Australia Coronavirus restrictions framework for Tasmanian events released, but still no dancing or 'vertical drinking' this summer

11:41  23 october  2020
11:41  23 october  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a group of people posing for the camera: Moshpits and drinking while standing are still off the cards despite easing COVID restrictions. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC Health Moshpits and drinking while standing are still off the cards despite easing COVID restrictions. (Supplied)

Tasmania is preparing to hold events for up to 10,000 people over summer, but standing while drinking remains banned — as does dancing.

Premier Peter Gutwein said preparations on the framework for the events started about four weeks ago to ensure certainty for annual events like the Launceston Cup and Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The framework — which allows for three levels of events — will apply to events held after December 1, with more details expected next week.

It will allow for a graduated number of attendees at events, but organisers will have to ensure compliance with social distancing.

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Corporate events will also be allowed to have up to 300 people in any setting. These limits remain subject to COVID-safe practices. Meanwhile, a coronavirus alert was issued for anyone who attended the Bathurst 1000 motor race last weekend after traces were found in the city's sewage.

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"The major cups can go ahead, we can plan to have major music festivals," Mr Gutwein said.

"Importantly, it provides a framework for the Sydney to Hobart to operate in as well, and for crowd sizes to be of significant size for Big Bash cricket over summer."

Public Health director Mark Veitch stressed that the framework did not allow for free-mixing at events.

"You can't, for example, have a concert and not control the mixing of people — so a large space and everyone ends up at a very large mosh pit at the front," he said.

"Say you were having a concert in a field, there are ways you could do that — you could ask people to bring blankets and have people spread out.

"We want people to think imaginatively about how they do events."

Labor leader Rebecca White said it was disappointing the Government had only started preparing the events framework in recent weeks.

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The Taste of Tasmania has already been canned, as has Falls Festival, Launceston's Carols by Candlelight and Festivale

"Peter Gutwein must have been aware of the lead time required for music festivals, cultural events and major food and wine extravaganzas that Tasmania has become so famous for," Ms White said in a statement.

"It's going to be a very different summer this year without the iconic festivals and events Tasmanians have become so familiar with and proud of."

Borders opening to mainland states and NZ

Tasmania's borders will open to tourists from the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland from Monday, as well as New Zealand.

Borders are scheduled to open to NSW in early November, and Victoria in early December.

Dr Veitch said the risk of coronavirus returning to Tasmania was low because each of those jurisdictions had gone without community transmission for some time.

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"It is safe for those people to come to Tasmania, for people to see those people on the street," he said.

Phil Fulgsang, the owner of Hobart venue Salamanca Inn, said while the borders reopening was welcome news, he was keen to see some restrictions lifted.

"We are a safety-conscious industry, we can manage people while they're standing and drinking," he said.

"We can still say 'please move apart' — that's just the one restriction that really upsets us as an industry."

Tasmanian Hospitality Association deputy chief executive Brad Upton agreed.

"We call on the Government to look at the other governments around Australia, Western Australia, these tourists will want to come to Tasmania, enjoy the hospitality we have in Tasmania but have the same restrictions at home."

Dr Veitch said allowing people to stand while drink — what he termed "vertical drinking" — created a greater risk of transmission.

"We are thinking about [allowing] it," he said.

He also said the limits on household gatherings remained at 20 people for now.

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