EEAA welcomes Western Australia’s plan to remove all venue capacity limits in July

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has welcomed the Western Australian government’s plan to remove all venue capacity limits from 18 July.

Phase four of WA’s roadmap to relax coronavirus restrictions starts on Saturday 27 June, which will see all existing gathering limits and the 100/300 rule removed, meaning gathering limits will now only be determined by the state’s reduced two-square-metre rule.

The fourth phase will also allow alcohol to be served at venues as part of unseated service arrangements, and all events permitted except for large-scale, multi-stage music festivals. For WA’s major sport and entertainment venues, a 50 per cent capacity rule will apply.

Depending on infection rates locally, WA plans to implement phase five on Saturday 18 July and will result in the removal of the two-square-metre rule.

The fifth phase is also expected to see the removal of all gathering restrictions, other COVID-related rules introduced by the state government and the 50 per cent capacity limit for major venues.

Claudia Sagripanti, chief executive of the EEAA, said the latest announcement by the WA government provides critical momentum towards restarting the business events industry.

“Western Australia is paving the way forward with phase four COVID-19 restriction liftings starting from this Saturday, meaning the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity, followed by the phase five removal of the two-square-metre rule set to be introduced on Saturday 18 July,” she said.

EEAA chief Claudia Sagripanti

“Nigel Keen, EEAA board member and general manager of Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, has been actively working with the Western Australian government and [Tourism] Minister Paul Papalia to achieve this milestone for Western Australia, and we are delighted that the intensive lobbying work carried out is starting to gain traction.

Keen said: “Soon after the effects of COVID-19 hit the business events industry, an active lobbying campaign commenced with the Western Australian government to plan for the restart of events under COVIDSafe guidelines, with measures in place to ensure commercial viability.

“I’m very pleased to report that the Western Australian government has considered most of our requests and given July 18 as the date when we can commence business as usual.”

Sagripanti has been actively working with the relevant ministers and chief medical officers to negotiate the return of business events under CovidSafe guidelines in all Australian states.

Furthermore, EEAA board member and Talk2Media and Events managing director Matt Pearce was invited to join the NSW Business Events Recovery Working Group led by the state’s Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres.

“The NSW government and Minister Ayres have been very responsive and willing to consider our recommendations on capacity limits, seated versus non-seated and COVIDSafe operating protocols around business events in NSW, and the working group is confident we will reach a viable solution shortly,” he said.

Featured image: supplied by Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre