Rules ‘typo’ vexes Melbourne entertainment

Melbourne entertainment venues planning on opening indoors this weekend have had their hopes dashed by a “typo”.

When Victoria’s updated COVID-19 roadmap was unveiled on Sunday, a document shared by Premier Daniel Andrews in a tweet said pubs, clubs and entertainment venues would open to up to 20 double-dosed people from 11.59pm on Thursday.

But an updated version scrapped indoor entertainment, only allowing up to 50 people outdoors.

Mr Andrews blamed a “typo”, saying it was corrected within hours but the inaccurate document wasn’t removed from his Twitter until Tuesday afternoon.

The premier clarified entertainment venues could open at 80 per cent double vaccination coverage.

“I apologise if there’s any sense that a sector has been included that shouldn’t have been,” he told reporters.

“But we’re not talking about a three-month gap between one milestone and the next. It is literally eight or nine days and then we can have everything open.”

Comedy Republic, run by Kyran Wheatley, Rhys Nicholson and Alex Dyson, is now dealing with the fallout.

The Melbourne CBD venue’s COVID-19 marshal discovered the document change after it had already scheduled eight shows, which sold out.

They will now have to cancel the shows, unless allowed to shift into the bar area.

“We have other shows next weekend so we can’t reschedule. That’s $5000 revenue for the premier to say ‘oh, it’s just a typo, don’t worry about it’,” Mr Wheatley told AAP.

The former Triple J presenter said the error was emblematic of the ongoing disrespect for the entertainment industry, one of the hardest hit during the pandemic.

“Talk about kicking us when we’re down,” he said.

“They cracked open the door to do just a whisper of a show and then slam the door shut quietly the next day.”

While he agrees Victoria can’t open everything at once, Mr Wheatley maintains restrictions will remain unviable for many venues including his own when the state moves to a density limit of one person per four square metres.

Susan Ryman-Kiernan, managing director of events company Wise Connections, said they would usually run a dozen large events in Victoria every year, but have had to repeatedly reschedule and has been frustrated with the lack of consultation.

“It’s people’s lives at stake, it’s brutal what they are doing,” she told AAP.

Simon Thewlis from Save Victorian Events believes the industry is an afterthought.

“We are the events state and yet here we are … people don’t know if they can run an event or not,” he said.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said it might be a mistake to the premier’s office, but it would cost small businesses “a lot of money”.

Meanwhile, the state government has reiterated hospitality staff must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when the city’s pubs and restaurants reopen, despite authorised workers only currently needing to have their first jab or a booking to get it by Friday.

“If I have got to be double-dosed to sit down and order a beer or a glass of wine … the person who is serving me needs to be double-dosed also,” Mr Andrews said.

He is warning unvaccinated Victorians they could be locked out of hospitality venues and major events such as Formula One Grand Prix well into 2022.

Victoria reported a further 1749 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths on Tuesday.

The state continues to inch closer to its 70 per cent vaccination reopening target, with 68 per cent of people over 16 now having both doses.

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