Canberra gets ready for the return of large events

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WITH more than 10 weeks since the ACT’s last diagnosed case of COVID-19, the ACT government is making plans to bring events back to Canberra, in a covid safe way. 

This consideration could see mid-risk events, of between 101 to 500 people, back in the ACT. They’ll require an exemption from ACT chief health officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman.

Night clubs, dance events, and large outdoor events, such as music festivals, food festivals and carnivals, are still some time off, with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) declaring these types of events as “very high risk environments”.

Low-risk events up to 100 people are currently allowed and do not require an exemption, unless there is some aspect of the event that does not comply with the public health directions, says an ACT Health spokesperson.

High-risk events, of more than 500 people, in line with the National Cabinet, are not permitted to take place at this stage, but the government will consider providing exemptions where events can meet certain criteria. These events will be considered by an event exemption committee who will provide a recommendation to the chief health officer as to whether an exemption can be approved.

“The new protocol [will] outline how public community events for more than 100 people at public venues can be held while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, and how to seek the necessary exemption. The protocol provides information on the types of events that will be able to take place in the ACT,” says the ACT Health spokesperson.

“Event organisers will need to seek an exemption to hold their event through an online exemption process on the COVID-19 website.”

“Private events are strongly encouraged to comply with existing gathering restrictions. However, where there are exceptional circumstances, private events can seek an exemption if more than 100 people are planned to be in attendance.

“All event organisers will be required to have a COVID Safe Event Plan that considers the health and safety of event staff, volunteers, patrons and the broader community.”

The number of negative tests recorded in the ACT is now 90,669.

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