News

8 Jul 2020

Queensland publishes Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events

by Jason Allen

Leading the way back for live production, Queensland has published the first government policy that outlines rules, restrictions, permissions, and requirements for events with over 500 attendees. Developed by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), Griffith University and the Queensland Government, the document is available to read at:

https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/132570/industry-framework-covid-safe-events.pdf

The document’s risk classification system outlines four levels of events, and the permissions required to proceed. The highest risk Category One covers events with more than 10,000 on site, and needs approval from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer. Category Two covers 500 to 10,000 people on site, including “Concerts in venues or on sites with designated seating”, and needs approval from a Queensland Public Health Unit. Category Three covers everything below 500 people and requires no official permissions, but is required, as are Categories One and Two, to have a COVID Safe Event Plan and adhere to the COVID Safe Event Checklist, as defined in the document.

Compliance with restrictions means 4m2 space per attendee, and 1.5m physical distance, which will prove difficult in theatres and other seated venues. A couple of interesting factors for promoters include being encouraged to provide refunds for those who stay home if they’re feeling a bit off; “Ticket holders should not be penalised for not attending when unwell”, which is totally understandable but open to abuse, and adds risk. Event organisers will also be responsible for symptom screening for staff, contractors, and volunteers, which may be achieved by “verbal/print questionnaire or electronic solutions.” All of the other Covid control techniques we’re already familiar with, including single entry and exit points, signage, floor markings, and sanitising stations, are of course a given.

All in all, the document is considered, thorough, and easy to understand. It’s likely had some input from someone in production, as it uses the terms ‘bump in’ and ‘bump out’, and specifically refers to disinfecting microphones. Of course, there’s more compliance, cost, and risk involved for anyone attempting to put on a gig under these restrictions, but that’s the world we’re living in now. If all other states implement a framework similar to Queensland’s, we have a shot at getting back to work.

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