The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has welcomed the announcement by the Western Australian State Government, 22 June, that it is removing all venue capacity limits from 18 July as part of the next stage of exiting Covid-19 restrictions.
Claudia Sagripanti (pictured), EEAA Chief Executive said the news from Western Australia provided critical momentum towards restarting the business events industry and that the other Australian state Chief Medical Officers were also receptive to the easing of capacity limits and seating restrictions.
“Western Australia is paving the way forward with Phase 4 Covid-19 restriction liftings, meaning the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre will be able to operate at 50% capacity, followed by the Phase 5 removal of the 2sqm rule set to be introduced on Saturday 18 July.” said Ms Sagripanti.
“Nigel Keen, EEAA Board member and General Manager of Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, has been actively working with the Western Australian government and Minister Paul Papalia to achieve this milestone for Western Australia, and we are delighted that the intensive lobbying work carried out is starting to gain traction,” Ms Sagripanti added.
“Soon after the effects of Covid-19 hit the business events industry, an active lobbying campaign commenced with the Western Australian government to plan for the restart of events under CovidSafe guidelines, with measures in place to ensure commercial viability. I’m very pleased to report that the Western Australian government has considered most of our requests and given 18 July as the date when we can commence business as usual,” said Keen.
The EEAA Board and Chief Executive, Claudia Sagripanti have been actively working with the State government Chief Medical Officers and State government Ministers to negotiate the return of business events under CovidSafe guidelines in all Australian states.
Matt Pearce, EEAA Board Member and Managing Director of Talk2Media and Events, organisers of the AIME MICE show, was invited to join the NSW Business Events Recovery Working Group led by NSW Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres. He said: “The NSW government and Minister Ayres have been very responsive and willing to consider our recommendations on capacity limits, seated versus non-seated and CovidSafe operating protocols around business events in NSW and the Working Group is confident we will reach a viable solution shortly.”
“Exhibitions and business events are the key to rebuilding economies, so the focus of our lobbying work with Government has been to highlight the sector’s capability to restart the economy – a top priority for business and Governments in the current climate,” Sagripanti added.
The business events sector contributes more than A$35bn (US$24.18bn) to Australia’s GDP, runs over 430,000 events annually and employs more than 229,000 people.
COVID-19 Restrictions by State:
Commencing Saturday, 27 June, WA confirmed the removal of restrictions as follows:
- All existing gathering limits and the 100/300 rule
- The 2sqm physical distancing rule will continue at venues that hold more than 500 people
- Removal of seated service requirements at food businesses and licensed premises
- No requirement to maintain patron register at food businesses and licensed premises
- Alcohol can be served as part of unseated service arrangements
- All events permitted except for large scale, multi-stage music festivals
- Unseated performances permitted at venues such as concert halls, live music venues, bars, pubs and nightclubs
- Gyms operating unstaffed, but regular cleaning must be maintained
- The casino gaming floor reopening under agreed temporary restrictions
New South Wales
The NSW government removes the limit on gatherings from 1 July. The number of people allowed inside indoor venues that can open will be determined by the one person per 4sqm rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only. Events are required to be ticketed and seated.
Queensland will move to stage three of lifting restrictions on 10 July, post a review at the end of June. The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre is the first venue to be given approval to operate under a Site Specific CovidSafe Plan – adhering to the one person per 4sqm rule when indoors. Discussions are continuing on outdoor events.
The Victorian Government has revised its plan and reduced gathering numbers due to the new outbreak of Covid-19 cases in Melbourne.