A teeny typo in the roadmap released by the Victorian government on Sunday has turned into a massive fuck-around for the entertainment industry, after it was accidentally announced that venues would be able to reopen with indoor capacities when the state’s lockdown ends on Friday.
When the eased restrictions were released over the weekend, a now-deleted tweet from Premier Dan Andrews‘ account reportedly said that “pubs, clubs, and entertainment venues” would be able to open up to 20 fully-vaxxed people indoors. The same messaging was published on the Department of Health website, as part of the Victorian roadmap.
However, it turned out the inclusion of entertainment venues was a mistake. They won’t be allowed to reopen until the state hits 80% fully vaccinated.
In Tuesday morning’s presser, Andrews apologised for the error, said the typo was fixed “within hours” of being published, and stressed it’s not a big wait between the two milestones.
“And they know that it’s frustrating, everyone would like to be open at the one time 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.”
For the brief time the roadmap typo was published, venues had already began to hit the ground running. Kyran Wheatley – who co-owns Melbourne’s Comedy Republic with Alex Dyson and Rhys Nicholson – told the ABC the venue had already sold out eight separate shows that were set to kick off from this Friday, when lockdown ends.
“It was just a small crack in the door, 20 people just enough to put your fingers in, and it feels like they’ve slammed that door shut on our fingers,” he said.
The state’s slight slip-up has now meant that the Comedy Republic team will likely have to reschedule or refund all of those shows, as well as manage staff who had readjusted their second vaccine appointments and even travelled back to Melbourne from interstate to get the venue back up and running.
Following the announcement of the state’s roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday, the wider Victorian music community has penned an open letter to the government, in a bid to get a lifeline for the industry that feels like it’s not much more than an afterthought.
The Save Our Scene campaign is asking the Victorian government for a staged roadmap to get venues back to 100% capacity, ongoing financial support to venues throughout that time, and for direct consultation with venues to plan how to recover the industry in a post-lockdown world.
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“Victoria’s famous music scene is on the brink of collapse and there’s no relief in sight,” the open letter reads.
“We are calling on the Victorian Government to step in and save our proud music culture by preserving the venues where artists play.
“Without government intervention, many of the venues you love will be forced to close the doors permanently.”
At the time of writing, the campaign has notched up over 18,000 signatures, and has sent over 2000 emails to state government representatives, including Dan Andrews.Image: Getty Images / Darrian Traynor