September 28, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The NSW Government has released its roadmap for what will be allowed when 80 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated and when the unvaccinated will come out of lockdown, while the ACT has released its roadmap for permitted activities in Phases A, B and C of Australia’s national plan to reopen.

The NSW roadmap for 80 percent and beyond

For the events industry – except for those in the business of weddings and funerals – capacity limits will not lift further when the state reaches 80 percent vaccination, but standing and drinking indoors will be permitted.

On the Monday after NSW reaches the milestone of having 80 percent of its population fully vaccinated – estimated by the ABC’s vaccine rollout tracker to be on October 18, suggesting that easing restrictions is likely to take place on October 25 – those living in NSW who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to have 10 people visit their homes and attendance caps will be lifted on weddings and funerals for fully vaccinated people provided the one person per four square metres inside and one per two square metres outside capacity limit is followed. Community sport will also restart.

Density limits will remain at one person per four square metres indoors and one per two square metres outdoors for hospitality and entertainment venues.

Somewhat confusingly, considering most event venues should be permitted to operate under rules governing hospitality and entertainment venues, which allow for one person per four square metres or 75 percent of fixed seating capacity at the 70 percent vaccination threshold, the 80 percent roadmap states events of up to 500 for controlled and ticketed events will be permitted outdoors and up to 200 people can attend COVID Safe events outdoors. A 500-person limit on outdoor events is already permitted under the 70 percent roadmap.

Currently ICC Sydney is planning to reopen once the state hits its 70 percent target, on October 11, with capacity for more than almost 6,000 people permitted in its Aware Super Theatre, which will give it a larger capacity than that allowed at stadiums at 80 percent, which will have their attendance limit unchanged from 70 percent, capped at 5,000 people, unless they are granted an exemption.

Regional travel, which was originally slated to restart at 70 percent will now restart at 80 percent, to give the regions time to increase their vaccination rates. A new cap of 20 people per booking has also been introduced when hospitality venues reopen at 70 percent and will remain in place at 80 percent.

The date for restrictions to ease once the state reaches 70 percent has also been officially set at October 11, with the state expected to reach the 70 percent milestone on October 5, according to the ABC’s rollout tracker.

The NSW Government has also set December 1 as the date for those who are unvaccinated to be released from lockdown, at which point they will have the same freedoms as those who are vaccinated, introducing new quandaries for the events industry. On the same date, there will be a further easing of restrictions, which will increase capacity for the events industry.

From December 1, density limits indoors and outdoors for hospitality and entertainment venues, stadiums and weddings and funerals will align at one person per two square metres. COVID Safe plans will be required for events over 1,000 people and standing while eating and drinking will be permitted.

The ACT roadmap from October 1

In the ACT the Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, announced yesterday that the territory would come out of lockdown on schedule on October 15 “subject to the public health risk remaining relatively stable over the next two weeks”.

The ACT roadmap makes no distinct between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Those living in the ACT will also get some small freedoms from October 1, including allowing two visitors to homes.

From October 15, when the territory is expected to have reached 80 percent of its population being fully vaccinated – although this is not backed up by the ABC rollout tracker, which estimates this to occur about six days later – lockdown will end in the ACT, but heavy restrictions will remain in place.

Venues will generally be restricted to 25 people indoors or 50 outdoors. Although events or their venues are not specifically mentioned, micenet assumes these limits will apply to event settings.

On October 29, restrictions will ease further in the ACT, allowing ticketed and seated events of up to 500 people outdoors and indoors, if seating is fixed. For smaller venues, a capacity of up to 75 percent of fixed seating is allowed. For ticketed and seated events indoors where seating is unfixed, events of up to 150 people will be allowed at a density of one person per four square metres.

At hospitality venues, up to 100 people will be allowed indoors and up to 150 will be allowed outdoors at density limits of one per four square metres indoors and one per two square metres outdoors.

In late November or early December, the ACT roadmap indicates further easing of restrictions including larger events and gatherings with some limits.