As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to worsen around the country, and particularly here in Sydney, drastic measures have been implemented to keep the community safe. As of 9am Wednesday, March 18 Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government enacted a policy which has seen all “non-essential indoor public gatherings of greater than 100 and outdoor gatherings of greater than 500” prohibited. A decision which has had severe impacts across the arts and entertainment industries.
According to a press release from the website, I Lost My Gig Australia which is a website set up by various entertainment industry bodies, the total lost income from cancelled events as of March 17 sat at $100 million with 65,000 job opportunities lost and over 380,000 individuals impacted by the cancellation of upwards of 20,000 events across the country. These numbers are only set to rise as the weeks progress.
On Tuesday the Federal Minister For the Arts, Paul Fletcher met with entertainment representatives via teleconference and released the following statement.
“It is clear that COVID-19 presents significant issues for our arts organisations – and like all Australians, they are showing great community spirit in calmly and efficiently dealing with the circumstances they are facing in the near-term so we can come through this challenging period”
Minister Fletcher also reiterated that businesses in the entertainment and creative fields are entitled to the cash flow assistance which were announced in last week’s $17.6 billion stimulus package. Under this program, small to medium businesses can receive support to help them to continue to pay employees, up to a maximum of $25,000.
In regards to the events and venues which have announced cancellations so far the following are most notable;
Other events have currently only postponed their dates;
It’s important to note though that it’s not all doom and gloom for Sydney’s entertainment scene. A number of wonderful venues are remaining open and implementing extra precautions to keep attendees, performers and staff safe and healthy.
“These new restrictions will have a HUGE impact as an independent pro wrestler,” explained PWA wrestler Steph De Lander. However, De Lander also sees this time as an opportunity to hone her craft, “I’m kind of viewing this the same way I did when I was out with an injury… if this is a time where wrestling is taken away for a little bit, I should try and use it to get creative and find ways to still be working on my brand in a non-physical sense.”
For comedian Sam Wade the community spirit of the arts scene will help pull him.
“I have a bunch of really good people around me, and most of them are trying to get through this together. We have to look out for each other, now more than ever!”
The public can show their support for the creative and live music industries in a number of ways. They can donate to Support Act – a charity delivering crisis relief to music industry workers. They can stream, share and buy music by Australian artists, buy their merchandise, or just reach out to people in the industry to make sure they are okay.
If you or someone you know needs support, there is help available:
Support Act Helpline: 1800 959 500
Lifeline Hotline: 13 11 14 or text their helpline on 0477 13 11 14