Live Performance Australia (LPA), the arts and entertainment industry peak body, today called on the Victorian Government to lift density restrictions on all live entertainment venues on Thursday night with a snap back to pre-lock down settings.
LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said the live entertainment industry could not continue to reopen at reduced capacity every time there was a snap lock down.
“The financial impact of this 14-day lock down on our companies and people is massive. Companies have lost millions of dollars, hundreds of performances have been cancelled, staff have been stood down, regional tours within Victoria and interstate have been disrupted or now won’t go ahead.
“This is a massive blow for an industry only just getting back on its feet. Like many other industries, including hospitality and cinema, reopening at reduced capacity is not financially viable. The costs involved in reopening at reduced capacity are significant and we will have venues and shows that will not reopen until we can operate at 100 percent capacity. It’s just not feasible.
“Professor Sutton has said that there is not much benefit in prolonged restrictions and that what is needed is super sensitive surveillance systems and contact tracing. Victoria has those in place. We need to have confidence in our systems and response teams.
“Our industry remains fully committed to keeping the community safe.
“We can operate our venues safely. We have been operating them safely in Victoria. There have been no cases of transmission in our venues. We have managed the risks through COVIDSafe Plans that have been implemented and proven successful in Victoria and around the country. We also have QR Codes and data for all patrons attending our theatres. With QR code compliance, rapid contact tracing, testing and mask wearing, there is no reason venues should not reopen at pre-lock down settings.
“This will get all of our people back to work and enable our companies to get back to business. As soon as we get the green light, it must be business as usual. We cannot sustain the losses that are caused by these lock downs.
“We need sharper and smarter tools rather than extended lock downs that cause irreparable damage. The economic and mental health of Victoria depends on it.
“We also need to see the vaccine program turbo charged with the national goal of getting to 70 percent of Australians fully vaccinated by Christmas. This must be the number one priority of all governments, led by the Commonwealth. Our industry stands ready to assist in supporting the vaccine rollout as an urgent priority”, Ms Richardson said.