This week started off with the promise that we would get a better idea of what will happen when NSW and Victoria get to 70% and 80% vaccination rates, but sadly that information was not forthcoming at today’s press conferences.
The premiers keep talking about the “national plan” but I have already pointed out, that plan has no guidelines on how and when events can restart. The PM and state leaders may all be in the National Cabinet but they are each telling a different story.
PM Scott Morrison:
“Ultimately everything is a state matter, but I note that there was an agreement to the national plan which was to see Australians coming together.
And we want to do that safely, as a safe plan. This is a plan that has been based on the best possible scientific evidence, to ensure that we can open safely and connected together again safely. And that is exactly what I will be expecting all of us to be doing.”
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr:
“I think the national plan talks about a 70% rate continuing to minimise cases in the community through ongoing low-level restrictions and effective track and trace and says that lockdowns are less likely but still possible.”
The national plan talks about a very gentle step at 70%. A more significant step will be taken at 80%.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews:
“As a state and as a nation, we can cope with a pandemic of the unvaccinated if that unvaccinated group is quite small.
That is to say, we will cope with unvaccinated people becoming infected and becoming sick when we have reached the 70% and most importantly the 80% vaccination target.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on TV this morning
“At 70 per cent, if you are double vaccinated, expect to do everything that you miss doing,” she told Seven’s Sunrise this morning.
“Whether it’s having a meal at your favourite cafe or restaurant, whether it’s attending a public event, whether it’s having a drink.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, and the state has hit its 70 per cent double dose target, please expect to do all those things we’ve been missing for too long, and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Then at the press conference
“Obviously, New South Wales always takes a responsible approach but the national plan does say at 70% double-dose vaccination that you can expect to go out and have a meal, you can expect to attend a public event, you can expect to go and get services that you can’t expect now but obviously we’ll take a very responsible approach.
We know that indoor gatherings or people coming to your home a high-risk. But outside of that if there are many, many things we can’t do now we should be expect to be able to do them when we have 70% of the adult population vaccinated.
That’s what the national plan says. I’m not saying anything that other states have not signed up to. Of course at 70% there will be density requirements, QR code check-ins, validation that you’re vaccinated, mask-wearing in certain settings, so there will be obviously constraints and restrictions in place but compared to what we’re going through now, life will be much better at 70% double dose than it is now and I’m calling out to businesses to say let’s have September the month we all get ready.”
“Everything else has to stay in place until on or about the 23rd of September when we get first dose 70% across our state.
That’s a significant milestone.
And it’s at that point that the chief health officer had advised that it will be safe for us to do the following: Expand the 5km radius to 10km for shopping and for exercise.
It will also be it safe for us to extend the time to exercise from 2 hours to three hours per day.
It will also be safe for outdoor communal gym equipment and skate parks and things of that nature to reopen.
So, again, linked to the state-wide achievement of 70% first dose, but also where industry can get themselves vaccinated through that program, we will be able to allow further expansions of that economic activity.”
Note a significant difference here – Berejiklian is talking about 70% fully vaccinated (around mid-October) while Andrews is talking about 70% first dose (around 23rd September).
Note that the national plan is for 70% fully vaccinated.
So what are the “events” Berejiklian is talking about? I think the best we can expect is that either the 100 pax or 4 sqm rules might come back in. So private events such as weddings and funerals. I don’t think we will be seeing events like Vivid, music festivals, food festivals, conferences, expos, etc.
Berejiklian did mention that she would like to go for a drink – so restaurants, pubs and clubs will probably reopen, with restrictions.
However, I think we will be waiting until we get to 80% vaccination (and see a significant decrease in hospitalisations) before events as we know them will begin happening again – and that still looks like November at the earliest.
Berejiklian said today: “I’m calling out to businesses to say let’s have September the month we all get ready.”
But how can event businesses get ready if they don’t know what the restrictions will be?
And when will events be included in the national plan?
Businesses and offices were left indefinitely closed with Mr Andrews signalling they are unlikely to be reopened until vaccination thresholds are reached in early November, after acknowledging that cases would rise and that zero COVID-19 could not be achieved.
On Monday AAP were reporting Victoria’s events industry is asking for a ‘realistic’ timeline for when events may return
Almost half of Victorian event businesses are unsure if they will survive 2021 with one in three cancelling all events for the remainder of the year, an industry survey has found.
It comes as more major public events in Victoria, including Magic Mike Live, cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.
The state’s event industry is calling for a realistic timeline for when functions can begin again, as the Victorian government plans to extend the state’s sixth lockdown beyond September 2.
One in five event businesses have lost more than a million dollars during recent lockdowns, according to the Save Victorian Events survey of 361 businesses.
During lockdowns from June to August this year, the industry’s income dropped by 86 per cent on average.
About 34 per cent of the sector’s companies have cancelled all events until the end of 2021, with 47 per cent unsure if their business will survive to the end of the year.
The industry currently employs 60 per cent fewer permanent workers and 86 per cent fewer freelancers, contractors and casuals.