Business events under 100 pax and international travel could restart from July 1

Business events with fewer than 100 people could start on July 1, according to a timetable produced by the Tourism Restart Taskforce.

Events with more than 100 people could start from September 10, with organisers required to ensure their events are Covid-19 safe.

“That includes separating groups and making sure groups can move in and out of venues in a safe way and having smaller groups in venues,” said John Hart, the Chair of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

“If you have a group of 300 you would divide that into groups of 100 and the different groups would not interact even though they would be at the same conference.

“You need to know who is there, when they are there and monitor their movements – you need infection control.”

The taskforce has also submitted a plan to the ACT government and industry groups for a “proof of concept flight” between Canberra and Wellington departing on July 1.

“We are saying that New Zealand travel will commence on July 1 and from 10 September we will consider whether other bubbles can commence,” said Hart.

The “aspirational” timetable is being considered by the Australian and New Zealand governments, but it is reported that key departments are now working towards these dates.

According to the timetable, Pacific nations will also be included in the proposed NZ bubble, while September 10 was earmarked for potential travel to countries deemed “safe”. All international travel could restart from December 15.

“We have done a lot of discussion with the NZ side and they are saying we are good to go,” Hart said.

“These two cities have had a very low incidence of Covid and several days and weeks with no cases, they are sister cities, capital cities and both hubs of business.”

But Hart said that it would be up to the Department of Health to decide which countries could be included.

“It will be market by market – we just don’t know where countries will be at with COVID when we get to that stage,” Hart said.

Speaking to Today, Hart said they have plotted a path to allow the industry “to get back to work”.

“We want to get our 7,500 tourism employees back to work so we’ve plotted a path that is the industry aspirational path back to getting tourism going again,” he said.

“The timeline that we’ve plotted includes building capacity in hospitality venues, and then building capacity from a tourism and travel perspective.

“The reality is that we need to have these venues open, as you say, in order to service the tourists that will come either domestically or hopefully initially through the bubble with New Zealand when the time’s right.”