Council Events and Events Held at Council Venues

Last update:
23 March 2020, 13:57

Council will be following the advice of the Australian Government and Queensland Health for its own events. Council is liaising with event organisers and encourages them to also follow and implement recommended risk mitigation measures as directed by the Australian Government and Queensland Health. Assistance will be provided to re-schedule events and event permits to a suitable future date where required.

Council acknowledges that on Friday, 13 March 2020 Australia's Chief Medical Officer recommended mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled from Monday, 16 March 2020.

Council acknowledges that on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 Australia's Chief Medical Officer recommended non-essential indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people (including staff) will no longer be permitted from Wednesday, 18 March 2020.

Council acknowledges that on Friday, 20 March 2020 Australia's Chief Medical Officer provided further clarification regarding non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people (including staff) to take affect from Friday, 20 March 2020 with clarification regarding social distancing requirements. 

Council acknowledges that on Sunday, 22 March 2020 Australia's Prime Minister with Australia's Chief Medical Officer provided further clarification regarding non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people (including staff) to take affect from 12:00pm Monday, 23 March 2020.

Prime Minister and Australia's Chief Medical Officer advice details are listed below.

In accordance with the above advice, the following Council public events have been postponed to a date to be advised or cancelled:

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Updated: 23 March 2020, 13:15

(Source: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-220320)

Places of social gathering

National Cabinet agreed to move to more widespread restrictions on social gatherings.

Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings, to be reviewed on a monthly basis.

Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.

The following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues 
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.

Other facilities are not impacted, but will be considered under stage 2 restrictions, if necessary.

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

Leaders noted that these enhanced measures build on existing measures to slow the virus and save lives:

  • No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.
  • All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.
  • Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • Avoid non essential travel
  • Restrictions on entering aged care homes to protect older Australians

Leaders acknowledged that these new restrictions will change the way we live and expressed deep regret for those business owners and employees who will be impacted. The goal is to reduce the spread of the virus, to flatten the curve and to save the lives of fellow Australians.

State Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed they would give effect to these restrictions through their own legislative processes and make announcements accordingly.

Premiers and Chief Ministers will consider further Stage 2 restrictions if social distancing measures are not adhered to.

Statement on schools

All leaders agreed that children should go to school tomorrow. Leaders agreed that we cannot see children lose an entire year of their education as a result of school closures caused by COVID-19.

Leaders committed to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice that says that it is safe to keep schools open.

Leaders also thanked all teachers and school staff for their support.

State Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed that schools will remain open through to the end of the current school terms to support students whose parents choose to send their children to school. Victoria’s school break will commence on Tuesday 24 March 2020.

All Leaders have committed to re-open schools at the end of the school break, subject to the advice of the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee.

If parents choose to keep their children home from school, parents must be responsible for the conduct of the children and to ensure they adhere to the social distancing arrangements in place. Parents must be aware that while the majority of adults who contract COVID-19 have mild forms of the virus, the elderly or those with co-morbidities can have more significant symptoms.

Schools will be encouraged to provide access to online and distance learning.


Update was current at 23 March 13:15

(Source:https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-coronavirus-covid-19-statement-on-22-march-2020)

Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) coronavirus (COVID-19) 

A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further short term social distancing measures

National Cabinet has asked AHPPC for advice on options for the progressive scale up of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. There was a specific request to look at stronger measures in relation to non-essential gatherings initially, followed by furthermore intense options. The Cabinet has further asked for the triggers for introduction of stronger measures, either as a focal response or nationally.

The first thousand cases

We now have 1,000 cases and we are clearly concerned at the rate of rise in cases and potential trajectory. Without diminishing the significance of the rise in case numbers, it is worth noting that the situation with our first 1,000 is somewhat different to that of other countries such as Italy and the USA when they were at 1,000.  Please refer to the charts and table below.

More than half our cases are still imported from overseas or their direct contacts.  We have one of the lowest COVID-19 test positivity rates in the world (0.9% compared to USA 13%, UK 5% and even ROK 3%). We have had only 7 deaths, all in people aged 75 or over and so far, less than 20 people have needed ICU treatment.  This suggests that we do not have as large a proportion of undetected cases in the population, as was likely the case in the USA, Italy and other countries. Our early detection and control work was effective.


Updated was current at 20 March 2020, 17:13

(Source: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert)

Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) coronavirus (COVID-19) 

A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Recommendation on public gatherings

General Population – Indoor Gatherings

Non-essential indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people will no longer be permitted. Risk mitigation should be applied to gatherings of fewer than 100 people including the following:

  • In a given occupied space, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.
  • Availability of hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.
  • Promotion of the Department of Health recommendations for unwell individuals to isolate at home and not attend.
  • For settings where there is ongoing movement and an increased number of interactions between individuals, an individual’s attendance should be less than two hours duration.
  • For settings that are primarily static such as theatres, restaurants, cinemas, sporting events, an individual’s attendance should be limited to four hours duration.

Examples:

  • Cinemas and theatres to implement decreased density of patrons, which could include alternate seating, staggered seating and alternate rows, except for family groups who may be seated together.
  • Seated restaurants may need to undertake a significant capacity reduction in order to meet the above density requirements.
  • Weddings and funerals will need larger spaces, staggered attendance or a reduced number of attendees to meet the above density requirements.
  • A symphony orchestra or choir will need to consider the measures mentioned above and amend practices to comply with recommendations.

Safe food and utensil handling statement for catering

The primary transmission route for COVID-19 is person-to-person; it may therefore be transmitted via utensils or plates that have been handled by someone who has COVID-19.

  • For catering, advise staff if they feel unwell to stay at home, and deny entry to staff who are unwell.
  • All food, including pre-packaged foods such as boxed lunches, should be prepared by staff trained in safe food handling practices.
    • Ensure hand washing facilities are accessible for staff and supplied with adequate soap and paper towels.

Social venues, pubs, clubs and nightclubs

The total number of people in a venue, including staff, must be fewer than 100 per uninterrupted space and the four square metres per individual rule must apply.

Gyms and indoor fitness activities

Settings like gyms and indoor fitness centres are not required to close at this time providing they meet these requirements for social distancing and hand hygiene. Such venues should take actions to ensure regular high standards of environmental cleaning take place.

Transport

All Australians should reconsider the need for unnecessary travel. If unwell, people must stay at home, unless seeking medical care.

Domestic air travel

The risk of acquiring COVID-19 on planes is low. However, in order to minimise the spread of infection over long distances, unnecessary travel should be reconsidered.

Public transport (trains, trams, buses, ferries)

Most public transport is considered essential, however employers should strongly consider offering staggered work times and remote working arrangements to employees to reduce the risk of overcrowding at peak traffic times. Operators should consider increasing the frequency of transport options to reduce passenger density.

Operators should increase the frequency of cleaning, particularly of those surfaces that are frequent touch points. Commuters must practise hand hygiene, which should also be promoted on vehicles and at transport hubs.

Long distance bus or train services pose a higher risk, and should be reconsidered if not essential. The Spirit of Tasmania ferries are regarded as essential transport.

Taxis and ride share vehicles

If possible, passengers should sit in the back seat, and hand sanitisers should be available for passengers and drivers to utilise. The air conditioner/heating setting should be set to external airflow, as opposed to recycled.

Transport of vulnerable populations

Mass transport of vulnerable people, including the elderly, should be avoided or have risk mitigation strategies implemented, such as seating people at a greater distance from one another.

General Population – Outdoor Events

Outdoor events of fewer than 500 attendees may proceed. There are general measures that all events should follow.

  • In a given occupied space, there must be no more than one person per four square metres of ground space.
  • Availability of hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.
  • Promotion of the Department of Health recommendations for unwell individuals to isolate at home and not attend.

Food markets are exempt from the 500 person limit, however must undertake additional measures, such as control of patronage level numbers or stall density reduction to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Special exemptions for limitations on indoor and outdoor gatherings

There may be other gatherings that are not specifically mentioned here that are considered essential. It is at the discretion of the individual state and territory Chief Health Officers or equivalent to assess each on their merits, and determine whether they can continue if mitigated by social distancing measures.

The development of any guideline requires continual re-evaluation and amendments or new guidelines may be released as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to progress.

Early learning and childcare

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee met on Wednesday 18 March to consider the issue of childcare centre closures in relation to the community transmission of COVID‑19. The Committee’s advice is that pre‑emptive closures are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time.

There is currently limited information on the contribution of children to transmission of COVID-19. The WHO-China Joint Mission noted the primary role of household transmission and observed that children tended to be infected by adults in the household.  In China, 2.4% of total reported cases were under the age of 19 years. Worldwide, of those cases under 19 years of age, very few were severe or critical. This contrasts distinctly with the severity pattern observed with other respiratory viruses, where young children are particularly at risk of severe disease. AHPPC will continuously review emerging evidence of COVID-19 in children to inform public health policy.

Previous studies suggest that the potential reduction in community transmission from pre‑emptive school and childcare closures may be offset by the care arrangements that are in place for children who are not at school. Children may require care from older carers who are more vulnerable to severe disease, or may continue to associate (and transmit infection) outside of school settings.

Broadly, the health evidence on school closures from previous respiratory epidemics shows the costs are often underestimated and the benefits are overestimated. This may be even more so in relation to COVID-19 as, unlike influenza, the impact on otherwise healthy children has been minimal to date.

AHPPC considers childcare centres are essential services and should continue at this time, but with risk mitigation measures in place. These should include:

  • exclusion of unwell staff, children and visitors,
  • reduce mixing of children by separating cohorts (including the staggering of meal and play times),
  • enhanced personal hygiene for children, staff and parents
  • full adherence to the NHMRC childcare cleaning guidelines
  • excursions other than to local parks should be discouraged
  • influenza vaccination for children, staff and parents

There may need to be consideration of alternative arrangements for highly vulnerable children. AHPPC recommends these parents seek medical advice.

 

Previous update replaced: Thursday, 19 March 2020 15:30