The NSW Government has announced a major easing of social distancing measures will come into effect from next week.
From 12.01am on Monday March 29, there will be no restrictions on singing or dancing anywhere in the state.
All venues will move to a one person per two square metre rule, with venues allowed up to 25 people before the rule applies. Theatres and other entertainment venues will also be permitted to return to 100 per cent seated capacity.
There will be no limit on guests at weddings and funerals and no limit on visitors in the home – though hosts will be required to keep an electronic record of who was in their house if there are more than 100. 200 people will be permitted allowed to come together at personal outdoor gatherings.
Additionally, wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory on public transport, though will still be strongly recommended.
Checking into venues electronically via QR code will still be required, something Premier Gladys Berejiklian today said would be essential to the successful easing of restrictions.
“[Being COVID-safe] means good social distancing, most importantly. It means registering QR codes wherever we go. That is the key to our success. If there is an outbreak and we can’t identify all the people in a particular venue, we will be having to go backwards again and I don’t want to see that happen.”
The news comes just one day after it was announced that indoor and outdoor venues in Victoria will be able to increase their seated capacity to 75 per cent from this Friday (March 26).
A maximum capacity of 1,000 people per space will remain, and a density limit of one person per two square metres applies. Outdoor non-seated entertainment venues will have no patron limit under a two square metre rule.
Last week, the country’s arts and entertainment peak body Live Performance Australia called on all Australian states and territories to follow Queensland’s recent move to increase venue capacities to 100 per cent.
“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,” commented LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson on March 19.
“For a producer putting a show into market, the current patchwork of restrictions severely hinders their ability to design a business model that works in terms of ticket sales and touring costs. At 75 per cent capacity most of our shows are still not breaking even.”
Over the weekend, the Australian Live Music Business Council echoed the LPA’s calls, warning that hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs were at risk if venue restrictions were not eased in the coming months.
“Those shows that are being presented are hampered by restrictions and crowd limits making them unprofitable and unsustainable, with many venues running at well under half their usual capacity for the indefinite future,” said ALMBC head Craig Spann at the time.