Venues NSW* is seeking government approval to require patrons to prove they have been vaccinated in order to attend events at their venues.
Chairman Tony Shepherd told Ben Fordham on 2GB it’s a “sensible approach”.
“Why should people who have been vaccinated be compromised by having to sit next to people who are unvaccinated?
“I’m not forcing people to get vaccinated … if they want to watch the cricket they can watch it on TV.” He said.
In an interview on the ABC yesterday Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham indicated that proof of vaccination (vaccination passport) will be available on our smart phones very soon.
This has become a hot topic in the media so ASE put a couple of questions to a number of event, venue and association managers.
Do you support the concept of requiring all staff who are likely to come into contact with delegates or the public to be vaccinated?
Peter Jones (PJSE): Yes and those attending the event would have the same expectation of the staff working at the event.
Gary Fitz-Roy (Expertise Events): If this is what we need to get the industry going with consistency of operation yes, if it’s just another new hurdle that will be superseded with a new another thing we have to do it would be more questionable.
Simon Thewlis (Save Victorian Events): It is quite fair and reasonable to expect all staff who are coming into contact with delegates and the public to be vaccinated if they can be.
Steve Loe (Precedent Productions): We support the concept that all staff should be vaccinated should they want to participate in any work that requires them to meet other people.
Geoff Donaghy (CEO ICC Sydney): We work closely with the NSW Health Department in following official Gazette Orders. We have no plan to make vaccinations mandatory for our team members, clients or visitors.
Helen Fairclough (COO MCEC): We strongly encourage our employees, customers and the wider community to be vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), when they become eligible.
Do you support the concept of all visitors to your venue or event to prove they have been vaccinated?
Peter Jones: Yes, it’s going to be the new COVID-normal so we better start preparing for it now
Gary Fitz-Roy: I believe people have their own beliefs and rights and I am not convinced any Government should impose rules. That said anything that may impact the success of an event through limiting access by vaccine or putting at risk the running of an exhibition because someone who attends has COVID means in some respects it’s a loss both ways! That all said, for the good of the industry and creating an environment that gives confidence to all in attendance, I would agree with it.
Simon Thewlis: It makes sense to make vaccination a requirement for some types of events. For a simple one hour meeting where people can distance, etc. it might not make sense, but for a full day conference or major dinner where people will be together for an extended period or working closely together it would make sense for them all to be vaccinated if they can be. Especially if this in turn allows a much better experience for everyone involved.
Steve Loe: If it means that the events can go ahead without restriction then yes. The Government also needs to implement Vaccination Passports for other key industries such as retail, construction, key hospitality venues and travel.
Helen Fairclough: At this stage, MCEC does not have plans to mandate vaccination but by hosting one of Victoria’s flagship vaccination centres, we are proud to be leading the way in vaccinating our population. Victorians need to be vaccinated so we can safely move around our regions, interstate and eventually overseas assisting a faster recovery of our business events industry.
Obviously the vaccination requirement could not be implemented until vaccination levels reach a certain level. At what point should the vax requirement be implemented – when the rate of vaccination reaches 60%, 70%, 80% or other?
Gary Fitz-Roy: I am not sure I am qualified to answer that my only point would be the figure needs to be the figure, so if the Government agree to 70% we can’t achieve that then they say actually we need to be at 80% !
Simon Thewlis: This should be implemented once everyone has had a fair chance to be vaccinated. This is turn should encourage more people to get vaccinated.
Steve Loe: Vaccination Passports should be implemented once a minimum of 80% of the population has received their second dose.
Should this be required only for indoor events or should open air festivals be included as well?
Peter Jones: Any form of gathering whether it be a wedding, funeral, concert, parade – doesn’t matter.
Gary Fitz-Roy: Again listening to the media coverage COVID seems to be an issue with close contact so depends how crowd density is in outdoors, the AFL believe the transfer in Melbourne was through a common gate entry so being outside doesn’t seem to stop you getting it seems to be linked how close you are with someone who has it.
Simon Thewlis: Victoria’s event industry is still effectively shut because of virus transmission that occurred at an ‘outdoor’ venue. The reality is that all events have indoor components. The highest risk areas for stadium events, for example, are the trains/trams, gates/turnstiles, escalators/stairs/lifts, bars and food outlets, and dunnies. All outdoor events have ‘indoor’ components or areas where people might be very close together with reduced airflow – and generally larger groups of people that are harder to manage – so outdoor events of any real size should be included as well.
Steve Loe: All festivals and events
BECA released a statement today
EEAA issued this statement:
“Developments overseas are showing the way forward is a vaccination passport as a requirement for attending Business Events. The EEAA has been advocating strongly for a clear vaccination policy and timeline, and for people to get vaccinated. We support the principles of a vaccination passport, proof of full vaccination against COVID or a negative COVID test using rapid testing as a requirement for attending Business Events; however this is not feasible until a signification portion of the population has been vaccinated. What that level is, is up to the scientists and the chief medical officers of each state and territory to determine. Until we reach that level demanding a vaccination passport creates inequities. The EEAA also supports the proposal to have venue staff vaccinated, but it depends on the legalities around mandating compulsory vaccinations. A number of our members are advocating and assisting their staff in getting vaccinated already.
We would also want to ensure that there are appropriate safety provisions for organisers and suppliers/contractors on site.
The EEAA has been advocating since early 2021 on the need for event cancellation insurance and advanced deposit schemes, particularly in NSW and Victoria. These calls are gathering momentum as we partner with other broader industry associations on this issue.
A major issue is the state by state approach. For example while there has been state based grants, these may not be available to companies where a portion of their revenue comes from another state, for example a Victorian organiser will not be able to claim a grant for events in New South Wales as they are not domiciled in the state. While these support packages are state based, it is critical to have some national co-ordination to provide targeted support for organisers, venues and suppliers in Business Events.”
James Kavanagh Flight Centre Travel Group GM Australia
As a company, FCTG Australia believes wholeheartedly in two things. Firstly, that every Australian has the right to make their own medical decisions, and this includes whether or not they wish to get vaccinated. Secondly, that a vaccination program is the most effective method to open up the world for travellers.
Our purpose – “to open up the world for those who want to see” – has never been more relevant to our business now as we look to re-open the world.
We believe, as Australia’s largest and leading travel agency group, that we must lead by example to promote Australia’s roadmap to freedom and encourage participation in the national vaccine rollout program.
To that end, given our culture of flexibility, we’re more than happy for our staff to have their vaccines within work hours to make the process easier for them.
We’re also in the process of exploring our options around offering up some of our unused physical locations as vaccine hubs.
Travellers having to prove they have been vaccinated is ultimately a decision for Federal and State Governments, as well as the airlines.
What we can say is we’re fully behind the nationwide vaccination programme and the pent-up demand for both the corporate traveller and the leisure traveller is clear to see.
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*Venues NSW is the owner, coordinator and promoter of a portfolio of publicly-owned sports and entertainment venues in NSW. In Sydney, Venues NSW owns the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium in Eastern Sydney, ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium in Western Sydney, on behalf of the NSW Government. In the Illawarra, it owns WIN Sports and Entertainment Centres. In the Hunter, Venues NSW owns McDonald Jones Stadium, and the Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground.
Cartoon by Brett Bower Sydney Cartoonist