Packed in: Eastern Hotel staff Hannah Boord and Matthew Stone are hoping to open the pub to full capacity. Photo: RUBY STALEY

Increased quotas could save music venues

May 3, 2021 BY

IN the wake of the State Government announcement of unrestricted capacities for seated venues and seventy-five per cent for outdoor venues, non-seated venues and clubs are calling to also be included in the increased numbers.

Owner of The Eastern Hotel Matthew Stone said venue operators around the state are frustrated by the density quotient of one person per two square metres within all stand up bars and clubs.

“We’re still stuck with the two metres per person rule, everyone like us is, but it really doesn’t work for us at such a tiny venue,” he said.

“It’s just pushed our capacity right down, we’re at 100 for capacity and we’re turning away around 50 people or more in a weekend because we can’t legally fit them in.

“People are lining up, we have to knock them back which is hurting our trade and they end up going somewhere else.”

For smaller venues like The Eastern, Mr Stone said extending the two-metre rule equates to a major loss in revenue and mass confusion within the industry.

“In about three or four weeks, we need our capacity back or we are going to be in trouble,” he said.

“We’ve been the same since December, and now we’re worried it won’t even make much of a difference if the capacity gets put back because the weather has gone bad and people might not be going out so much anymore.

“But we’ve got some big shows coming up next month, we want to be able to sell all of our tickets for that.”

Save Our Scene, the group responsible for petitioning for live music venue grants last year, have kick started another campaign asking the Victorian Government to increase the density quotient for non-seated venues to three people per four square metres.

“Cinemas and theatres, they have allowed them to go up to full capacity as long as they meet the two metres rule,” Mr Stone said.

“When they made that announcement last week, we thought it was us and it had to do with us but it didn’t.”