News November 29, 2021

States on target to open up live music despite Omicron concerns

States on target to open up live music despite Omicron concerns
Pictured: The Marquee, Sydney

Has the Australian live sector’s confidence of a mini-boom heading into summer been thwarted by the emergence of the new Omicron strain?

It’s still early days but for now, but most states remain on target to open music venues, nightclubs and music festivals to the “new normal”.

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet said “for the moment” December 15 remains the date (or earlier if the state reaches 95% double vax) for density restrictions and masks to be lifted in venues.

But QR check-ins will remain. Music festivals can host up to 20,000 punters. Those with a 1,000 and upwards capacity must still offer proof of the jabs.

“There are problems that will always come our way,” the premier told Sky News. “The best thing we can do as a state is keep that vaccination level as high as possible.”

At present, 92.4% of NSW residents aged 16+ are fully vaccinated.

The litmus test will be Sydney’s biggest planned event this week, Ivy Weekender (December 2 to Sunday 5), conceived by hospitality identity Justin Hemmes as “Sydney’s return to dancing”, and expected to draw 15,000 clubbers to eight parties at his Ivy club on George Street.

It includes electronic club session Lost Sundays, drag queen discos, the grand opening of the WAO Superclub, poolside DJs and an eight hour session by Carl Cox and Eric Powell.

On December 6, Tasmania is lifting its cap on dancing and ban on stand-up drinking in indoor spaces with a maximum of 100 and outdoor spaces with no more than 250 punters.

The restrictions, which include events of under 5,000 patrons, are lifted for those double vaccinated and staff at these venues have to be fully vaccinated by December 15.

Until now crowds had to sit at outdoor festivals.

Vandemonian Touring, promoter of the inaugural Hobart Summer festival at the Hobart Regatta Grounds from December 26 until January 2, opted to cancel as a result not wanting to take the risk restrictions might be extended.

The Tasmanian government is perturbed by the slow vaccination in the 12—18 age group, and is offering competitions to win an iPad, iPhone or Apple Watch.

In South Australia, restrictions will be lifted when the state reaches hits 90% with two jabs.

That is forecast by SA Health to be between “late December and early January”.

On the weekend, police commissioner Grant Stevens responded to an urging that dancing be allowed on New Year’s Eve, saying, “With hitting 90%, the ball’s in our court as a community.

“We can get there as quickly as the community gets out and gets vaccinated.”

The state’s vaccination rate in the 20 to 39 age bracket is relatively low.

Chief public health officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, said this was concerning as they “are likely to socialise and move around more” and are increasingly likely to spread the virus.

Two dance parties Do You Remember House and Hot Dub Time Machine have been given permission to stage on January 1 and 2 after their COVID safe plans were approved.

Their sites will be divided into zones that cater for 500 patrons each.

Queensland pubs, clubs, nightclubs, hotels, taverns, restaurants, cafes, bars, music venues, cinemas, theatres, concerts and stadiums will have all restrictions lifted once people over 16 hit the 80% double jab target.

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