TIME is running out for agricultural shows who are in a fight for survival, so Tasmanian Country is mounting a Save Our Shows campaign calling for the Government to lift nonsensical restrictions.
Shows and events remain in the dark and are yet to be given a lifeline after the Government’s latest revisions to Covid event policy.
Rural shows and events face the real danger of folding, never to return, unless the Government sits up and takes notice.
Once a show or event is postponed it is so much harder for it to return. The latest offer contained no discernible reward from the state’s vaccination progress and low infection rate.
Tasmania has a nonsensible limit of 5000 per session – Victoria, NSW and Queensland have none.
Sarah Courtney, Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, announced that restrictions on patron caps for indoor and outdoor drinking, as well as dancing will be lifted “on the basis that patrons and staff are fully vaccinated”.
Our rural shows are held outside but still face limits.
The announcement, which takes effect from December 6 for patrons and December 15 for staff, is a major step in returning events to normality.
This sentiment mirrors the restrictions being lifted across Australia, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, who have in the past week lifted all restrictions on events, so long as attending patrons are fully vaccinated.
However, limitations on event capacity remain. It is those limitations of capacity that are so financially damaging to Tasmanian events, as previously voiced by Scott Gadd, President of Tasmanian Agricultural Shows.
Now Agfest has shifted its dates to August because of the limits.
“The Falls Festival, Launceston’s Festivale and the Hobart Summer Festival are just recent examples of how Tasmania’s health restrictions are regulating local events out of existence,”
Mr Gadd told Tasmanian Country last week. Following the recent policy update, Mr Gadd voiced his confusion at the imbalance of the policy.
“I have asked how the waterfront, CBD and North Hobart are any different to an outdoor event,” he said.
“Over summer the whole place will be full of people, including Covid-carrying tourists, free ranging around the streets with absolutely no controls whatsoever. “At least at events we have QR codes and ticketing.”
Currently, only ‘seated’ venues can host more than 5000 people, with events like agricultural shows being limited.
With the incoming Covid-19 digital-certificate rules allowing only vaccinated attendees into events, there are strong grounds to question the need to need to limit capacities at all, considering the current rules in place in Australia’s worst-affected states.