‘Typo’ in Vic rules vexes entertainment
MELBOURNE entertainment venues won’t be able to open to fully vaccinated patrons indoors when lockdown ends, because a COVID-19 rule change contained a “typo”.
When roadmap changes were unveiled on Sunday, a document shared by premier Daniel Andrews said pubs, clubs and entertainment venues would open to up to 20 double-dosed people from 11.59pm on Thursday.
But an updated version of document, published on the official Coronavirus Victoria website, notes only pubs and clubs are permitted to have patrons indoors, while entertainment venues can host up to 50 outdoors.
Mr Andrews confirmed the “typo” was rectified within hours.
“That was corrected and again I apologise if there’s any sense that a sector has been included that shouldn’t have been, but it does not include entertainment venues,” he said on Tuesday.
“Entertainment venues will be covered by 80 per cent. I know that it’s frustrating and everyone would like to be open at the one time.
“But we’re not talking about a three-month gap between one milestone and the next. It is literally eight or nine days and then we can have everything open.”
Kyran Wheatley, the brainchild of Comedy Republic, and his fellow comedians Rhys Nicholson and Alex Dyson, said the rug had been pulled out from under them.
The Melbourne CBD venue’s COVID-19 marshal discovered the document had been “quietly changed” after it had already scheduled eight shows.
All have since sold out and the owners are worried they will have to refund $4000 in tickets.
“It’s the first proper income we’ve had in months,” Mr Wheatley told AAP.
“I’ve got a staff member flying back from Perth where he’s been during this lockdown because we’re opening up again [and] another staff member who brought forward their second dose of AstraZeneca from 12 weeks to eight weeks.
“These are outcomes because of what the premier says.”
The former ABC Triple J presenter said it was emblematic of the ongoing disrespect for the entertainment industry, one of the hardest hit during the pandemic.
“Talk about kicking us when we’re down,” he said.
“They cracked open the door to do just a whisper of a show and then slam the door shut quietly the next day.”
While he agrees Victoria can’t open up everything at once, Mr Wheatley maintains restrictions will still remain unviable for many live performance venues when the state moves to a density limit of one person per four square metres.
“For us that’s 25 people. That’s 15 per cent of our capacity,” he said.
It comes after Victoria recorded 1749 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths, taking the toll from the current outbreak to 163.
The state now has 22,476 active cases, up almost 150 from Monday.
There were 68,702 tests processed and 36,751 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Monday.
Of Victorians aged over 16, 89.4 per cent have now received their first dose and 67.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has launched a $21 million package to support vulnerable groups facing vaccination barriers get their COVID-19 jab.
– BY CALLUM GODDE/ AAP