It was good while it lasted, Victoria: density limits are set to return to the state this week in an attempt to curb the rising COVID-19 case numbers. 

As Victoria recorded 21,997 new COVID cases, including six deaths, the government has decided to act. Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley has announced a density limit of one person per two square metres will come into effect again for indoor entertainment and hospitality venues from 11:59pm tonight, January 6th.

“We think this is a sensible change, particularly in the face of the continued huge growth in transmission, particularly amongst young people,” Foley said.

Indoor seated cinemas and theatres, however, will remain exempt from the density limit. “Yesterday’s formal figures, 40 per cent of those cases where people in their 20s and every indication is it’s overwhelmingly from hospitality and related environments,” he explained.

It’s the live music industry that yet again will face the consequences. While Foley insisted that Victorians had to learn to “coexist” with the virus, it’s not as simple as that for the music community. We’re nearing the two year point of the pandemic and the ever-changing rules on music venues is causing untold harm; the uncertainty is entirely unfair.

Some artists have already spoken out on the new density rules. “Hospitality and entertainment, once again, attacked by @VictorianLabor restrictions with nowhere near proper support. Once again we are failed, and this time by a party that uses the nightlife WE create, as part of its sales pitch. Money where your mouth is or shut the fuck up,” tweeted rapper Illy.

He made sure to note that it wasn’t a selfish attitude. “Fwiw, i have no shows in Victoria atm, this effects me directly only in the sense that heaps of mates do, and heaps more mates are crew/staff/venue owners/etc in vic.. who all stand to suffer. AGAIN,” he added.

Time will tell how long these new density limits will be in place. Let’s just hope that an industry that’s been up against for far too long can parry yet another setback.

For more on this topic, follow the Live Music Observer or the Travel Observer.

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