While interstate lockdown restrictions have started to ease around Australia, the nation’s borders are likely to remain closed for the remainder of 2020, according to Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham. This effectively dashes all hope of any overseas tours or festivals featuring international performers happening later this year.
As reported by the ABC, Birmingham said Australia’s current ban on general travel would not be lifted any time soon, attributing it to the nation’s success in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
“I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off,” Birmingham told the National Press Club.
“Just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first.”
When asked whether Australia’s borders would remain closed until next year, Birmingham said “I think that is more likely the case”.
The sentiment was initially foreseen by the head of Mushroom Group Michael Gudinski in April, who told the Herald Sun he predicted mass gathering restrictions would not be lifted until the first quarter of 2021.
“I have a firm belief you won’t see international acts touring Australia this year,” Gudinski said.
“No one can predict what’s going to happen, everyone wants everything to go back to normal but it’ll happen in stages. It’s unrealistic to think things will go back to normal on a mass gathering level before late February, March or even April to be honest. It’s not going to be a case of one day where it’s ‘OK here we go again.'”
The news follows the cancellation of Splendour In The Grass 2020 after its initial postponement from July to October. Its lineup was led by The Strokes, Flume and Tyler, the Creator.