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Industry resigned to ongoing lockdown closures

Industry resigned to ongoing lockdown closures
August 18, 2021

Expanding measures to combat the spread of the Delta variant over recent days have seen lockdowns measures introduced across NSW, the closure of playgrounds in Melbourne and New Zealand entering a lockdown after one active case.

In NSW, the exploding number of cases has seen the lockdown that first applied in Greater Sydney expanded to the entire, resulting in a slow down of the economy and business closures.

Venting his frustration at people making “shitty choices” resulting in new cases Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday introduced stricter measures to control Melbourne’s worsening COVID-19 outbreak, including a curfew, the closure of playgrounds and a two-week extension of the city’s lockdown.

New Zealand’s nationwide lockdown is understood to be linked to a traveller from Sydney who entered the country's hotel quarantine system earlier this month. 

Lockdowns have also been introduced in the ACT, Northern Territory and in the Cairns region, although much of the rest of Queensland, other than the south east of the state, is currently is free from restrictions.

Event Uncertainty
As a result, events and cancelled, facilities are closed and businesses across the leisure industry are being impacted.

With events being rescheduled to next year, the most high profile casualty has been Bluesfest in Byron Bay with its rescheduled October dates now “postponed” to April 2022 – in a move that is effectively a cancellation as no festival will be held this year.

In addition, industry events are been rescheduled or moved entirely online, with Australasian Leisure Management understanding that the organisers of the new FITNESS + WELLNESS AUSTRALIA trade show are relocating the event, due to be staged at ICC Sydney in November to 23rd and 24th March next year dues to “current Government restrictions and COVID cases … creating uncertainty”.

Considerable uncertainty also surrounds the status of major tours by international acts Guns N' Roses and Kiss in the last quarter of the year.

Seen as being key to rebooting Australia’s live performance industry, promoters, who have already sold hundreds of thousands of tickets for the nationwide performances, are desperately trying to salvage the tours.

However, at this time, it appears likely that both acts will postpone their tours to 2022.

While there has been no confirmation of the postponement, Kiss's longtime Australian promoter Andrew McManus told media “I’m moving the Kiss tour dates. I have to.

“Within the current (COVID) guidelines the government is purporting, most shows and tours will move back to 2022.

“There is no way you can run a tour properly at the moment.”

Commenting on the overall impact, promoter Michael Chugg has suggested Australian authorities “won't let international bands in until next year”, noting “every week we’re having to cancel and move tours, and it’s been going on for months. It’s a crazy mess

Resigned to our Fate
Perhaps the most remarkable and saddening aspect of the current closure is that the leisure industry appears to have accepted that the closing down of its activities are inevitable, with no statements objecting to the current lockdown from bodies such as Fitness Australia, Live Performance Australia and Vic Active, each of whom have been active during past lockdowns.

Images: Bluesfest will not be held this year (top), the FITNESS + WELLNESS AUSTRALIA show has been postponed to next year (middle) and uncertainty surrounds Kiss' planned tour scheduled for later this year (below).

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4th August 2021 - ATEC supports COVID vaccinations to prevent more lockdowns and reopen the economy

30th July 2021 - Australia’s lockdowns to end once 80% of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19

28th July 2021 - Unvaccinated Australians could be barred from festivals, theatres and sport and entertainment venues

20th July 2021 - Victorian performing arts community launches advertisement backing COVID-19 vaccinations

22nd July 2021 - Huge industry support for FITNESS + WELLNESS AUSTRALIA in Sydney in November

22nd July 2021 - With live events an important part of life, Australians crave the return of international artists

21st July 2021 - Fitness Australia calls for ‘JobKeeper 2.0’ as Coronavirus lockdowns widen

9th July 2021 - COVID uncertainty sees FILEX face-to-face events postponed to 2022

8th July 2021 - VMA says Australia getting vaccinated is the key to live entertainment industry’s road to recovery

3rd July 2021 - Fitness Australia invites input on industry trends survey

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4th May 2021 - Inconsistent capacity rules between entertainment and sport inflict further damage on live music

19th March 2021 - Live Performance Australia calls for 100% capacity in all live entertainment venues


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