Arts events, programs and travel

We advise all artists and arts organisations to continue to monitor the advice from our Government. Advice has been published from the Chief Medical Officer is available here.

There is currently no indication to delay or postpone arts events in Australia. However, given our globally connected sector, we are seeing sector challenges escalate daily, as many of our planned gatherings and events are being postponed, international participation is being reduced, tours are cancelled and audiences are impacted.

You may wish to consider deferring or cancelling non-essential, large-scale productions/events. Consider alternate formats for delivering these works.


For advice regarding hosting events in your state:

  • NSW On 20 March 2020 the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard MP, made an Order under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) to prohibit mass gatherings. On 23 March 2020 the Minister made a further order that directs the closure of certain places of social gathering Further details
  • QLD Self-quarantine for persons arriving in Queensland from overseas Further details 
  • SA We are urging members of the public who attended the following venues visited by a potentially infectious tour group, to monitor themselves for symptoms, and isolate and seek testing if symptoms develop. Further details 
  • VIC A State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria from 16 March 2020 until midnight on 13 April 2020 to combat coronavirus (COVID-19).  Further details  
  • WA The WA Government has announced that Stage 3 restrictions will be in place after 11:59pm Tuesday, 31 March 2020. Further details
  • TAS The Department of Health is preparing for further cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tasmania, and healthcare workers are on high alert for potential cases. Further details 
  • ACT ACT Health is undertaking thorough contact tracing but can confirm that three (3) of the new cases are linked to overseas travel, two (2) are close contacts of confirmed cases and one (1) is currently under investigation by Health Protection Services. Further details
  • NT Restrictions on social gatherings have been implemented and will be reviewed on a monthly basis. Interstate travel restrictions have been implemented. Further details 

Support measures from the Australian Tax Office to assist those affected by COVID-19

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced it will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Preparing for Potential Impact of the COVID-19

Across the world, many public gatherings including performances, institutions and festivals have been cancelled, postponed or shuttered to help limit the spread of the COVID-19.  

However, you should have a plan in the event that, in the interest of public health, your organisation needs to delay or cancel events or temporary close. 

Ensure you have an up-to-date shut-down protocol. Individuals should be aware of their specific responsibilities and processes, including data backup, safe shutdown of IT and other equipment; securing/protecting any assets that require regular attention or are of value (including cash and sensitive artwork); and have a clear protocol to sweep the facility and ensure everyone is out before locking it down.

If you do need to temporarily close, ensure you have a  What to Take When You Evacuate checklist. This checklist suggests what your staff should plan to take with them if you have to leave your facility on short notice, to be able to continue to work and communicate.  

Review cancellation and work stoppage policies with staff during a special meeting. Ensure you have a contact process for staff/volunteers/artists/Board members so that, in the event of needing to change an event or temporarily shut down your facility, each individual is reached with the news, and aware they must respond back to confirm they know the organisation’s status. WhatsApp groups or group text can be particularly effective.

Make sure you have a current and clear event cancellations/closure policy - will you refund tickets, reschedule, or not? Does everyone on staff know your policy? How will you be in touch with your audience?

Review all performance contracts to understand your financial liability if you decide to cancel performances. Prepare a financial liability statement for the Board. 

Increasing the preventative recommendations to protect your organisation/venue/event:

  • Put additional hand-sanitising stations in foyers, event spaces and bathrooms, and make wipes available for people to use on armrests, if the surface is wood or metal. 
  • Inform all staff and volunteers to limit contact with audience members - look at the tickets rather than taking them and handing them back. 
  • Maintain hand hygiene – wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and/or use hand sanitiser frequently.
  • Social distancing from anyone coughing or sneezing (at least a metre), and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth (transmission of contamination).
  • Avoid unnecessary contact (try the foot tap or elbow bump instead of shaking hands).
  • Respiratory etiquette – covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when sneezing, coughing; dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • Being conscious of recent travel and interaction with others who have recently travelled.
  • Restrict the number of entrances at your premise to a minimal.
  • Maintain a visitors’ log of individuals (name and contact number) entering your premises.

On a bigger scale, here’s the WHO post on mass gatherings: Key planning recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak-World Health Organization. 

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