Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people to stem the spread of the coronavirus, effective immediately.
The new rules, announced at a press conference this morning (March 18), follow the ban on outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people, which was announced last Friday (March 13). That move prompted mass-cancellations of music festivals and larger concerts, while today’s announcement will stifle the operation of smaller venues.
Mr Morrison said attendance at airports, hotels, prisons, courts, shopping centres, offices and factories, construction sites and on public transport will not be affected by the new rules. The bans are expected to continue indefinitely, with Mr Morrison saying the government will do “whatever we do we have to do for at least six months”.
Major music festivals have been forced to choose between postponement and outright cancellation. Yesterday, Splendour in The Grass pushed back its 2020 event to October as a precautionary measure to move the festival out of the winter months. Groovin The Moo’s 2020 event has been cancelled for the first time in its 15 year history.
According to ILostMyGig, professional creatives in Australia have lost $100 million in income since Saturday afternoon (March 14). Most recently, Kira Puru has challenged Australian radio stations to play more Australian artists during the coronavirus crisis.
Yesterday (March 17), Australian singer-songwriter Alex Lahey wrote an open letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on the current plight of the arts sector amidst the coronavirus outbreak.