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Business events – information for organisers

Business events can be held in various settings or spaces – from meeting rooms in hotels, museums, restaurants and cafes, to dedicated conference facilities.

Current restrictions in Victoria

The current lockdown in Victoria will be extended until 11:59pm Tuesday 27 July.

To understand how the current restrictions affect your workplace, see How we work: current restrictions page.

What is a 'business event'?

For the purposes of Victoria’s COVIDSafe Settings, a business event is a public or private business activity involving people with a common interest or purpose, hosted by an organisation and held in a venue.

The business events industry can be broken down into market segments:

Meetings and conventions

Off-site gatherings in a commercial venue of people with a common purpose.

Gatherings can range from meetings (typically with more than 15 people) to conventions or conferences (a large assembly of participants roaming and/or seated often with several thousand people). Most conventions have some form of exhibition attached.

Exhibitions

The gathering of suppliers to display and demonstrate their products and/or services to meet with customers and industry partners. These exhibitions may be for consumers or the relevant industry such as caravan and camping shows.

These events are typically held in large spaces at custom-built exhibition centres with visitors moving from stall to stall. 

Business event requirements

Businesses and venues should implement the below strategies when organising events:

  • Venues are required to have a COVIDSafe Plan, but it is the event organiser’s responsibility to submit specific COVIDSafe Event Plans if required under the Public Events Framework (framework) (see below). 
  • Staggered meeting times are recommended to avoid crowds in areas such as foyers and bathrooms. 
  • Events held in a non-food and drink facility venue that is providing catering need to abide by hospitality guidelines.
  • Signage, record keeping and cleaning requirements apply for venues and facilities. 

Public Events Framework

The Victorian Government has established the Public Events Framework (framework)  to support event organisers in planning and delivering COVIDSafe events. Event organisers should become familiar with the framework including definitions, attendee limits and venue requirements.

The Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) are the primary set of rules governing the behaviour of people and businesses to help Victoria stay safe and stay open. If your venue has a COVIDSafe Plan in place and can operate events in line with the Restricted Activity Directions, the framework does not apply to you.

If your event involves 1,000 attendees or fewer, and your event is compliant with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then you can conduct your business event with a COVIDSafe Plan in place. In this case, you do not need to apply under the framework. However, if your business does not have a COVIDSafe Plan (for example, businesses without on-site operations such as a freelance event organiser working from home) you will need to submit a COVIDSafe Event Checklist and operate your event within the Restricted Activity Directions.

If your event has more than 1,000 attendees, or it would not comply with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then you must follow the process outlined in the framework.

For more information about the Tiers of events, visit the Rules for organising public events in Victoria.

COVIDSafe planning for business events 

COVIDSafe Plan

It is mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan

A COVIDSafe Plan permits a business to operate under the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), including some events and functions depending on the business type and its hosting capacity, subject to density quotients. For more information visit Event restrictions - frequently asked questions.

Which Tier is my event?

To find out the tier categorisation for your event, use the public event self-assessment tool.

For further information on public event tiering definitions and public health risk factors visit Rules for organising public events in Victoria.

Creating a COVIDSafe Event Plan

A COVIDSafe Event Plan is a comprehensive document that sets out how Tier 1 and Tier 2 public events will be managed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among attendees and staff. 

For events with more than 1,000 people or an event under 1,000 that does not comply with the COVIDSafe Settings, a COVIDSafe Event Plan must be submitted to the Victorian Government for consideration under the framework. Applications may need to be approved by the Victorian Government before the event can proceed. Please refer to the Public events web pages for further information.

Event requirements by venue type

Food and drink facilities (restaurants, wineries and cafes)

  • All venues and businesses must keep electronic records of their visitors and customers. This is mandatory, no matter what density quotient is applied. From 28 May 2021, it will be mandatory for customer-facing industries that require checking-in to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service. This includes food and drink facilities. Venues and facilities currently using a Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system must switch to the Victorian Government QR Service by Friday 28 May 2021. For instructions on how to switch, please go to coronavirus.vic.gov.au/qrcode.
  • All venues must apply the 1 person per 2 square metres rule to publicly accessible floorspace, except food and drink facilities with an area smaller than 50 square metres which are capped at 25 customers. 
  • Venues are responsible for ensuring workers and visitors always check-in and that electronic records are up to date. To find out more information on whether your business needs to use QR codes for record keeping, visit Checking in with QR codes.
  • Dance floors do not have a capacity limit but must apply the 1 person per 2 square metre rule.
  • If you own or manage a hospitality business, you should download, print and display signs and posters available to promote COVIDSafe behaviours in workplaces and at venues. You can find advice and more information at Accommodation and food services sector guidance.

Non-food and drink facilities (seated entertainment venues) 

  • May hold multiple business events at the same time. 
  • Seated areas at indoor and outdoor entertainment, cultural and sporting venues can use 100 per cent of their seated capacity up to a maximum of 1,000 patrons per space. The density quotient still applies at these venues in non-seated spaces - for example, bathrooms and foyers.
  • From 28 May 2021, it will be mandatory for customer-facing industries that require checking-in to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service. Venues and facilities currently using a Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system must switch to the Victorian Government QR Service by Friday 28 May 2021. For instructions on how to switch, visit the step by step guide.
  • Venues are responsible for ensuring workers and visitors always check-in and that electronic records are up to date. To find out more information on whether your business needs to use QR codes for record keeping, visit Checking in with QR codes.
  • Large venues that host more than 500 people at one time must publish their COVIDSafe Plans online.
  • Where a venue is seeking to host a public event exceeding the cap of 1,000 persons per space or will not comply with the COVIDSafe Settings, it must operate under the framework.
  • Recording, live streaming, broadcasting and associated rehearsals can happen indoors subject to the density, signage, record-keeping and cleaning requirements as per Workplace Directions. 

Non-food and drink facilities (non-seated indoor entertainment venues) 

  • May hold multiple business events at the same time. 
  • Indoor non-seated venues can operate at 75% of total capacity. A density quotient of 1 person per 2 square metres continues to apply in each non-seated space, with a maximum patron cap of 1000 people per space. 
  • From 28 May 2021, it will be mandatory for customer-facing industries that require checking-in to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service. Venues and facilities currently using a Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system must switch to the Victorian Government QR Service by Friday 28 May 2021. For instructions on how to switch, please visit the step by step guide.
  • Venues are responsible for ensuring workers and visitors always check-in and that electronic records are up to date. To find out more information on whether your business needs to use QR codes for record keeping, visit Checking in with QR codes.
  • Large venues that host more than 500 people at one time must publish their COVIDSafe Plans online.
  • Where a venue is seeking to host a public event exceeding the cap of 1,000 persons per space or will not comply with the COVIDSafe Settings, it must operate under the framework.
  • Recording, live streaming, broadcasting and associated rehearsals can happen indoors subject to the density, signage, record-keeping and cleaning requirements as per Workplace Directions. 

Non-food and drink facilities (non-seated outdoor entertainment venues) 

  • May hold multiple business events at the same time. 
  • Outdoor non-seated venues are required to limit total attendance by applying a density quotient of 1 person per 2 square metres for the publicly accessible spaces for the entire venue, with the same density quotient applying for each non-seated outdoor space. 
  • From 28 May 2021, it will be mandatory for customer-facing industries that require checking-in to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service. Venues and facilities currently using a Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system must switch to the Victorian Government QR Service by Friday 28 May 2021. For instructions on how to switch, visit the step by step guide.
  • Venues are responsible for ensuring workers and visitors always check-in and that electronic records are up to date. To find out more information on whether your business needs to use QR codes for record keeping, visit Checking in with QR codes.
  • Large venues that host more than 500 people at one time must publish their COVIDSafe Plans online.
  • Where a venue is seeking to host a public event exceeding the cap of 1,000 persons per space or will not comply with the COVIDSafe Settings, it must operate under the framework.
  • Recording, live streaming, broadcasting and associated rehearsals can happen indoors subject to the density, signage, record-keeping and cleaning requirements as per Workplace Directions. 

Event organisers and venues must:

  • reinforce current Victorian Government face mask requirements where physical distancing is not possible
  • keep records of all attendees, including staff, for contract tracing
  • ahead of your event, remind ticket holders that they must abide by the latest public health advice
  • where a ticket holder has been instructed to quarantine by the Victorian Department of Health, please work with your ticketing provider to provide a refund or transfer the ticket to another person
  • communicate to patrons during your event that they are not permitted to be at the event if they have been instructed to quarantine by the Victorian Department of Health.

Frequently asked questions - understanding the restrictions

The information in this section applies to events or activities organised under the general restrictions.  For information about running events under the Public Events Framework (framework), visit Public events.

How do I know what the current restrictions are that apply to my event?

If you are running an event under the general COVIDSafe Settings (that is, not under the framework), the rules are determined by the setting or venue in which the event is taking place.

For instance, if the event is being held in a bar, the guidelines to follow are those for hospitality venues. If the event is being held in a gallery, the relevant restrictions are those for museums and galleries. Some common venues, along with resources explaining the relevant requirements, are listed below.

Refer to the full list of guidelines by sector.

What restrictions apply if my activity or event is run in a space that is not usually used for events, such as a retail shopfront?

Activities can be conducted under the general restrictions for that setting, regardless of whether it is or is not usually used for events. For example, an event held in a retail space must observe the restrictions that apply to retail spaces.

If your event is a public event and cannot comply with restrictions, you may be able to seek an exemption under the framework. Visit Public events for more information.   

What restrictions apply to meeting rooms within hotels?

As shared spaces within an accommodation facility, hotel meeting rooms have a density quotient of 1 person per 2 square metres

If a venue contains seated and non-seated spaces, is it considered a ‘seated venue’ or a ‘non-seated venue’?

Restrictions apply to individual spaces within a venue rather than the whole venue itself. If a venue has a seated space, then restrictions relating to a ‘seated venue’ apply. If the same venue has a non-seated space, then restrictions relating to the ‘non-seated venue’ apply. Both sets of restrictions can be implemented within the same venue.

This rule can vary by setting, so check the relevant guidelines to see what applies to your specific event venue.

If your event is operating under the framework the rules may be different, for more information, visit Public events.  

Does my activity or event need to be ticketed?

Events in seated entertainment facilities, need to be ticketed (even if your event is free). For events and activities at other venues, a ticketing system is strongly recommended. This is to support contact tracing efforts in the event of a suspected COVID-19 case, and is in addition to standard record keeping requirements at the venue. To determine whether ticketing is required for your event, check the Guideline relevant to your venue type.

If you are running an event under the framework, the restrictions relating to ticketing will be determined through the framework process. 

If your event is operating under the framework, visit Public events.  

Are common areas such as foyers, bathrooms, hallways and playgrounds included when calculating density quotients for food and drink venues?

No, these areas do not count towards the floor area used to calculate the density quotient. 

What restrictions apply to school fairs, fetes and other community events?

For many fairs, fetes and community events, the relevant restrictions will be those contained in the framework, because these events are likely to meet the definition of ‘public events’. Organisers should use the Public event self-assessment tool to see if their event meets the definition.  

If the event is not subject to restrictions in the framework, then organisers should observe the relevant restrictions for the venues they are using to host the events (i.e. those that apply under the general restrictions). For more information check the relevant guidelines to see what applies to your specific event or venue. 

What restrictions apply to exhibition events such as home shows?

If an exhibition event meets the definition of a public event, the relevant restrictions will be those contained in the framework. Organisers should use the Public event self-assessment tool to see if their events meets the definition.

If the event is not subject to restrictions in the framework, then organisers should observe the relevant restrictions for the venues they are using to host the events (that is, those that apply under the general restrictions). For more information, check the relevant guidelines to see what applies to your specific event

How closely can groups be seated or positioned during events?

If you are running an event under the general restrictions, there are no requirements for how close groups can be seated or positioned to each other.  However, public health advice is that that people maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres where possible, and to wear a face mask if physical distancing cannot be maintained.   

This rule may vary by setting, so check the relevant guidelines to see what applies to your specific event venue. 

If you are running an event under the framework, the restrictions will be determined through that process, including any restrictions relating to the spacing of groups.  For more information see the Public Events web pages.  

Can I provide a buffet or self-serve style food service at my event?

Buffets are permitted but organisers should :

  • Ensure that density quotients (and record keeping requirements) are followed.
  • Encourage good hand hygiene when entering and leaving an area where customers collect food and drinks.
  • Discourage crowding in areas where customers collect food and drinks.
  • Discourage touching of any food, drinks or shared serving utensils.
  • Where possible, allocate staff to serve food and drinks.
  • Ensure regular cleaning of high touch point surfaces, including any implements used for the purposes of serving food and drinks.
  • Recommend face masks are worn when a physical distance of 1.5 meters from others cannot be maintained, for example, in areas where customers may crowd to collect food and drinks.

For more information about food and beverage services visit Hospitality - food and beverage services sector guidance.

Is information about restrictions available in languages other than English?

Yes. A summary of the current restrictions in more than 60 languages is available at Translated information about COVID-19

Frequently asked questions - COVIDSafe Plans

What is a COVIDSafe Plan?

All Victorian businesses with onsite operations must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

A COVIDSafe Plan is a document that summarises key elements of how your business manages the risks associated with COVID-19. There is no required format for COVIDSafe Plans, but all COVIDSafe Plans must contain information about:

  • your actions to help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 to your workplace or event
  • the type of face mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
  • how you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace or at your business event
  • how you will meet all the requirements set out by the Victorian Government (some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees).

Businesses must review and update their COVIDSafe Plans regularly, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. Organisations with multiple worksites must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each worksite.

COVIDSafe Plan template is available to use.

Does an event organiser need a separate COVIDSafe Plan for each activity or event?

All venues are required to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

If you are running a public event under the framework, event organisers are required to develop and submit documentation depending on which Tier their event falls under. For information about where to submit your plan, see the Register your Public Event page.  

Should the COVIDSafe Plan be developed by the event organiser or the venue?

If your event complies with the Restricted Activities Directions, your event will operate under the venue’s COVIDSafe Plan.

If you are running your event under the framework, the event organiser is responsible for developing and submitting the relevant documentation dependant on which Tier their event falls under. For information about where to submit your plan, see the Register your Public Event page.

More information 

Reviewed 21 July 2021

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