Business events restart in WA as venue capacity limits removed

Business events in the west have been given the greenlight, with venue capacity limits in Western Australia removed from next month.

From July 18, all events will be permitted except for large scale, multi-stage music festivals. But the 2sqm physical distancing rule will continue at venues that hold more than 500 people.

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) said that the news from Western Australia provides critical momentum towards restarting the business events industry.

“Western Australia is paving the way forward with Phase 4 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 5 removal of the 2sqm rule set to be introduced on Saturday 18 July,” said Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA’s chief executive.

“Nigel Keen, EEAA board member and general manager of Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, has been actively working with the Western Australian Government and 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 they had been lobbying the 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,” he said.

The EEAA has been actively working with State Government Chief Medical Officers and State Government Ministers to negotiate the return of business events under CovidSafe guidelines in all Australian states.

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

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

COVID-19 Restrictions by State:

New South Wales

The NSW Government has removed the limit on gatherings from 1 July. The number of people allowed inside indoor venues that can open will be determined by the one person per 4 square metre rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only. Events are required to be ticketed and seated.

Queensland

Queensland will move to stage three of lifting restrictions on 10 July, post a review at the end of June. The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre is the first venue to be given approval to operate under a Site Specific COVIDSafe Plan – adhering to the one person per 4 square metre rule when indoors. Discussions are continuing on outdoor events.

Victoria

The Victorian Government has revised its plan and reduced gathering numbers due to the new outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne.

South Australia

The SA Government announced today that the state will implement the two square metre rule per person for indoor gatherings, restaurants, bars and cafes on Monday 29 June, as it moves to Stage 3 lifting of restrictions. This is a further lift from the June 10 announcement of a maximum of 300 people to gather at a venue, subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule. Large events and the reopening of nightclubs are due for consideration under Stage 3. The 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers entering the state has been lifted, however, a pre-approval process for travellers from Victoria may be implemented as a result of the current spike in COVID-19 cases.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT moved to Step 2.2 of its recovery plan last week that includes a maximum of 100 people at indoor and outdoor gatherings along with the adherence to one person per 4 square metres rule (subject to a final assessment from a public health perspective). Step 3 with further consideration around larger gatherings is expected to commence in July.