As Victorians enter week two of lockdown 4.0 I became aware of massive failure and a missed opportunity.
We have been told that contract tracing is the key to stopping the virus in its tracks. It is almost a year since NSW introduced a state-wide QR check-in system, with the other states and territories following soon after. Yet Victoria has only just managed to finalise their rollout – in the state that has had the longest lockdown in Australia.
The missed opportunity
One of the hardest hit industries has been the event sector. And apart from JobKeeper there has been little government support for the sector as a whole.
However, whether it is conferences, expos or music festivals our sector has been using contact tracing via QR or barcodes for decades. There are suppliers who can roll out these systems very quickly and there are thousands of staff trained in their operation.
So why didn’t governments turn to our sector for expertise and manpower?
Instead the Feds rolled out the totally useless COVIDsafe app, which after all the fanfare (and huge expense) has been quietly shelved.
Meanwhile the states went to work on their own solutions. Now admittedly NSW had a head start as they had already rolled out digital driver’s licences and were able to incorporate the COVID Safe Check-in onto that platform quite quickly.
NSW did offer to share the technology with other states – so why did Victoria not take them up on it?
Surely this is something that the National Cabinet could have thrashed out.
But the missed opportunity was that governments did not reach out to the event sector for the technology and for experienced managers to implement and work on contact tracing and facilitation of vaccine centres.
So why are our events being shut down when in the USA and UK they are storming ahead?
This question was raised with me by a reader last week. So let’s just have a look at a couple of OS industry events as an example.
Events Industry Summer Ball – London, July 8th
This event provides this Guidance for Attendees
We want you to feel totally confident about booking a seat or table. If we need to reschedule the event, we will simply roll over your booking to the new date or provide you with a full refund.
Our priority is always the health, safety and happiness of our attendees and colleagues, please rest assured that we will follow the official advice and guidance from the UK Government & Health Authorities.
You’ll see a number of additional precautionary measures in place, including:
hand sanitiser points will be available throughout the venue
prominently displayed reminders about good hygiene practices
all attendees will need to pre-register in advance and provide email contact details
We will continue to monitor and follow government advice throughout the planning, opening and running of all our events and prior to the Awards we will communicate any specific requirements with attendees based on the government guidelines in place at that time.https://eventsindustryball.co.uk/book/
The Special Event – Miami, 19 – 22 July
Their safety statement – Placing your safety at the heart of our events
When you join our event, you can expect to see that health and safety is a priority, and that a range of measures are in place to ensure everyone involved is able to enjoy a safe, hygienic, productive and high-quality organized event experience.
All Informa events will be run according to official government and local authority guidance in the first instance, as well as any venue or location-specific regulations. In addition, all Informa events will follow the ten Informa AllSecure priority commitments. Wherever applicable and possible, our events will also apply the fuller range of standards and guidelines described in the Informa AllSecure guidebook.https://www.thespecialeventshow.com/
And yet look at these stats for the last 7 days
- USA – 85,685 cases and 2,406 deaths
- UK – 21,000 cases and 35 deaths
- AUS – 63 cases and 0 deaths
- NZ – 11 cases and 0 deaths
So are the US and UK just being gung-ho? Do they not care if the virus continues to spread?
Are Australian authorities being super cautious? And are we thankful for that?
Would these lockdowns be necessary if we have achieved herd immunity?
Will people who have been immunised get preferential treatment over those who haven’t?
Will the Federal Government stop spinning the situation and actually deliver instead of promising? Well we do know the answer to that last one – as long as the master spinner is still PM!
But ultimately it is the uncertainty that is holding back the industry in Australia. Do you now hold off preparation until the last minute?
When do you order the perishables for an event, such as food and flowers? When do you book your crew?
My thoughts are certainly with our Victorian colleagues as they confront another weekend with no work.
And finally spare a thought for the Norwest team who are in quarantine in Tokyo in preparation for putting together the audio systems for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics – with no live audience – and no guarantee that the event will still go ahead.