Melbourne entertainment venues who planned on opening indoors from Friday have had their hopes dashed by a “typo”.
When Victoria’s COVID-19 roadmap changes were unveiled on Sunday, a document shared by Premier Daniel Andrews’ official Twitter account said pubs, clubs and entertainment venues would open to up to 20 double-dosed people from 11.59pm on Thursday.
But an updated version notes only pubs and clubs are permitted to have patrons indoors, while entertainment venues can host up to 50 outdoors.
As the state reported a further 1749 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths on Tuesday, Andrews confirmed the “typo” was rectified within hours but the inaccurate document remains on his social media page.
Entertainment venues will only be allowed to 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.
Confusion surrounds COVID-19 rule changes for Victorian entertainment venues. Credit: AP
“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 comedians Kyran Wheatley, Rhys Nicholson and Alex Dyson, is now dealing with the typo fallout.
The Melbourne CBD venue’s COVID-19 marshal discovered the document change after it had already scheduled eight shows, which sold out.
The owners are worried they will have to refund $4000 in tickets and staff members had moved states and vaccine appointments for the work.
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‘Talk about kicking us when we’re down.’
“It’s the first proper income we’ve had in months,” Wheatley told AAP.
The former ABC 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.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media during a press conference. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE
While he agrees Victoria can’t open up everything at once, Wheatley maintains restrictions will still remain unviable for many venues when the state moves to a density limit of one person per four square metres, saying that would only be 15 per cent of his venue’s capacity.
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 7NEWS.com.au.
“I flip between being really upset and really angry about it.”
Simon Thewlis from Save Victorian Events agrees 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.