As Minister for the Arts, I welcome today’s news, on advice from Public Health, that more people will be able to attend theatre and concert venues, cinemas and similar entertainment venues across Tasmania.

This is great news and a huge step forward for our local arts and creative industry. Our Government, along with Public Health, will work closely with venues to ensure as many Tasmanians as possible can enjoy our local productions and events in a COVID-safe way.

We have been working closely with Public Health on a pathway for a safe return to theatre productions as close to full capacity as possible. However, increasing the number of people must be done carefully and safely.

The assessment and approval of larger events or venue operations in accordance with the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania will still be required, however for an indoor event of more than 250 people with fixed seating in a venue like a theatre, the number of patrons permitted will now be up to 75 per cent of the fixed seating capacity.

If filling 75 per cent of the seats means the density will be more than 1 person per 2 square metres, patrons and staff must wear a facemask, unless they are exempt for medical reasons.

While it may feel a bit different for a while, Tasmanians should be prepared if they are going to an indoor entertainment venue where there are likely to be more than 250 people, that they may need to wear a facemask and follow advice at the venue. Performers and children under 12 years of age will not be required to wear a mask.

Our Government understands the importance of Tasmania’s cultural and creative sector and that’s why the 2020-21 State Budget included $4 million in new additional funding for the sector over the next two years. Plus, I am confident today’s announcement will be welcomed news for Tasmania’s cultural and creative sector.