Large events could soon return to Canberra during the warmer months under new COVID-safe protocols outlined by ACT Health.
While large events with more than 100 people are not permitted under the ACT’s recovery plan, the territory government said it was considering providing exemptions to larger events when certain criteria to manage the risk of coronavirus could be met.
Any event with more than 100 people in attendance would need to get an exemption from the ACT’s chief health officer to go ahead.
As part of the new protocols, three risk of levels have been outlined.
Class A events would cover low-risk events of up to 100 people.
While those do not require an exemption to get the green light, one would be issued only if there is an aspect of the event that does not comply with current public health directions.
Class B would cover mid-level risk events of between 101 and 500 people. This would require a sign off from the chief health officer.
The third tier, class C, would cover high-risk events of 500 people or more.
An ACT Health spokesman said those events would need to be considered by a special committee, which would provide a recommendation to the chief health officer as to whether to grant an exemption.
Large-scale events such as Summernats have said they were looking to go ahead early next year with coronavirus protocols in place.
However, many staples of the Canberra cultural calendar such as The Canberra Times Marathon Festival or Carols by Candlelight have had to scrap events entirely or move online due to COVID restrictions.
The ACT Health spokesman said all event organisers would need to have a COVID-safe plan in place, regardless of the event’s size.
“The new protocol outlines how public community events for more than 100 people at public venues can be held while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place and how to see the necessary exemptions,” the spokesman said.
“The ACT government is supporting the process of returning events to the ACT in a COVID-safe way.
“This reflects the continued good position which Canberra is experiencing, with more than 10 weeks since our last diagnosed case of COVID-19.”
Health officials have urged for private events such as house parties to comply with existing restrictions and limit attendance to 100 people.
Exemptions can be sought for private events in exceptional circumstances.