On the 10th September, following a number of phone calls to get access to an email address that worked, I wrote to the NSW Health Minister regarding the then recently announced NSW Roadmap to Recovery with some specific questions relating to the event industry.
I received a response from the NSW Health Department on 2nd November, over seven weeks later and on the day the new Premier announced that the information provided in that response would be redundant the following Monday.
I understand others in the industry have had better luck by establishing more direct contacts, but it does show that our industry is certainly not as important to the NSW government as the construction industry who kicked up a stink over being shut down for two weeks and were awarded a direct conduit to government.
Here is the response – the last paragraph details the changes to come into effect on Monday 8th November.
Thank you for writing about COVID-19 rules for the events industry. The COVID-19 Public Health Response Branch has been asked to respond. We regret the delay in responding due to the high volume of COVID-19 enquiries.
Since you wrote there have been several changes to the COVID-19 Public Health Orders as NSW reached the 70% and 80-% double-dose vaccination milestones.
In relation to your specific questions, please note the following information based on the current COVID-19 Public Health Orders;
- Persons must be seated if consuming alcohol in an indoor area of a nightclub or strip club. Unvaccinated persons must be seated if consuming alcohol in an indoor area of a premises, and must be seated if consuming food or drink at a significant event (weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes).
- Live music and singing is permitted, but only persons who are performing may sing, not audience members. Face masks must be worn by singing performers, unless they are fully vaccinated.
- For entertainment facilities such as theatres and cinemas, the number of persons on the premises may not exceed;
o 75% of the fixed seating capacity if admission is ticketed and attendees are assigned to specific seats, or
o 1 person per 4 square metres.
Only fully vaccinated persons and persons with medical exemption from vaccination may attend. A COVID-19 safety plan for entertainment facilities must be developed and implemented.
- For seated dinner functions or standing cocktail functions, the number of persons on the premises may not exceed 1 person per 4 square metres for indoor areas and 1 person per 2 square metres in outdoor areas. A COVID-19 safety plan for hospitality must be developed and implemented.
- There is currently no maximum limit for number of persons attending a wedding reception (the 100 person limit was discontinued on 18 October 2021). For weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes a COVID-19 safety plan for a significant event must be developed and implemented.
- For major outdoor stadiums, the number of persons on the premises may not exceed the lesser of 1 person per 4 square metres or 5,000 persons. Only fully vaccinated persons and persons with medical exemption from vaccination may attend. A COVID-19 safety plan for major recreation facilities must be developed and implemented.
- For events held in public outdoor places such as The Domain, the maximum number of attendees is 3,000 persons for events that are enclosed by fencing and admission is ticketed and attendees are assigned to specific seats, or otherwise 1,000 persons. A COVID-19 safety plan for outdoor events must be developed and implemented.
- Premises subject to vaccination requirements must take reasonable steps to ensure all persons are fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption. Guidance on vaccinations requirements and applying reasonable steps is available on the NSW Government website. Persons that cannot display proof of vaccination should be asked to leave the premises. If the person refuses, notify the police.
- In the future, should an area of NSW be subjected to lockdown as much notice will be provided as possible. Financial assistance and support will be provided as has occurred with previous lockdowns.
The NSW Government has announced today that some remaining restrictions that were scheduled to be discontinued on 1 December 2021, will now be discontinued on 8 November 2021. From 8 November 2021, the 1 person per 2 square metre rule will apply to all premises for indoor and outdoor areas, and entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities will be able to accommodate 100% of fixed seating capacity. Current restrictions on unvaccinated persons and requirements for all persons to wear masks will remain in place until NSW achieves 95% double vaccination or until 15 December 2021.
To keep up-to-date with the latest changes to Public Health Orders, please visit the NSW Government website.