Full-tilt, 100% capacity, nothing less. That’s the plead from Live Performance Australia, which is calling on all states territories to remove the restrictions that have crippled the country’s entertainment venues.
As Australia marks a full year since COVID-19 changed life as we know it, LPA is requesting a new set of rules, and a fresh playing field.
“We set a goal of getting our theatres open at 100 percent capacity by March this year,” says LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson. “We’ve nearly reached 75 percent audience capacity indoors across the country with some shows at 85-plus percent and Queensland at 100 percent, the first state to lift restrictions.”
Richardson is imploring decision-makers to “follow the lead” of Queensland and open all indoor theatre venues to 100 percent capacity, and give assurances that borders will stay open.
Also, the LPA is calling for a review on social distancing rules, specifically the one person per two square metre restriction.
“We know that small live performance venues are struggling to program events given the current restrictions and events of scale such as concerts and music festivals are a long way off returning to normal business operations.”
An experiment conducted in Spain found that the wearing of masks in venues was more effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus than social distancing.
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“The challenges of eight different frameworks with anomalies in indoor and outdoor settings plus lack of consistency across industry sectors is severely impeding business recovery,” explains Richardson.
“We are concerned that sport and cultural events are being treated differently, despite the venue settings being broadly the same.”
The LPA’s missive comes on the heels of an open letter signed by reps from venues across Victoria, calling for immediate government assistance and a structured plan as the JobKeeper cliff approaches.
Richardson and the LPA are on the same page.
“We ask that the National Cabinet agree to keep the borders open, commit to increasing capacity to 100 percent at all live entertainment venues and work with us to implement a framework for bringing in international artists and crew,” she says. “This will get all of our people back to work and enable our companies to get back to business.”