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Frustration Grows From Music Victoria As Government Allows 85% Capacity For ANZAC Day Matches

I
n the wake on the announcement there will be 85% capacity crowds for two AFL ANZAC Day matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this weekend, Music Victoria have put forth their frustrations at the double standards of the Victorian State Government’s decision.

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

Music Victoria CEO, Simone Schinkel, spoke exclusively to Ministry of Sport, and said the “easing” of restrictions does not really help the industry in at all.

“The capacity increases have been for seated shows, where we’re operating in an environment that has an unseated, general admission environment,” Schinkel told Ministry of Sport.

“It [the easing of restrictions] made little to no difference to us,” she said.

When asked on the approach from the State Government regarding the upcoming ANZAC Day matches in the AFL, Schinkel said it was an unusual decision from the perspective of the music industry.

“It’s extremely frustrating because we’ve been working with health and we’ve been working with the government to try and work out where the challenges are and where the risks are,” Schinkel said.

“We’re really happy to take on board any of their feedback in how we can be able to remove this density quotient, meaning we are trading at 30% of our usual capacity, so we’re not making any money whatsoever.

“The football is outside, but it’s not even so much the football itself it’s when people are coming into the venue, exiting the venue, catching the train to-and-from the footy, it’s all the other things we do in our lives that aren’t so heavily regulated as music is at this point in time.

“You can’t even have 100 people in a [music] venue, even though you might have QR code check-ins, hand sanitiser, you’ll have all the COVID-safe plans in the world, but it is still considered too risky to allow us to do that.

“Right now we have no COVID in the community and we’re still not trading as usual,” she told Ministry of Sport.

Victorian minister for health, Martin Foley, said in a statement regarding the easing of restrictions for the entertainment industry: “Designated empty chairs at these venues can now be filled – and that’s a big moment for operators who will be able to run at 100% seated capacity, with up to 1 000 patrons per space, for the first time in almost a year.”

“More people coming back to the office means more people visiting shops, cafes, restaurants and services throughout our business precincts, which are getting busier by the day.

“There are still important steps that venues and visitors have to observe to help us stay safe and stay open, such as the need to keep checking in at venues,” he said in a statement.

The AFL’s announcement on increased capacity follows a successful trial in round five, where fans who purchased tickets online were required to give name and contact details of people attending the fixtures.

After five rounds of the AFL season, 1,270,479 fans have attended matches nationally, with an average of 28,233 people per match.