With the anticipation of the NSW road map announcement the events industry was waiting in the hope we may be able to stick a few events in before the year end. But the announcement didn’t provide any real clarity and had so many conditions you couldn’t but think it’s the opening you have when you don’t have an opening!
Given the talk about the Sydney Business Events Collective and how close they were working with government, sadly events, exhibitions and conferences were not even mentioned in the list of re-opening sectors. Even the CEO of ICC who appeared on the news last night was not sure how this affects us!
All this is quite concerning as by now you would hope state governments would appreciate and acknowledge the one sector that has been affected the longest and are largely being destroyed as each day goes by.
The concern with the roadmap is the language used and what it really means, none of this deals with the core issue that has existed for more than 18 months – CONFIDENCE and a national approach to events. It also hasn’t really allowed for what has been constantly communicated, we need a “runway of time” to build marketing and sales and need to know the answers below before we commit, we are not like a café, hairdressers or tourism that in a relative short lead time can resume business, we need the runaway to ramp up.
The following are what I see as the core issues from the announcement.
If a LGA has a COVID case that LGA will be closed down for 14 days, does that mean if Darling Harbour or Sydney Olympic Park precincts get one case and a planned event is about to open it will be closed even though the exhibitors are from all over? What does that mean to racing and zoos which are on the list to re-open; if there is a case in the Randwick LGA does that mean the races are closed on that day and for 14 days? This is a crucial point for the event industry.
If events are run in the purpose built centres who has the responsibility to check vaccinations, is it the outer doors and therefore the venue, or is it the hall space and therefore the organiser? If it does, is the State Government enforcing no jab no entry into an event as this hasn’t been specifically stated. Who covers the additional costs of the policing at an event if they haven’t budgeted for it and would already be under financial duress?
Do the above mean NSW will have different rules to say Queensland where events are currently running and where you don’t need to be vaccinated as a condition of entry?
Like the music industry’s latest push, the event industry cannot afford stop start, go close re-opening? We need a guarantee that lockdowns will be limited to affected LGA’s and non-affected can travel and resume.
The roadmap reminds me of the old Claytons commercial, the liquor drink you have whilst not having liquor! It’s like the State Government has been pushed into a position to do something as the frustrations amongst the community builds, but more importantly the financial situation in NSW is at an all-time level of debt and the Premier is very aware of the need to get the $$ turning over again.
I really want to be positive and celebrate the roadmap as we have so much to gain but it’s hard when it seems we are no better off.
Unfortunately as has been the case for the last 18 months I fear our sector has been left out of the plans and the needs we have are not recognised, the industry is itching to get going and I believe some events can be rescued and run this year but without further clarity and guarantees it will limit the opportunities, so it’s like “claytons” it’s the event opening you have without a event!
Hopefully in the coming weeks the government lights will come on and there will some more clarity and substance put in place for our sector, otherwise 2022 looks the earliest events will return in NSW and that will be for those who hang on and survive, a lot rests on what can be challenged to get us going someway this year.
It’s great to see acknowledgement to re-open and we should celebrate small milestones but after 18 months of fighting the same issues around national ways of working and confidence until we have certainty we need to hold back popping the champagne corks!