Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Mass Gatherings
UPDATE: Please note, states will be enacting legislation to enforce what has been, up to this point, an advisement against mass gatherings of 500+ people. In this scenario, penalties may apply for events with over 500 people in attendance. States may also enact their own limits on the number of people permitted and we recommend you continue to monitor your state or territory government’s website. We will provide updates as they become available but you should ensure you’re up to date with updates directly from the government in your state or territory:
As at Sunday, 15th March there has been no official definition of what constitutes a gathering of 500 people. Our position is that 500 includes everyone in the building at one time. With the above in mind regarding the potential state-based limits, some scenarios to consider:
- if your venue has sold 450 tickets and your crew, performer and staff number 50+ then you have exceeded the 500 limit.
- if your venue seats 800 but you’ve only sold 300 tickets, you are within the 500 limit. You should ensure a limit is implemented on the number of tickets available for sale.
- the combined total of multiple events, operating concurrently, must not exceed 500 – that is, the count should include every person in your building at one time, not just space by space.
Further updates will be provided. Please also stay in touch with your state-based organisations where relevant.
Key points from this afternoon’s media conference with the Prime Minister:
- On advice from the Chief Medical Officer, the government will be advising against non-essential public mass gatherings of 500+ from Monday.
- There has been language used in the media that this constitutes a ‘ban’ – despite the fact that this is inaccurate, be aware that this may be the perception of your audiences.
- If/when you choose to proceed with performances/events, reiterate with your patrons that the advice from the government is precautionary, not mandatory and advise of the precautions you have in place.
- We will be releasing a media statement shortly in support of calls for the government to provide financial assistance to the industry to offset the impacts of the current and expected cancellation of events.
Importantly, you should note:
As this is not a ban on public events, the advice from previous news still stands regarding ticket sales and the Ticketing Code of Practice. That is, if an event is cancelled, you are required to refund ticket sales. If a patron simply chooses not to attend, you are not required to provide them with a refund, unless they are not attending because they are in isolation or on doctor’s advice (you are entitled to request evidence e.g. medical certificate, to support the claim). Continue to refer to the Ticketing Code of Practice or your own ticketing policies in place.
PAC Australia is maintaining contact with the Australia Council, Live Performance Australia and other service organisations to provide you with information as it comes to hand and I’m also in direct contact with many members who have sought advice. Please do also continue to use the PAC Australia member network to seek advice from your colleagues as well.
I would reiterate that this is unchartered territory – for everyone. Organisations large and small, sector-wide, are navigating their way through a deeply complex situation. Please maintain an open dialogue and consult with your industry colleagues as part of your decision-making process about continuing (or not) with performances over the coming weeks. I do realise the levels of complexity and risk-management involved – and that for many organisations the decision may be out of your hands.
We are all in this together and the potential for major, long-term impact for some ultimately affects us all.
If you have any particular questions or concerns you would like PAC Australia’s advice on please feel free to Contact Us.