The Omicron variant is a clear and present danger to Australia’s live entertainment industry, one that could snuff out the recovery.

That’s the underlying message of a new call-out from Australia’s music industry, which bands together once again with an urgent plea for support from above.

This may be the start of a bleak period, thanks to a new strain of COVID-19 which has gone global in a recent days and weeks, ruining Christmas for some and casting doubt over the reopening of borders and venues.

With the live industry back on “high alert,” lobby bodies AAM, AFA, ALMBC, AMIN, APRA AMCOS, ARIA, PPCA and LPA again call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers to deliver immediately a government-backed insurance scheme.

“The emergence of this new variant on the heels of Delta and the rapid global response to limit its spread is a salutary reminder that this is not over yet,” reads a joint statement.

“For an industry getting back on its feet, investing nationally and working hard to get shows back on stage and touring, the ongoing threat of future business disruption is very real.”

An interruption insurance scheme for Australia’s live industry isn’t a pipe dream.

Earlier this month, Victoria’s state government unveiled a $20 million Live Music Restart package, and a year-long insurance scheme, set up to support events companies in case of snap lockdowns.

Similar government-backed insurance and business interruption funds already exist for the live entertainment industries in New Zealand, and across the U.K. and Europe, including Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Estonia, while a Temporary Interruption Fund (TIF) provides backing for Australia’s screen industry.

“For this scheme to truly work,” the live entertainment sector’s statement continues, Canberra must develop a national scheme “that reflects the industry’s national economic and employment footprint.”

The release “calls on all levels of government to come together and establish a partnership approach with industry, delivering a government-backed insurance scheme and ongoing support.”

The number of confirmed Omicron cases in NSW currently stands at four, all of whom are travellers from southern Africa, fully vaccinated and in quarantine, the ABC reports.

The Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to spread fast, and the overall global risk related is “assessed as very high,” according to the World Health Organization.

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