AA CEO Dean Long said: “The accommodation, tourism, events and hospitality sectors were the first to be impacted by COVID-19 and all research indicates that we will be the last to recover. Businesses have been suffering for too long in Victoria and it’s time the Victorian Government implemented a safe framework that helps build confidence and drive demand.
“The measures outlined by the Victorian Tourism industry will help achieve this and assist with recovery. It’s time for a more commonsense approach that strikes a better balance. The reality is that unless this happens sooner rather than later, more businesses including hotels and accommodation providers will be forced to shut their doors for good.”
The industry group said it was clear Victoria could not reach the benchmarks the Andrews Government set in its roadmap and it was time for a new approach. It comes as leading epidemiologists agree the current standards are unachievable and the World Health Organisation’s special envoy on COVID-19, Dr David Nabarro, says lockdowns should not be used as a primary method of controlling COVID-19.
Industry leaders have undertaken a detailed review of gradual reopenings underway in NSW, SA and QLD, and have put forward an alternative roadmap for Victoria to allow business to resume operations under strict safety controls.
Victoria’s tourism industry is calling on Government to:
- Remove the unachievable target of a rolling 14-day average of 5 new cases a day and adopt a hard reopening date of 1 November
- Allow visitor economy businesses to reopen from 1 November with strict conditions including COVIDSafe Plans, density and distancing quotients and patron caps
- Commit to reviewing quotients and caps on the first day of every month and adjust up or down depending on infection trends, giving business a clear path back to COVID-normal operations
- Introduce COVID Marshals to facilitate re-opening of business. Based on the South Australian model, COVID Marshals are employees dedicated to ensuring operations comply with COVIDSafe Plans and regulations
- Require patrons to provide all information necessary to support DHHS contact tracing. This may include the use of QR Codes, apps, or proof of ID requirements, all of which are used effectively interstate. A consistent state-wide approach is preferred by industry to ensure the most effective health and safety outcomes
- Remove restrictions on movement especially the 25km as it is not part of any advice from any other medical professionals
- Allow industry peak bodies to liaise directly with DHHS to help assess and manage risk as Victorians return to normal life
Within the industry’s proposed framework:
- Indoor dining would be permitted at the next easing of restrictions with a cap of 10 people seated indoors per space – with up to two spaces per venue (for a maximum of 20 customers), with the four square metre rule applied. Groups must be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart, and tables must be cleaned after every customer and the details of all customers must be kept. Cleaning, signage and record keeping requirements apply
- Business events would operate with up to 50 people from 1 November, including venue staff, hosts and delegates, subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule, and subject to the business registering as COVID Safe and having an approved COVID Safe Plan. If these processes are managed properly with no impact to new case monitoring, look to increase to 100 by 1 December
- Open-air attractions and outdoor venues would operate subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule within the expanse of their total footprint and subject to the business registering as COVID Safe and having an approved COVID Safe Plan
The Victorian Government COVIDSafe principles, including wearing a mask, staying home when sick or unwell, physical distancing (1.5 metres) and good hand hygiene would continue to apply.