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Public events – information for organisers

Information to help organisers of public events in Victoria to meet safety requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: 9 April 2021 – Capacity for seated venues

From midnight on Friday 9 April, Victoria moved to allow 100% of seated indoor and outdoor capacity for entertainment, cultural and sporting venues, up to a maximum of 1,000 patrons per space. 

Seated indoor and outdoor entertainment, cultural and sporting venues seeking attendance of more than 1,000 people per space must continue to apply for consideration under the Public Events Framework.

Events designated as Tier 1 or 2 will also remain at 75%.

For more information, see the statement from the Minister for Health.

Public events framework

COVIDSafe public events

During COVIDSafe Settings, Victorians are able to gather in larger numbers at approved organised events.

Public events often have a significant number of people in a defined and confined space. They can involve a broad range of activities including food and beverage service, entertainment, networking, or mass participation of attendees.

Events present a high risk for COVID-19 transmission, with many people moving around and interacting with each other. Events should be managed in line with COVIDSafe principles to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Event and venue organisers must:

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 Department of Health, please work with your electronic ticketing provider to provide a refund or transfer the ticket to another person.

Before and during your event, you must communicate to patrons that they are not permitted to be at the event if they have been instructed to quarantine by the Department of Health, or if they are unwell or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. There is a collection of signs and posters available for your use.

Be aware of the latest Department of Health COVID-19 updates.

What is 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 licenses, approvals or permits.

The directions contain restrictions that relate to public and private gatherings at different types of venues, including venues that may ordinarily hold events as part of their business-as-usual operations.

This definition in the directions creates a distinction between the ordinary activities of people and venues regulated by the directions, and a proposed public event subject to consideration under the Public Events Framework.

Examples of a public event include exhibitions, sporting events, festivals, fairs, parades, performances and trade shows.

Note: The event organiser must continue to apply for and comply with all required licences, approvals and local government permits where applicable.

A public event is not:

  • an ad-hoc public gathering in a public place
  • 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, or
  • a routine religious gathering or ceremony.

The Stay Safe Directions (Victoria) and Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) continue to apply the activities in the above list.

Attendee limits and density requirements

During COVIDSafe Settings, there is a phased resumption of public events, including attendee limits and density requirements for various venue types. This reflects the current conditions in Victoria and other Australian states, along with national and international advice for mass gatherings.

During COVIDSafe Settings, the Public Events Framework allows larger gatherings of people at public events. The first phases allow for seated events, before later progressing to standing and roaming events if the progress of restrictions allows. There are different attendee limits for outdoor and indoor settings, with the total attendees per event limited in each phase.

Public events will also be assessed as Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 according to their size, complexity and associated risk factors – see below for an explanation of how events are classified as Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3.

Limits on attendee numbers at public events apply to each day of the event, and include children older than 12 months, but do not include the staff required to run the event.

Criteria for phases

Public event phase 1

From 11:59pm on 6 December 2020

Public event phase 2

Gradual easing of restrictions on a 14 day basis subject to public health advice

Public event phase 3

Gradual easing of restrictions on a 14 day basis subject to public health advice

The phases are reviewed fortnightly by the Public Health Advisory Panel and the Chief Health Officer. The shift between Phase 1 and 2 was last reviewed in February 2021 following the recent hotel quarantine outbreaks. Any shifts between phases is based on Public Health advice, guided by outbreaks and indicators of community transmission and is aligned with the Restricted Activity Directions.

Venue requirements for COVIDSafe Settings and phases

Public event phase 1
  • 75 per cent of a venue’s seating capacity, up to a maximum of 5000 people seated.
  • Density quotient of one person per two square metres applies to non-fixed seated areas – for example, grassed areas. Electronic record keeping such as QR codes must be used to support contact tracing.
  • Tier 3 events (with 1000 or fewer people) can allow some standing and roaming as per the Restricted Activity Directions.
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 events (with more than 1000) people must be seated only.
Public event phase 2
  • 75 per cent of a venue’s seating capacity, up to a maximum of 25,000 people seated.
  • Density quotient of one person per two square metres applies to non-fixed seated areas – for example grassed areas. QR codes must be used to check-in for these events.
  • Allocated seated events only. Free-standing events not permitted, unless permitted under the Restricted Activity Directions.
Public event phase 3
  • Gradual return of up to 100 per cent of a venue’s seated capacity
  • Gradual return of free-standing events

Requirements for public event organisers

COVIDSafe Event Plan must be submitted for review and approval for Tier 1 and Tier 2 events.

COVIDSafe Event Checklist must be submitted via the online registration form and published online for Tier 3 events.

Approvals and requirements for organisers of public events

If you are planning a public event in Victoria, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that you are designing a COVIDSafe event in accordance with current public health advice.

All public events must comply with the requirements of the Public Events Framework, including the attendee limits and density requirements. Depending on the scale and risk involved in running the public event, the event organiser must seek approval from the Victorian Government to run the event.

The Victorian Government has established a process to review and approve events, ensuring public event organisers consider the appropriate infection prevention controls and public health advice as part of their planning and delivery of events.

Tiered approach for assessing public events

Public events will be assessed according to the size, complexity and associated risk factors. A three-tiered categorisation system is used to ensure the appropriate level of public health oversight is applied.

Public health risk factors for events

Factors that can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  • The event is primarily held indoors.
  • The event includes unallocated seating.
  • Alcohol is served at the event.
  • There is extensive singing, chanting or cheering amongst attendees during the event.
  • There is close physical interaction between attendees and/or participants, where they may not be able to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres for short periods of time.
  • The event is held over multiple successive days with different attendees each day.
  • The event is actively promoted interstate and is therefore likely to attract interstate attendees.

Tier 1 events

Criteria

  • Events with 5000 or more attendees per day

Requirements

  • Tier 1 events must submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan to the Victorian Government for public health approval
  • Tier 1 events must submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan 8 to 10 weeks prior to either the start of the event, or when the decision by the event organiser is required to confirm how/if the event will proceed

Tier 2 events

Criteria

  • Events with 1000 to 5000 attendees

Requirements

Requirements vary for Tier 2 event organisers, with events that meet criteria to be considered lower risk. no longer requiring approval 

Approval not required (declaration only)

Tier 2 events can occur, without going through the government approval process, if they meet all three criteria below:

For outdoor events and indoor (seated) events an event will be designated a Low Risk Tier 2 Event if it meets the following two criteria:

  1. The event has fewer than 5,000 participants/spectators; and
  2. Attendance at the event must not exceed 75 per cent capacity limit of the venue.

Indoor (unseated) events must meet the following additional criterion to be designated a Low Risk Tier 2 Event:

  1. The event does not feature behaviours that present a greater COVID risk (singing, dancing, chanting or consumption of alcohol).

Tier 2 events that satisfy the criteria listed above will be considered lower risk and will be allowed to proceed without government approval, subject to providing the following documentation:

  • Declaration: An event can be approved without government review if the organiser completes a declaration form and can attest to COVIDSafe requirements, such as ticketing and record keeping.
  • COVIDSafe Event Plan: All Tier 2 public events must have a COVIDSafe Event Plan, which identifies the public health risks and mitigation strategies that event organisers will consider and incorporate into event planning.

Approval required

If your Tier 2 event does not comply with the new threshold criteria listed above, your event is deemed to have a higher risk and will need government review. This means you must:

  • submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan for public health approval
  • submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan four to six weeks prior to either the start of the event or when the decision by the event organiser is required to confirm how/if the event will proceed.

Tier 3 events

Criteria

  • Events with 1000 or fewer attendees per day

Requirements

Liability and indemnity

You control and accept sole responsibility, risk and liability for all aspects of your public event. You must conduct your own investigations, assessments and interpretations and seek independent professional advice on all aspects of your public event.

The State of Victoria does not control and accepts no liability for your public event nor for any loss, damage, injury or death in connection with your public event, including (without limitation), any change to requirements for your public event or the cancellation or postponement of your public event.

You will indemnify the State of Victoria against any liability to or claims by a third party for any loss, damage, injury or death in connection with your public event, including (without limitation), the cancellation or postponement of your public event.

Consultation, review, assessment and approval process

To the extent permitted by law, the State of Victoria excludes liability for any loss, damage, injury or death caused by use of or reliance on any consultation, review, assessment or approval process in connection with your public event.

The State of Victoria may amend or withdraw from the consultation, review, assessment or approval process at any time without notice.

The State of Victoria may amend or withdraw any consultation, review, assessment or approval at any time without notice.

You will not be relieved from compliance with any of your obligations at law as a result of:

  • any consultation, review, assessment, or approval (or failure to consult, review, assess, or approve) or any other act or omission by the State of Victoria in connection with your public event (including, without limitation, any failure by the State of Victoria to detect any errors, inaccuracies, mistakes, non-compliances or omissions in connection with your public event)
  • your implementation of and compliance with the COVIDSafe Event Plan for your public event

For more information

Frequently asked questions: New process for lower risk Tier 2 public events

What is the new assessment process for Tier 2 public events?

Under the new Tier 2 public event assessment process, Tier 2 events (1,000 to 5,000 attendees) can proceed without government approval, if:

  • For outdoor events and indoor (seated) events an event will be designated a lower risk Tier 2 Event if it meets the following two criteria:
  1. the event has fewer than 5,000 participants/spectators; and
  2. ttendance must not exceed 75 per cent capacity limit of the venue.
  • Indoor (unseated) events must meet the following additional criteria to be designated a Low Risk Tier 2 Event:
  1. the event does not feature behaviours that present a greater COVID risk (singing, dancing, chanting or consumption of alcohol or drugs).

If the Tier 2 event organiser meets all of these threshold criteria, the event will be considered lower risk and event organisers will need to complete a declaration and lodge a COVIDSafe Event Plan.

The declaration will allow an organiser to register the event without government approval, providing they fulfil the declaration requirements, for example ticketing and record keeping.

I am the organiser of a Tier 2 event which meets the lower risk criteria. What do I need to next to proceed with my event?

If the Tier 2 event satisfies the new threshold criteria, event organisers must complete a declaration and attest they will meet and/or implement all 13 of the following COVIDSafe criteria, which are detailed in the declaration form:

  • Density requirement for indoor and outdoor venues;
  • No behaviours that present a greater COVID-19 risk (singing, dancing, chanting and consumption of alcohol or drugs);
  • Record-keeping;
  • Communications;
  • Crowd management;
  • COVID Marshal ratio recommendation;
  • Cleaning and hygiene;
  • Vendors and contractors;
  • Staff;
  • Positive case management;
  • Ventilation;
  • Directions and mask use; and
  • Completed COVIDSafe Event Plan.

What is the approval process if my Tier 2 event does not comply with the new threshold criteria?

If your Tier 2 event does not comply with the new threshold criteria, your event is deemed to have a higher risk and needs to go through the existing approval process for Tier 2 events.

If my Tier 2 event is deemed ‘lower risk’ and 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.

Are there any changes to the Tier 1 and Tier 3 event approval process?

There are no new changes to the assessment of Tier 1 and 3 Victorian public events.

You must submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan for review and approval of all Tier 1 events.

A COVIDSafe Event Checklist must be submitted via the online registration form and published online for Tier 3 events.

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

No, you do not need to resubmit your application, but should advise of any updates to the Plan since it was submitted.

If your event meets the lower risk threshold criteria, it can proceed with completion of a declaration form. If it does not meet the lower risk criteria, your event will continue through the existing approval process without delay and you are not required to complete the declaration.

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.

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.

Frequently asked questions: 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 Stay Safe 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 Restricted Activity 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 1000 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 it’s 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 may be 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 complies with 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 Event 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 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. 

Frequently asked questions: Other

Electronic record keeping changes and impact on public events

Changes to the use of QR codes have recently come into effect. All venues must use the free Victorian Government QR Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system from March 26. 

There is an amnesty for 28 days, which means this is not mandatory until 23 April to allow time for businesses and organisations to register for a QR code and begin using it.

For public events that are already approved and take place between now and 23 April, the 28-day compliance amnesty means this isn’t compulsory (unless already part of your approved COVIDSafe event plan) but instead is recommended. 

After 28 days, all public events regardless of tiers or size will need to comply.

For more information on changes to QR code requirements visit the Coronavirus website.

What is the current phase for public events? When will we move to the next phase?

Public event phase 1 is currently in place. Movement between phases in the Public Events Framework is based on expert Public Health advice. The phases are reviewed fortnightly by the Public Health Advisory Panel and the Chief Health Officer. The shift between Phase 1 and 2 was last reviewed in February 2021 following the recent hotel quarantine outbreaks.

Any shifts between phases is based on Public Health advice, guided by outbreaks and indicators of community transmission and is aligned with the Restricted Activity Directions.

The intention of the development of the Public Events Framework is to shift between all phases as the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community changes.

Progressing to Phase 2 has been delayed by the Black Rock outbreak and the Circuit Breaker Action announced on Friday 12 February 2021. 

Given that we are currently at Phase 1 and as a consequence of the recent outbreaks, we do not anticipate progressing to Phase 3 before 1 April 2021.

What is a private event?

A private event is a gathering limited to family and friends, and members or guests of an organisation or club, within the relevant venue or gathering limits and where the event is not open to the general public, and where food, beverages and entertainment are provided without the organisers seeking compensation.

The Public Events Framework does not apply to private events.

The Stay safe directions (Victoria) continue to apply to these types of gatherings.

What are examples of private events?

Examples of a private event include:

  • an ad hoc public gathering in a public place;
  • 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 such as a function centre, a community basketball stadium or a rehearsal space for a dance company;
  • a private gathering, such as a wedding reception, funeral or end of life activity; or 
  • a routine religious gathering or ceremony.

What is a public event for the purposes of the Public Events Framework?

A public event is an organised public gathering for a common purpose on a profit or not-for-profit basis 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. Organisers of any type of public event will be required to develop a COVIDSafe Event Plan or complete a COVIDSafe Event Checklist (part of the online registration form). 

What are some examples of a public event?

Examples of a public event include:

  • one-off or periodic exhibitions
  • business functions
  • sporting events
  • festivals
  • fairs or parades
  • live performances, for example, concerts, comedy shows or a music event at a winery
  • speaking events
  • conferences
  • trade shows

Why is the Victorian Government involved in planning for public events?

During COVIDSafe Settings, eased restrictions are enabling Victorians to gather in larger numbers and attend organised events.

To support the safe return of public events of all sizes, the Victorian Government has established the Public Events Framework process to support event organisers in planning and delivering COVIDSafe events. 

How does the public events approval process work?

Public events will be subject to different government approval processes depending on the size and risk factors associated with the event. Public events will be categorised into Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 events.

Tier 1 events are of substantial scale and complexity and pose a high risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. They have more than 5,000 attendees and require an approved COVIDSafe Event Plan to be completed as part of the online registration form before they can proceed. This includes sign-off by the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Minister for Health and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.

Tier 2 events are of moderate complexity and risk, with between 1,000 and 5,000 attendees. These events will also require an approved COVIDSafe Event Plan before they can proceed.

Tier 3 events are the lowest risk events, with 1,000 or fewer people. These events will require a COVIDSafe Event Checklist before they can proceed.

What is 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 coronavirus (COVID-19) among attendees and staff.

Further guidance on the key areas to address in a COVIDSafe Event Plan and the template is available on the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website.

What is a COVIDSafe Event Checklist?

The COVIDSafe Event Checklist enables Tier 3 event organisers to consider and implement controls to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). You can now complete and submit the checklist using the online registration form.

Does my COVIDSafe Event Checklist need to be approved by the Victorian Government?

No, COVIDSafe Event Checklists do not need to be approved by the Victorian Government. However, organisers of Tier 3 events need to complete and submit their COVIDSafe Event Checklist to the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website. You can use this questionnaire to find out what the requirements are for your event.

Does my COVIDSafe Event Plan need to be approved by the Victorian Government?

Yes, all Tier 1 and Tier 2 events will require a COVIDSafe Event Plan approved by the Victorian Government.

Who will review the COVIDSafe Event Plan?

A panel of public health experts, trained in infectious diseases, infection control and contact tracing, will review each COVIDSafe Event Plan. The Victorian Chief Health Officer, Minister for Health and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events will also review the COVIDSafe Event Plans as part of the approval process.

What does ‘risk profile’ mean when talking about a public event?

There are seven key risk factors which might elevate a Tier 2 event as higher risk and determine if the event should be classified as Tier 1, regardless of the number of attendees:

  • Is the event primarily held indoors?
  • Does the event include unallocated seating?
  • Is alcohol served at the event?
  • Is there extensive singing, chanting, cheering or exhaling amongst attendees during the event?
  • Is there close physical interaction between attendees and participants where they may not be able to maintain 1.5 metre distance between them for short periods of time?
  • Is the event held over multiple successive days with different attendees each day?
  • Is the event actively promoted interstate and is therefore likely to attract interstate attendees?

Find a self-assessment tool for event organisers to determine the appropriate categorisation of their event.

How many people can I have at my event?

The number of attendees allowed at an event is based on conditions such as whether the event is indoors or outdoors, and whether patrons and participants are stationary or roaming. During Phase 1 of COVIDSafe Settings, 75 per cent of a seated, allocated venue up to 5,000 people can attend an event. When Victoria moves to Phase 2 of COVIDSafe Settings, the Public Events Framework will permit 75 per cent capacity up to 25,000 people.

The relevant information on patron caps can be found in the Public Events Framework.

The Public Events Framework will be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect the latest advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

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.

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. QR code registration systems are recommended. 

How long will it take for my event to be assessed?

Events will be assessed as quickly as possible. Larger, more complex public events may take longer to approve. Following the guidance information, reading the FAQs and ensuring your COVID Safe Event Plan or COVIDSafe Event Checklist is comprehensive will assist the approval process.

Your COVIDSafe Event Plan must be submitted to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Events team (required for Tier 1 and Tier 2 events), at least six to eight weeks ahead of your event for Tier 1 events, and at least four to six weeks for Tier 2 events.

For Tier 3 events, your COVIDSafe Event Checklist must be submitted at least one week ahead of your event. The checklist is completed as part of the online registration form.

I am a venue owner or operator. Do I need a COVIDSafe Event Plan?

If your event complies with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) and you have a COVIDSafe Plan, you no longer need to apply to the Public Events Framework. However, if your venue is holding a public event outside of your ordinary, day-to-day operations, use, activities or services, the event organiser will be required to complete a COVIDSafe Event Plan or a COVIDSafe Event Checklist. Use the self-assessment tool.

If you are both the venue operator and the organiser, then both a COVIDSafe Plan and a COVIDSafe Event plan are required.

What is the difference between the events I normally run as part of my business and an eligible public event?

If public gatherings are part of routine operations (for example, community basketball games occurring indoors at a stadium), you will need to ensure these activities run within the relevant venue restrictions (including observing density limits) and that you have a COVIDSafe Plan. If you are holding a one-off event or something that happens periodically (for example, an annual conference) you will need a COVIDSafe Event Plan in addition to the COVIDSafe Plan for your business or venue.

I run intermittent public events outside of my normal activities. Do I need a COVIDSafe Event Plan for each one?

Whether your intermittent events will need a separate COVIDSafe Event Plan for each will be decided by the Major Events Ministerial Taskforce. That decision is made based on your application, and whether there are significant differences between the events such as scale, length and other risk factors. Please indicate in your application whether your event is a one-off or intermittent event and provide details on each event.

I am organising an event across multiple venues. How does this work with the Public Events Framework?

Your event will need to have an overall COVIDSafe Event Plan for the entire festival – not necessarily for each individual venue. However, the plan will need to include COVIDSafe measures for each venue and each site’s venue operator will be required to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Depending on the size and risk factors associated with the event, each individual venue will be assessed by the Victorian Government.

Do I need to develop a COVIDSafe Event Plan if I am organising a public demonstration?

Yes. A planned public demonstration is a public event for the purposes of the Public Events Framework. Organisers of a planned public demonstration will need to develop a COVIDSafe Event Plan or COVID Safe Event Checklist and take the necessary public health measures to ensure their event is safe for people attending.

Do attendees need to wear face masks at an event?

Victoria returns to COVIDSafe Settings from 11:59pm Friday 26 February 2021.

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

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)
  • indoors at shopping centres, retail facilities with 2,000 or more square metres of indoor space, markets and market stalls
  • on flights to and from Victoria and
  • at airports
  • or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people (such as outdoor markets, outdoor concerts, street markets, at a busy bus stop or train station platform).
  • regularly check the latest information on face masks.

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 different requirements for both indoor and outdoor events, including capped patron numbers. Refer to the Public Events Framework for further information.

How does the new Public Events Framework interact with the existing Restricted Activity Directions for facilities, venues and activities?

Should your event meet the definition of an eligible public event, the Public Events Framework will apply. If it does not, then you will need to comply with theRestricted Activity Directions for your facility, venue or activity. 

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 COVIDSafe at all times and has been used effectively in high-risk industries and workplaces to monitor staff, contractors and patrons. 

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. You will not be relieved from compliance with any of your obligations at law as a result of:

  • any consultation, review, assessment, or approval (or failure to consult, review, assess, or approve) or any other act or omission by the State of Victoria in connection with your public event (including, without limitation, any failure by the State of Victoria to detect any errors, inaccuracies, mistakes, non-compliances or omissions in connection with your public event)
  • your implementation of and compliance with the COVIDSafe Event Plan for your public event

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.

What if I am still unsure if my event requires a COVIDSafe Event Plan (Tier 1 or Tier 2) or a COVIDSafe Event Checklist (Tier 3)?

If you have read this document and the Public Events Framework and are still unsure whether your gathering is a public event or what type of planning is needed, you can log your question by emailing COVIDSafeEvents@ecodev.vic.gov.au

How do I determine if my event is compliant with the Restricted Activity Directions (RAD) or if it is required to follow the Public Events Framework (PEF)?

To determine whether your event is compliant with the Restricted activity directions (Victoria).

If your event involves 1000 or fewer attendees, and your event is compliant with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then your business or organisation can operate your event so long as you have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. In this case, you do not need to apply under the Public Events Framework.

If your event has more than 1000 attendees, or it would not comply with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then you must follow the process outlined in the COVID-19 Public Events Framework.

I am organising a business event, do I follow the Restricted Activity Directions (RAD) or the Public Events Framework (PEF)?

If your event involves 1,000 attendees or fewer, and your event is compliant with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then you can operate your business event with a COVIDSafe Plan in place. In this case, you do not need to apply under the Public Events Framework.

If your event has more than 1000 attendees, or it would not comply with the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), then you must follow the process outlined in the COVID-19 Public Events Framework.

Can I submit one Plan for an event ‘type’ that can be used across multiple events?

Event organisers can submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan that covers a season or series of events.

A new submission will be required if the venue is hosting an event that deviates from the approved COVIDSafe Event Plan.

For example, if your approved COVIDSafe Event Plan covers seated concerts and the venue is seeking to host a concert with general admission (non-seated) ticketing, a revised COVIDSafe Event Plan is required as there are different coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission risks.

Do mass participation events need to comply with the Restricted Activity Directions (RAD) or the Public Events Framework (PEF)?

If your mass participation event has 1,000 or fewer participants and can run in accordance with the current Restricted Activities Direction requirements for community sport, then the event can proceed with a COVIDSafe Event Checklist.

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

For ticketed 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.

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’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 Workplace Directions and Stay Safe Directions 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? 

In the current phase of COVIDSafe Settings Tier 1 and 2 events must be seated only. Tier 3 events can allow some standing and roaming as per the Restricted Activity Directions.

The four square meter rule must be applied to limit the number of people on the dance floor and there can only be up to 50 people on the dance floor at one time, if space allows. Partner dancing is permitted.

Regularly check the latest information on face masks.

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 1000 attendees or fewer, is run in line with an existing COVIDSafe Plan for the business, organisation or venue and complies with any relevant restrictions on the facility or activity under the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) you do not need to submit an event plan or 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 1000 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 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 am planning a school sport day and parents will be in attendance. Do I need to submit a COVIDSafe Event Plan or Checklist?

Not if your event involves 1000 attendees or fewer, and complies with 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 1000 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 1000 attendees, or it would not comply with the Restricted Activity Directions, then you must follow the process outlined in the Public Events Framework for Tier 1 and 2 events.

The 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, open day). Does the Public Events Framework apply to my event?

Not if your activity involves 1000 attendees or fewer, and complies with the Restricted Activity Directions- it can be conducted with an existing COVIDSafe Plan in place.

If you do not have a COVIDSafe Plan, you will need to fill out and submit a COVIDSafe Event Checklist, and your event will need to operate within the permissions of the Restricted Activity Directions.

If the event has more than 1000 attendees, or it would not comply with the Restricted Activity Directions, and you must follow the process outlined in the Public Events Framework for Tier 1 and 2 events.

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

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 Restricted Activity Directions, including attendee limits and density requirements for those spaces.

The date of my event has changed. Do I need to submit a new COVIDSafe Event Plan or COVIDSafe Event Checklist?

No, if your event date changes you don’t need to make a new submission.

Email COVIDSafeEvents@ecodev.vic.gov.au with your new event dates and these can be recorded on your existing application.

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. 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.

Reviewed 12 April 2021

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