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FAQs about public events

Find commonly asked questions and answers that may assist you in planning and running COVIDSafe events.

Changes to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions from 11:59pm Thursday 17 June.

For a detailed overview of the changes, see the Table of Restrictions at the bottom of the Statement from the Acting Premier.

Approval process

What is the approval process if my Tier 2 event cannot operate under with the new Framework?

If your Tier 2 event cannot comply with the settings of the Framework and you wish to seek an exemption, your event will require public health review and formal approval. This includes events where organisers would like to have more attendees than the 75% capacity limit or density quotient allows.

Event organisers must submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan four to six weeks prior to the key decision date required.

If my Tier 2 event operates under the framework and therefore does not require government approval, am I still required to have a COVIDSafe Event Plan?

Yes, all public events must have a COVIDSafe Event Plan to identify the public health risks and mitigation strategies that organisers need to consider and incorporate into event planning.

Event organisers are required to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan and attestation (now incorporated into the Event registration form) at least three weeks prior to their event.

I have already submitted my Tier 2 event for approval. Am I required to resubmit under the new process?

No, in the transition period the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) will realign your event application for you and be in touch if they require anything else.

Why has the process changed for assessing Tier 2 public events in Victoria under the Public Events Framework?

The move to COVIDSafe Settings has enabled the government to redefine the review and approval process for Tier 2 public events and allow to reflect the easing of restrictions and further opening of industry.

The new Tier 2 threshold criteria in the Public Event Framework allow you to hold eligible Tier 2 events without requiring government approval.

The new assessment process for Tier 2 public events will be effective immediately.

Why do I need to publish my COVIDSafe Event Plan to my website or social media?

It is a requirement for organisers of Tier 1 and Tier 2 events to publish the most up to date COVIDSafe Event Plan to their website or social media. Please note that sensitive information can be removed prior to publication.

If you make any changes to your approved or registered COVIDSafe Event Plan for publication, for example you have removed contact details, you will need to send it to COVIDSafeevents@ecodev.vic.gov.au.

DJPR Observers, Department of Health (DH) Authorised Officers and Victoria Police may attend your event for compliance enforcement and require the most up to date COVIDSafe Event Plan and information from you.

Public events and COVIDSafe settings

What are the changes to electronic record keeping?

Changes to the use of QR codes have recently come into effect. From 28 May, all event venues must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service.

Do attendees need to wear face masks at an event?

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave the home, unless a lawful exception applies.

Face masks must be worn:

  • on public transport, in commercial passenger vehicles such as taxis and ride share vehicles, and in tour vehicles
  • by visitors to a hospital
  • by visitors at a care facility (while indoors)
  • on flights to and from Victoria
  • at airports
  • if you are a diagnosed person, or a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, when leaving your home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as to seek medical care or to get tested
  • while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test when leaving your home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as to seek medical care (except as part of a surveillance or other asymptomatic testing program)
  • while experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

It is recommended that you wear a face mask when at a private gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people (such as at outdoor markets, outdoor concerts, street markets, at a busy bus stop or train station platform).

There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

Regularly check the latest information on face masks.

What is a COVID Marshal’s role?

COVID Marshals are responsible for monitoring an event’s compliance with their COVID Event Plan or Checklist. They play a vital role in supporting staff and attendees of the event to follow COVIDSafe Principles including entry screening, physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), workplace bubbles, hygiene, cleaning and record-keeping requirements.

COVID Marshals must be at least 18 years of age and must have a good understanding of the COVID Event Plan. They should also be easily identifiable and visible during the event, for example, wearing a high-vis vest or bright T-shirt with COVID Marshal text.

The COVID Marshal must undergo basic infection control awareness training. You can find examples of this training at the Victorian Department of Health COVID-19 Infection Control Training page or the Skills Victoria website. 

It is recommended that COVID Marshals are also trained in First Aid (Level 2).

Event logistics

Does my event need to be ticketed?

Ticketed events are strongly encouraged for contact tracing purposes. Record keeping is mandatory for all events, therefore if your event is usually un-ticketed (such as attendees at a cycling or triathlon event, or patrons at a free cultural festival) you must ensure processes are in place to register and identify who and where the attendees are at your event.

From 28 May, all event venues must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service.

Additional ticketing measures are strongly recommended.

What does allocated or fixed seating mean?

Allocated or fixed seating means dedicated seats for patrons which cannot be moved during the event. These can be existing or hired and brought in specifically for the event. An event is defined as free-standing if attendees do not have an allocated seat.

What rules apply if my event is held both indoors and outdoors?

There are no longer different requirements for indoor and outdoor events. However, there are different requirements between seated and non-seated areas of events.

From 28 May, a density quotient of one person per two square metres is applicable to indoor areas larger than 400 square metres.

Venues that have spaces that are less than 400 square metres can hold up to 200 people per space with no density quotient.

There are no density quotients outdoors events that do not have dancefloors.

For events with both indoor and outdoor spaces, a density quotient of one person to two square metres applies for indoor spaces only.

Will I need extra staff to run a COVIDSafe event?

It is likely that extra resources will be needed, including the appointment of a COVIDSafe Marshal (or a group of COVIDSafe Marshals) to oversees all elements and assess compliance with the COVIDSafe Event Plan.

The COVIDSafe Marshal is a new and important role, aimed at ensuring workplaces are always COVIDSafe and is being used effectively in high-risk industries and workplaces to monitor staff, contractors and patrons.

Are the workers and participants/athletes counted towards the attendance limit for a public event?

If there are no separate amenities, and if mixing is allowed between the workers, participants/athletes, and attendees, everyone counts towards the attendee limit.

If the workers and participants/athletes have their own separate areas, including separate amenities and entrances/exits, and there is no mixing between cohorts, then they are not included in the attendee limit for the event.

Areas for staff and athletes/participants must continue to operate under the COVIDSafe Settings, including attendee limits and density requirements for those spaces.

For seated events how much movement from the seat is allowed?

Attendees must remain in their allocated seat for the duration of the event, wherever possible. They may leave their seat to access facilities, such as the bathroom, first aid or food and drink outlets. When moving between their seat and facilities, patrons must use a direct path for their journey and avoid stopping at any time.

Do I need to check the temperature of my staff or attendees before they enter an event?

During periods of very low or no community transmission, routine temperature screening is not recommended.

The best way to protect customers and patrons is to:

  • practice physical distancing wherever possible
  • wear a face mask when required, and
  • regularly wash or sanitise your hands.

Event organisers should give clear communications before and during the event, advising anyone who feels unwell to remain at home or to return home immediately, and to present for COVID-19 testing if they have even the mildest symptoms.

In the context of an event, temperature screening of patrons has the potential to cause congestion at entry points and is subject to user and product variability and error.

A risk assessment should be performed for your event’s circumstances. Please visit the WorkSafe website for more information. 

Can I host multiple sessions of the same event in one day?

A venue can host multiple event sessions on one day. If an event organiser runs an event in multiple sessions, patron limits apply to the maximum number of people allowed at the event per day.

Cleaning must be undertaken between sessions in accordance with cleaning guidance.

I am running an event with multiple sessions of up to 1,000 people (for example, three sessions per day = 3,000 people per day). Can I do this and do I need to apply to the Victorian Government?

You can hold multiple sessions a day with 100% capacity providing all attendees are seated. Each session can hold up to 1,000 attendees and the space must be disinfected between each session.

Similarly, each separate seated space of a seated entertainment facility may have up to 1,000 attendees. A seated entertainment facility which can hold 3,000 attendees, that has three (3) separate 1,000 seat spaces is permitted to have 100% capacity. Each space must be separate, with separate entrances and exits, and the spaces must be disinfected after each session.

By following these requirements, you can operate the event under the COVIDSafe Settings and no further documentation is required to be submitted to the Victorian Government.

Please remember it is still mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan that demonstrates how they will meet important public health requirements set out by the Victorian Government.

Please note, if capacity exceeds 1,000 attendees for a single space, you will need to apply through the Public Events Framework.

I am the event organiser for a business, association, committee, group or club. Do I need to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan or COVIDSafe Event Checklist for events I organise?

If your event has 1,000 attendees or fewer, is run in line with an existing COVIDSafe Plan for the business, organisation or venue and can operate under any relevant restrictions on the facility or activity under the COVIDSafe Settings you do not need to submit an COVIDSafe Event Plan or Public Events Checklist under the Public Events Framework.

If the business or organisation does not have an existing COVIDSafe Plan, they will need to fill out and submit a COVIDSafe Event Checklist,  and the event will need to operate within the permissions of the Restricted Activity Directions.

If the event has more than 1,000 attendees, or it would not comply with the Restricted Activity Directions, then the organiser must follow the process outlined in the Public Events Framework for Tier 1 and 2 events.

Do outdoor performers in public spaces, such as buskers, require Victorian Government approval?

No. Outdoor performers in public spaces, such as buskers, may operate, if they meet the requirements of the relevant local council, as well and broader COVIDSafe requirements for businesses and individuals, such as having a COVIDSafe Plan, practicing physical distancing, and wearing face masks if required.

The number of people who gather to watch performers must not exceed the current limits for gatherings in public outdoor places.

Performers operating under these conditions do not need a COVIDSafe Event Checklist or COVIDSafe Event Plan.

I am planning an art installation in a public outdoor place. Do I need to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan or Checklist?

No. Art installations in public spaces, such as such as public parks, may operate if they meet the requirements of the relevant local council, and broader COVIDSafe requirements for businesses and individuals, such as requiring a COVIDSafe Plan, practicing physical distancing, and wearing face masks if required.

People who gather around installations must be in line with the current limits for gatherings in public outdoor places.

You do not need to submit a COVIDSafe Event Checklist or COVIDSafe Event Plan if you operate under these conditions.

I’m organising a market. Am I required to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan?

If the market is a regular activity for the venue, the market may operate in line with the COVIDSafe Settings relating to retail activity.

If the market is a one-off activity, for example, a Christmas market that operates in a venue that is not regularly used for this purpose, a COVIDSafe Event Checklist (for 1,000 or fewer attendees) or a COVIDSafe Event Plan (for more than 1,000 attendees) will be required.

I’m holding a fireworks display. Am I required to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan?

A public firework display falls within the definition of a public event and would need to follow the requirements under the Public Events Framework. The COVIDSafe Event Plan or COVIDSafe Event Checklist for this event should cover the primary viewing area of the fireworks (for example, an oval or park where the fireworks are to be let off), however you may also want to consider any other potential congregation points people may view the display from.

Can I run a public event that involves dancing?

Yes, dance floors and general admission areas are permitted. A density quotient of one per two square metres applies.

What should happen if the ball leaves the field of play and enters the crowd in a sporting event?

The major risk of COVID-19 transmission during team sports is from close contact or respiratory droplets. Shared sporting equipment might carry virus particles, however it is thought the risk of becoming infected as a result of contact with equipment such as balls, clothing or gloves, is low. Sporting venue managers or event organisers should consider facilitating a clean ball stockpile or disinfecting protocol to further reduce transmission risk during a sporting event.

Can I hold a public event on my private residential property?

There are limits on the number of visitors who may enter another person’s private residential property, however you can hold an event on a private residential property if it meets the legal definition of a public event. Private gatherings, such as a party with family and friends, do not meet the definition of a public event.

The Victorian Chief Health Officer’s Directions define a public event as an organised public gathering for a common purpose, which is conducted on a one-off or periodic basis, open to members of the public, publicly announced or advertised, and may be subject to specific licences, approvals or permits, and may be in a facility, venue or space where such an event forms part of the routine operations, use, activities or services of the facility, venue or space.

If your event does not meet these legal criteria if it is held at your private property, you should find another venue which fits within the rules.

If your event does not meet the definition of a public event, your ability to run it on your private property will depend on the private gathering limits in the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria). If you cannot host your event within the private gathering limits, you should find a venue that permits larger numbers.

Examples of activities that do not meet the definition of a public event include:

  • a garage sale
  • a private or public gathering of members of the public in a facility, venue, indoor space or outdoor space for ordinary, day-to-day operations, use, activities or services
  • a private gathering, such as a wedding, funeral or end-of-life activity
  • a routine religious gathering or ceremony.

If you are permitted to host a public event on your private residential property, it is your legal responsibility to ensure you design a COVIDSafe event in accordance with current public health advice.

Compliance with COVIDSafe event plans

My COVIDSafe Event Plan has been approved by the Victorian Government. Does this mean they are responsible for my event?

No. The event and the safety of employees and patrons is solely the responsibility of the event organiser.  The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) and the Department of Health (DH) may provide you with advice on how to develop your COVIDSafe Event Plan and put in place risk minimisation strategies, but the implementation of that advice is up to you as the event organiser. You will be liable for any breaches, even if DJPR and DH staff fail to detect any errors, inaccuracies, mistakes, non-compliances or omissions in connection with your public event.

Who has ultimate responsibility of event compliance?

The event organiser is ultimately responsible for the obligations within their COVIDSafe Event Plan, checklist and attestation. The event organiser is also responsible for managing any issues raised by COVID Marshals.

What are some methods of implementing event compliance?

If an attendee’s behaviour requires intervention, the COVID Marshal should approach the attendee(s) in the first instance. If this does not rectify the issue, security can remove the attendee(s) from the venue.

If there is non-compliance from larger groups or sections of the crowd, show or event stop measures can be implemented. Measures such as an event stop, music level drop, announcement from the stage or field etc, can be utilised. 

In the event of an emergency, please contact security, the police, or dial 000.

What compliance measures will be in place to ensure event organisers do the right thing?

Event organisers will need to demonstrate that they are doing what is reasonably practicable to comply with all public health directions during COVIDSafe Settings. This includes but is not limited to record-keeping for contact tracing purposes, signage, handwashing facilities, ensuring physical distancing, applying density limits, and training to identify and address non-compliant behaviour.

The Victorian Government may also conduct spot checks on events to ensure compliance with their COVIDSafe Event Plan. Any breaches in behaviour can be reported to the COVID Marshals at your event or escalated to the relevant government enforcement agency if behaviours are not managed. There will be significant penalties for failing to ensure a safe, compliant event.

School events

I am planning a school sport day and parents will be in attendance. Do I need to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan or Checklist?

If your school is holding a sporting event which is open to the public to attend, the physical recreational facility restrictions under the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) apply.

If your event involves 1,000 attendees or fewer and can operate under the Restricted Activity Directions – it can be conducted with a COVIDSafe Plan in place.

If you do not have a COVIDSafe Plan, you must follow the processes in the Public Events Framework. For events with 1,000 or less attendees you will need to fill out and submit a COVIDSafe Event Checklist, and the event will need to operate within the permissions of the Restricted Activity Directions.

If the event has more than 1,000 attendees, or it would not comply with Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then you must follow the process outlined in the Public Events Framework for Tier 1 and 2 events.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s School Operations Guide provides guidance on sport and recreation activities for government schools. Equivalent guidance is available to Catholic and independent schools via their respective school bodies. For additional guidance in planning a school sporting event you can refer to:

We are running an event at our school with members of the public in attendance (for example, a working-bee, parent teacher evening). Does the Public Events Framework apply to my event?

Each school must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, one that outlines the measures in place when students and staff from other schools attend their school.

If a school is holding a working bee where parents and family members would be attending as volunteers helping the school, that would fall solely under the Workplace Directions (Victoria). However, if the working bee is publicly advertised and entertainment is involved, the school must apply through the Public Event Framework.

If your event involves 1,000 attendees or fewer and can operate under the COVIDSafe Settings, it can be conducted with a COVIDSafe Plan in place.

If the event has more than 1,000 attendees, or it would not comply with the COVIDSafe settings, then you must follow the process outlined in the Public Events Framework for Tier 1 and 2 events.

For example, if your school is holding an open day that is publicly advertised, the school must apply through the Framework. 

Further information is available in the Department of Health Guidance for Schools.

Mass participation events

Are mass participation events (such as fun runs) included in the Public Events Framework?

Yes, mass participation events fall within the definition of a public event.

Do mass participation events need to comply with the COVIDSafe Settings (Directions) or the Public Events Framework (Framework)?

If your mass participation event has 1,000 or fewer participants and can run in accordance with the current COVIDSafe Settings requirements for community sport, then the event can proceed without registering. It is highly recommended you complete the COVIDSafe Event Checklist so that the State Government can assist you in the event of an outbreak, and provide updates in travel restrictions, hotspots and changes in other states that might impact events..

If your mass participation event requires additional allowances than permitted in the COVIDSafe Settings, or has greater than 1,000 participants, the event will need to follow the Public Events Framework approval process.

Protests

Can I arrange, organise or attend a protest?

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 acknowledges that human rights are essential in a democratic and inclusive society that respects the rule of law, human dignity, equality and freedom. The Charter protects freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, freedom of expression, rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

As Victoria is under a State of Emergency, the Chief Health Officer has issued directions to protect public health including Stay Safe Directions (Victoria) that apply limits to public gatherings for a common purpose at a public place. Such gatherings may include protests.

A protest that meets the public gathering limits applicable at the time would not breach the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria). Each person attending a protest, however, will need to comply with directions in place at that time, which include wearing and/or carrying face masks.

If the protest will exceed public gathering limits, the Stay Safe Directions (Victoria) provide a pathway for eligible public events (and persons arranging, organising and intentionally attending them) to seek exemption from public gathering limits through the Public Events Framework process. This process is used for the consideration of any large public event such as a sporting event or a large conference.

For Tier 3 events with 1,000 or fewer attendees, the event organisers must complete a COVIDSafe Event Checklist and publish this online at least one week prior to the event. For larger Tier 1 or Tier 2 events, the process to consider and approve an event includes a review of the proposed event and its COVIDSafe Plan by the Public Health Advisory Panel followed by consideration of the Chief Health Officer and the Major Events Ministerial Taskforce.

Following these steps, the event organiser will be notified of approved event capacity and any additional requirements that are required.

If you are organising a protest and wish to seek exemption under the Public Events Framework, you should do so as soon as possible, as it can take some time for exemptions to be considered. Public gathering limits are stated in the Stay Safe Directions (Victoria). The public gathering limit may change in accordance with changing public health advice, so please ensure you check regularly.

If an exemption from public gathering limits is not obtained, each person arranging to meet, organising and intentionally attending such a protest maybe in breach of the Stay Safe Directions (Victoria).

What can I do to make sure my protest is COVIDSafe?

Any public event with many people moving around and interacting with each other presents a risk for COVID-19 transmission.

In addition to making sure the protest can operate under the Stay Safe Directions (Victoria) or an exemption under the Public Events Framework, anyone arranging, organising and attending protests should ensure that it is managed in accordance with COVIDSafe principles to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

These principles include:

  • Hold the protest outdoors, where possible
  • Hold seated protests, where possible
  • Practise good hygiene and make hand sanitiser available for protestors
  • Enable protestors to maintain physical distancing, keeping at least 1.5 metres apart
  • Ensure protestors carry and/or wear a fitted face mask as required under the public health directions, which may change depending on the public health advice applicable at the time. It is strongly recommended that people wear a fitted face mask whenever they cannot keep 1.5 metres physical distance from others.
  • Keep records of who is attending the protest
  • Where possible, keep an appropriate distance between those singing, shouting or chanting. Singing, shouting and chanting may increase risk of spread of COVID-19. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission from air-circulating, wind-blowing devices and activities
  • Consider the use of COVID Marshals to monitor and enforce COVIDSafe practices, such as physical distancing, breaking up large groups and distributing hand sanitiser to protestors
  • Use pre-event communications to emphasise the importance of checking-in for record keeping, physical distancing, hand hygiene and not attending if unwell
  • Adhere to cleaning and disinfection requirements and clean shared objects such as microphones, signage, and musical equipment
  • Not attending the protest if you feel unwell and reminding others not to attend if they are unwell.

Do I need to submit a COVIDSafe Events Checklist if I am organising a protest?

You may be required to submit a formal COVIDSafe Events Checklist or detailed plans under the Public Events Framework, based on the nature of the event. Even if you are not required to do so, the checklist covers key public health principles which may help keep you and others safe.

Reviewed 17 June 2021

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