Melbourne takes another step towards reopening, so what does that mean for live music?

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Melbourne takes another step towards reopening, so what does that mean for live music?

Photo by Joshua Braybrook
Words by Kate Streader

The Premier has announced significant changes to restrictions for indoor entertainment.

Yesterday marked Victoria’s ninth consecutive day of recording zero new COVID-19 transmissions, prompting Premier Dan Andrews to announce a number of significant changes to the restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne.

Amongst the slate of changes came a key announcement many Melburnians have been anxiously awaiting regarding live music venues.

As of 11:59pm last night, Melbourne indoor entertainment venues, including music halls, concert halls and auditoriums, are allowed to open for a maximum of 20 people per space.

Restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels – including those that double as live music venues – can increase their capacity limit to 40 patrons inside and 70 outside, though the four-metre rule must be maintained indoors while social distancing of two-metres squared per person must be enforced in outdoor spaces.

Performers are excluded from venue caps but will be required to remain at least five metres from the audience and maintain a two metre distance between other performers at all times.

While many small live music venues have already stated that the capacity limits mean hosting gigs will not be financially viable, its a small but welcome step towards reviving the local live music industry.

The next key changes are scheduled to come into effect at midnight on Sunday November 22 and will allow Melbourne to relax the capacity limits for indoor entertainment, with seated venues allowed to open for a maximum of 100 people per space. However, the four-metre rule will apply and capacity will be capped at a maximum of 25 per cent.

As for outdoor live music events, venues will be allowed to host up to 500 people, subject to the four-metre rule and a 50 per cent capacity limit, when Melbourne moves to the next step of Victoria’s roadmap to reopening.

The new rules around indoor entertainment means cinemas, galleries and museums can reopen for 20 people per space, subject to density limits.

Yesterday’s announcement also brought huge changes for travel, home visits, physical recreation and more.

From today, Melbourne’s 25km travel limit and the ‘ring of steel’ have both been lifted. Overnight accommodation can now open with some restrictions.

Gyms and fitness studios can open for a maximum of 20 people per space, with one person per eight square metres.

Home visits are still capped at two people per day, but they can now be from different households and can visit at different times.

For more information, head to the DHHS website

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