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Unvaccinated Australians could be barred from festivals, theatres and sport and entertainment venues
Australians could be banned from concerts, festivals, performing arts and sporting venues unless they get vaccinated under a 'no jab, no entry policy' being suggested by promoters and venue owners.
As reported today by the Mail Online and Melbourne’s Sun-Herald, promoters Live Nation, Chugg Entertainment and Andrew Macmanus, along with Melbourne theatre operator Marriner Group are backing the policy.
With the Australian arts and live performance industry having suffered massive losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group are reported to be backing the introduction of vaccine passports could be trialled as soon as enough of the population are inoculated to make it viable.
The report suggests that, after a number of spreading events during Premiership fixtures, the AFL is also considers forcing fans to be vaccinated before entering venues.
As reported by the Mail Online, those backing vaccine passports argue they “are essential for the survival of the music and arts industry after theatre and music venues took the biggest hit during Melbourne's five lockdowns, with bans on crowds and audiences to continue for another fortnight.”
Vaccine passports, which are already implemented in many countries overseas, grant an entry pass for people who can prove they have been vaccinated.
The Federal Government is currently understood to be developing an app that will contain vaccination details of Australians as part of moves to enable the eventual return of international travel, such technology could also be applied for domestic use.
This was confirmed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month who advised that vaccine passports would be introduced as part of the Federal Government’s four-step plan out of COVID lockdowns - building on vaccination certificate information that is already available through MyGov and Medicare.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also flagged potential greater freedoms for residents, including access to major events, if they are fully vaccinated.
Premier Andrews also said vaccinated fans being able to attend AFL games would be part of a wider initiative to incentivise people to get the jab, advising “once we've got many, many more people with the jab, we can then have a discussion about what that might mean for them, freedom of movement, changes that deal with some of the risks we face.”
Advising that 'no jab, no entry' policies have been “very effective” overseas, Live Nation Asia-Pacific President, Roger Field told the Herald Sun “we need to work with government and start trialling these and other initiatives here in order for the industry to get back on its feet.”
Veteran promoter Michael Chugg also believes vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic for an industry trying to stay afloat as tours face weekly cancellations or rescheduling, adding “vaccine passports need to happen.
“Unless everyone comes together on this, we're just going keep dealing with this crap.”
Music promoter Andrew Macmanus told the Herald Sun he also supported the idea of the vaccine passport, suggesting those who disagree “don’t come to the concert. Stand outside”.
However, Live Performance Australia (LPA), which has lobbied over the past 16 months for a timetable for venues to reopen, is currently undecided on the matter but LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson advised the association is “looking closely” at vaccine passports models overseas.
Nonetheless, she acknowledged that the current situation for the sector is “dire”, adding that hopes of the concert and festival touring recovering later this year had been “blown out of the water” by the most recent lockdowns.
PricewaterhouseCoopers this month found the Australian music industry shrank by 39% last year - a loss of around $700 million.
Australasian Leisure Management has advocated for vaccine passports to be adopted by the industry, even extending to aquatic and fitness facilities to require them for member and user access.
Images: A vaccine passport app as used for international travel in Europe and the Middle East (top, credit: Joe Cusamano) and Live Nation Asia-Pacific President Roger Field (below).
13th July 2021 - Vaccine Passport could be on Phones by December
20th June 2021 - Vaccines to play a key role in leisure industry recovery
11th November 2020 - Art experience promoter slams Governments for not releasing committed arts funding
14th October 2020 - Live entertainment industry counts the cost of COVID
11th April 2019 - AEG Ogden welcomes Gudinski and Chugg to its global family
1st April 2017 - Promoter Andrew McManus spared jail time in suitcase drug money case
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