Queenslanders are asking why they can go to the football to watch their favourite team, but can’t go to the pub to see their favourite band.
Venue operators claim the state government’s COVID-19 restrictions on pubs and clubs are causing confusion among customers and hurting businesses.
The operators say the confusion stems from why pubs are still operating under the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule but football stadiums are not.
Mick Hasler, operations manager for Sun Tourism, which owns and operates several pubs and venues in the state’s far north, said the restrictions did not make sense and were confusing for customers and business owners.
“Our business is down about 60 per cent because we are still operating under the one person per two square metre rule,” he said.
Mr Hasler said the restrictions did not just hurt his business, but had a knock-on effect.
“If we can’t operate at 100 per cent, then we have to cut back on other expenses like staff, live music, and security,” he said.
“We have to budget differently; we can now only pay bands half their price because they can only play to half the people.
Roz Pappalardo, acting branch manager for cultural services at the Cairns Regional Council, said the restrictions meant that the Tanks Art Centre was also operating at a reduced capacity.
“The tanks can hold 650 people standing, but at the moment we are only allowed 300 people standing,” she said.
Ms Pappalardo said the idea that venues were operating at 100 per cent capacity while seated was slightly misleading.
“We can only fit 450 fully [with] people seated, as we need to allow for walkways and access to bars and the exits, so that’s only about 70 per cent capacity,” she said.
“Music venues are not built to be seated, just through the process of bringing in chairs brings down the capacity, so you’re not operating at your pre-COVID 100 per cent.
John Collins spent nearly 20 years playing bass in iconic Australian band Powderfinger.
Since hanging up his guitar he has bought two music venues in Brisbane and recently he started Playfair, a lobby group and online petition aimed at easing restrictions at live music venues across the state.
“People can’t believe that we only have 50 per cent capacity at live music venues but 100 per cent capacity at Suncorp stadium,” he said.
“Playfair is about recognising that we are still not back to capacity.
“Music venues don’t have seats. When we put seats in we are only at about 30 per cent of our original capacity.”
Mr Collins said he was not advocating for full capacity, just a larger capacity that was workable.
“I met with the Premier’s office before we launched the campaign, but since then we have not had any further conversations with the state government,” he said.
“It’s been a bit disappointing.
“The government has consistently said the reason why football grounds are at full capacity and the bands are not, is because the sport grounds are outdoors.
“You don’t get dropped into your seat via a helicopter [at games], then we [at sport grounds] pack around bars, the entry and the toilets, that’s where the inconsistency lies with me.
“You have 10,000 people walking through one gate and I’m only asking for 2,000.”
An anomaly within the state government’s restrictions is that all seated sporting venues and theatres are operating at 100 per cent capacity, whereas restaurants, where patrons are seated, are still operating under the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule.
Mr Collins said it was adding to the confusion.
“The rules don’t make sense; it all seems a bit ridiculous,” he said.
“Even though we have tickets and we know where everybody is seated, we still need to do QR codes.”
Mr Collins said that the restrictions were not just hurting musicians but also truck drivers, merchandisers, bar staff and sound and lighting companies.
“It doesn’t seem fair, if there was a COVID case at Suncorp stadium, it would shut Brisbane down but they are willing to take that risk, while at the same time they are allowing venues to suffer,” he said.
Queensland Health issued the ABC with a statement about the current venue restrictions:
Thank you for dropping by My Local Pages and reading this news release on “News & What’s On in Brisbane” called “Live music COVID restrictions causing confusion”. This story was presented by My Local Pages as part of our local stories aggregator services.
#Live #music #COVID #restrictions #causing #confusion