As all would be aware, Premier Andrews announced a further easing of restrictions on Sunday December 6th, 2020.
As continues to be the case, the new rules do not make direct reference to group accommodation facilities such as CVA members run. We are therefore left to interpret the rules, and where possible seek clarification from the relevant government departments. History has shown that these departments do not understand that this sector offers its services to more than schools.
The rules controlling COVID-19 restriction in Victoria can be found in two documents namely -
The “How we Live" and “How we work” documents that have been issued by the government are a simplification of these two controlling pieces of government regulations.
It is expected that these will be the last changes to COVID-19 regulations prior to Christmas.
Along with the easing of the requirement of when masks need to be worn, there were a number of changes that directly impact our sector. The key points are:-
- Generally, 1 person per 2sqm now applies, though up to 25 patrons can attend a venue before any density rules apply.
- Electronic attendance recording is a requirement (e.g. QR code or similar) for the 2sqm rule to apply.
- Booking size maximum of 30 persons, per booking, multiple simultaneous bookings allowed per facility (see Section 13 of the Restricted Activity Directions).
- Whilst multiple groups are permitted, persons from different groups may NOT share bedrooms.
- All communal spaces (dining and meeting spaces) are required to abide by 2sqm per person.
The main challenge is the booking size. Whilst multiple simultaneous groups can book, a large booking needs to be registered as multiple smaller groups to comply with the regulations.
On talking to others who are also lobbying this point, it appears this is simply a (frustrating) oversight within the crafting of the legislation. Whilst this oversight may be changed, it is unlikely to be a priority for legislators at present, especially with the acknowledged “work around”.
Recent advise from DHHS states that -
It is important that anyone attending group singing does not have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure the safety of others. People at high-risk of severe illness should not participate in group singing while there is active community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Group singing is safest when the following measures are applied:
• singing outside or in a well-ventilated room (with windows open).
• physical distancing of at least 2 metres between each person while singing.
• short performances (of less than an hour).
• singing softly.