to allow the significant domestic business events industry to flourish.”

The news comes not long after New Zealand took the step to remove its cap on indoor gatherings.

Meanwhile, BECA and Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) have announced a joint agreement which will see both organisations collaborate on issues mutually affecting their markets.

Findlay said the collaboration between the two organisations will facilitate maximum benefit for both countries.

“Business events are such significant economic drivers and a fast way of encouraging trade and investment,” she said.

“International events will give an important boost to business recovery on both sides of the Tasman.”

CINZ chief Lisa Hopkins said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted business events on both sides of the Tasman in an extraordinary way.

“It has also created opportunity and conversation amongst organisations who would not normally align, and our agreement with BECA is an example of this,” she said.

“When it comes to competitive bids, each association will continue to act in the best interests of their markets. However, this is a unique relationship at a unique time.

“Both Vanessa and I believe a unified voice from this part of the world makes sense, giving customers and our industry greater confidence that it is safe to attend business events.”

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