Australian arts restart: venue capacity rises to 75% as $60m of rescue package to flow | Culture

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Live performance venues and events will be allowed to reach capacity of up to 75% in states that have recorded no new locally acquired coronavirus cases in 14 days, under the roadmap for reopening unveiled by federal arts minister Paul Fletcher on Friday.

In what has been labelled the “Covid normal” of the near future, indoor events and seated outdoor events will still be ticketed only, and additional restrictions will still apply to large-scale multi-day outdoor music festivals.

The plan was released by Fletcher at the Sydney costume workshop for the musical Hamilton, which is scheduled to open at the Lyric theatre in March.

Fletcher also announced that $60m of the $75m Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (Rise) fund had been allocated to 115 arts organisations.

“The funds will start to fly almost immediately,” he said. “The Office of the Arts within my department is engaging with individual recipients in terms of the grant agreements.”

More than 300 arts organisations had applied for the federal government’s emergency rescue package announced in August.

The government said that 71% of the total Rise funding will go to the small-to-medium sector, and 21% to regional areas. A total of $34m will be awarded to not-for-profit organisations.

With states such as Queensland having already moved to 100% capacity in entertainment venues, Fletcher dismissed suggestions the roadmap should have come out weeks ago.

“What it’s intending to do is to set a consistent framework and clearly it’s always the case that specific decisions are made by state and territory governments,” he said.

“What we’ve done as a commonwealth government through the national cabinet is reached an agreed framework [across all states and territories].”

If it wished, Victoria could move to 75% capacity immediately given it has recorded 21 straight days with no new coronavirus cases. NSW could hit the 14-day mark on Saturday.

The joint announcement of the potential easing of social distancing restrictions and the pending release of $60m in funding was to place promoters, festival organisers and companies in a position to “not only know the way forward in terms of the public health requirements, but also [ensure they are] getting that support so they can get their shows up and running”, Fletcher said.

With just one in three organisations that applied for Rise funding achieving success so far, Fletcher said unsuccessful applicants were welcome to reapply for the remaining $15m.

“There will be feedback provided to those who were not successful, they’ll certainly be free to … put in an amended application that takes account of that feedback,” he said.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Australian arts restart: venue capacity rises to 75% as $60m of rescue package to flow | Culture

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