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Rules for organising public events in Victoria

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

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.

COVIDSafe Settings and the Public Events Framework

Victoria’s COVIDSafe Settings are designed to balance getting Victorians back to doing the things they love while keeping in place measures to protect all that Victorians have worked so hard for. These COVIDSafe Settings consist of various requirements that businesses and individuals must adhere to.

These are updated regularly to reflect the current environment and public health advice.

COVIDSafe Settings has many parts, including the Restricted Activity Directions, Stay Safe Directions and Workplace Directions which can be found on the Victoria Department of Health website.

The purpose of the Public Events Framework is to guide event organisers and venues that wish to operate above and beyond what is permitted under COVIDSafe Settings and/or do not have a COVIDSafe Plan. If you are a venue with a COVIDSafe Plan in place and can operate events at your business in line with the COVIDSafe Settings this framework does not apply to you.

This framework sets out the process for working with government to confirm what capacity arrangements your venue or event is permitted, and potentially other health control measures, above and beyond what is permitted under COVIDSafe Settings.

Changes to tiers

New thresholds for each tier of event have also been implemented and number of attendees will be simplified to a measurement based on whether it is seated or non-seated.

Tier 1 events

  • Attendees: More than 7,500 per day.
  • Seated events capacity: 75% of the venue’s fixed seated capacity (no capacity limit).
  • Non-seated events capacity: Density quotient of one person per two square metres. 
  • Zoning: mandatory for all Tier 1 events exceeding 7,500 attendees and highly recommended for Tier 2. Zones have a maximum of 7,500 attendees.
  • COVID Marshals: A minimum ratio of 1:200. This can be made up of dual roles where the role has a direct responsibility for engaging with patrons, e.g. security, ushers, and other crowd control roles.
  • COVIDSafe event plans: published on the website.

Tier 2 events (now only one category, not split into low and high risk)

  • Attendees: 1,001 to 7,500 per day. 
  • Seated events capacity: 75% of the venue’s fixed seated capacity (no capacity limit).
  • Non-seated events capacity: Density quotient of one person per two square metres. 
  • Zoning: mandatory for all Tier 1 events exceeding 7,500 attendees and highly recommended for Tier 2. Zones have a maximum of 7,500 attendees.
  • COVID Marshals: A minimum ratio of 1:200. This can be made up of dual roles where the role has a direct responsibility for engaging with patrons, e.g. security, ushers, and other crowd control roles.
  • COVIDSafe event plans: published on the website.
  • Public Health Attestation: published on website.

Tier 3 events

  • Attendees: Up to 1,000.
  • Seated events capacity: 100% of the venue’s fixed seated capacity (no capacity limit).
  • Non-seated events capacity: Density quotient of one person per two square metres. 
  • Event checklist: published on website.

For non-seated events, the density quotient must be calculated based on the area that attendees can access. For venues with mixed seated/non-seated areas, there needs to be clear separation between areas, otherwise a density quotient applies to whole venue.

Multiple sessions

Event organisers are able to host multiple sessions in a day as long as a complete clean can be completed in between sessions. To determine which tier your event will be is dependant on the total numbers of attendees per day.

For example:

  • 3 x sessions of 3,000 people (9,000 per day = Tier 1)
  • 3 x sessions of 2,000 people (6,000 per day = Tier 2)

Regardless of the tier, all events must operate within the framework adhering to the capacity and density limits or must seek an exemption.

Current framework settings

Under the revised framework, there continues to be limits and restrictions placed on public events in Victoria. However, the revised settings are less restrictive than the previous phases of the framework.

Limits on the number of people attending the event

Indoor and outdoor seated events

  • For Tier 1 events and Tier 2 events: 75% of the venue’s fixed seated capacity (no capacity limit).
  • For Tier 3 events: 100% of the venue’s fixed seated capacity (up to a maximum of 1,000 attendees).

Indoor and outdoor unseated events

  • All tiers: Density quotient of 1 person per 2 square metres.
    The density quotient must be calculated based on the area that is publicly accessible to attendees i.e. not the entire area of the venue/setting, only the area that attendees can access.

For venues with mixed seated/non-seated areas, there needs to be clear separation between areas otherwise the density quotient applies to whole venue.

Zoning

Zoning is mandatory for all Tier 1 events (exceeding 7,500 attendees) and is highly recommended for Tier 2. Zones have a maximum of 7,500 attendees. Zoning means dividing the area where your event is being held into different sections and limiting the spaces to certain attendees for the duration of the event. This helps reduce the number of people that would need to be contacted in the event of an outbreak.

Free-standing/roaming events

Free-standing/roaming events permitted at a density quotient of one person per two square metres per session. All free-standing/roaming events must be held in a defined area – i.e. fenced area, with defined entry and exit points. 

Electronic record keeping (QR Codes)

Electronic record keeping is mandatory for all public events. From 28 May, all venues must use the free Victorian Government QR Service to keep records of all workers and attendees at public events.

COVID Marshals

A minimum COVID Marshal ratio of 1:200. This can be made up of dual roles where the role has a direct responsibility for engaging with patrons, i.e. security, ushers, and other crowd control roles. COVID Marshals should be visible, easily identifiable, and appropriately trained.

Dancefloors/General admission areas

Dance floors and General Admission areas at concerts and music festivals are permitted. For all events with dancefloors or involve dancing a density quotient of one person per two square metres applies to the whole venue.

Camping

Camping events are permitted and must comply with the current Restricted Activity Directions and the obligations of an accommodation provider.

What is a public event?

A public event is an organised public gathering for a common purpose that 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.

Under Victoria’s COVIDSafe Settings there are rules for public and private gatherings at different types of venues, including venues that may ordinarily hold events as part of their business-as-usual operations.

There is a distinction between the rules for how we live and work under Victoria’s COVIDSafe Settings, 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.

Victoria’s COVIDSafe Settings for how we live and work continue to apply the activities in the above list.

COVIDSafe public events

During COVIDSafe Settings, Victorians can 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.

Public health risk factors

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 among 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.

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.

Reviewed 17 June 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

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