In-person events are seeing a positive surge in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, as state borders have reopened and lockdowns are lifted.
In Queensland, events at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) last month included conferences, business meetings, school graduations and formals and a 250-person fundraising lunch.
For example, the School Business Managers’ Association, Queensland state conference held from October 13-16. The event attracted over 600 participants and included plenary sessions, masterclasses, catering, an exhibition, daily themed dinners and a gala awards event.
The Local Government Association Queensland Conference ran next from October 19-21 and welcomed over 500 delegates and 85 exhibitors.
Clients were required to operate under the Centre’s approved Covid safe plan while onsite. The plan covers conditions of entry, record keeping, social distancing, deliveries, food service, team wellbeing and event-specific requirements.
“There’s no denying that there’s a lot of additional work required on our side to host events at the venue at the moment – from extra deep cleaning, COVID marshalling, labour-intensive food preparation and service to traffic, flow, messaging and record-keeping,” said Adrienne Readings, general manager, GCCEC.
“However, the response to these events has been overwhelmingly positive from all stakeholders and it’s really encouraging to see people back meeting and networking at the Centre,” she continued.
For the remainder of the year, the Centre will host several graduations, formals, networking breakfasts, two more conferences and Christmas events.
Over in neighbouring New South Wales (NSW), the state’s Department of Health has given the go-ahead for exhibitions to restart immediately.
Claudia Sagripanti, Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s chief executive said: “In NSW, the Department of Health has provided clarification this week that exhibitions, can operate with no capacity limit, subject to one person per four square metres of space and 1.5-metre social distancing. This means our industry is open for business in most states around Australia.”
The clarification issued in the Public Health Order for Gathering and Movement allows all Function Centres (which includes ‘Exhibition Centres”) with a Covid-19 Safety Plan to operate at the four square metre rule to the venue capacity.
NSW’s world-class venues have commenced planning for the safe return of exhibitions, with a number of events confirmed to take place from early 2021.
Conferences, at this stage, remain subject to NSW Government capacity limits of 300 persons per event.