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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Updated: ACT cinemas, theatres can have full capacity from next week

Canberra cinemas, movie theatres and indoor performance venues will be able to return to full capacity from next week, so long as they have fixed, front-facing and tiered seating.  

As the ACT’s COVID-19 restrictions ease further, venues like the Canberra Theatre, Llewellyn Hall and Erindale Theatre and cinemas will be able to operate at 100% capacity from 9am Wednesday 14 April – for the first time since the pandemic began.

Venues without a COVID safety plan endorsed by the Chief Health Officer will remain at 75% capacity.

“These are not huge [changes] but they will be significant for those businesses and venues that are affected,” said ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.

“Attendance at these venues will be the largest that it has been and the density will be the largest that it has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to continue to take the measures that will reduce the risk associated with those increased attendance numbers.”

ACT Health said in a statement that start, finish and interval times for venues with multiple performances should be staggered.

Gill Hugonnet from the Canberra Theatre said the capacity changes mean sustainability for the industry, jobs in the arts and confidence for the touring circuit.

“We have 64 productions on sale right now, and this announcement means that we can make 35,000 more seats available to those shows, meaning that most performances return to being financially viable.”

As well, COVID event protocols will also be updated to give guidance to live music venues in Canberra on how to safely host events and seek exemptions for larger audiences.

“We’re going to work very closely… with individual venues to understand their risks and ensure they have a COVID safe plan in place that will enable them to host live music events that are both safe and financially viable,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

The ACT once again recorded no new cases today, Thursday 8 April.

Ms Stephen-Smith said ACT Health officials have now administered more than 15,000 vaccinations at the Garran vaccination site.

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