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Guidelines for events and gatherings

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Northern Territory Government has implemented a staged lifting of restrictions.

The recommencement of events and public gatherings is founded upon physical distancing and hygiene principles to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19.

A public event is an event or public gathering that is ticketed or open to the public at a private location or a public place.

It is important that you keep informed about the Directions of the Chief Health Officer and any restrictions that relate to the types of activities that you may undertake.

There are different requirements depending on the size of your event.

  • Events with less than 100 people do not require completion of a checklist or safety plan, however the physical distancing and hygiene principles should still be considered and implemented.

  • Events and public gatherings of 100 to 500 people must complete a COVID-19 safety checklist.

    • Complete this checklist prior to the commencement of the event to demonstrate commitment to the key principles.
      • There are guidelines for events and gatherings that can help you prepare for your checklist.
    • You will receive a statement of commitment shortly after completing the checklist.
    • You may still be required to comply with other legislative requirements and processes that are relevant to holding events. It is recommended that you seek advice from your local environmental health office regarding the requirements  for food safety, toilet facilities, drinking water and waste management.

    Environmental Health Officers may visit the event to ensure you are meeting the requirements you committed to in the checklist.

  • Major events and public gatherings of over 500 people must submit a COVID-19 Event Safety Plan and receive formal approval from the Chief Health Officer prior to the event proceeding.

    • Read the guidelines below for information on what your COVID-19 Event Safety Plan should include.
    • Complete the COVID-19 Event Safety Plan form.
    • A case manager will assess your COVID-19 Event Safety Plan. You may be required to edit the plan or provide further detail.
    • Your plan will be submitted to the Chief Health Officer or authorised delegate for approval.
        If the Chief Health Officer does not approve your plan, you cannot proceed with the event.
    • If your plan is approved, you will receive a formal letter of approval and the event can proceed as planned.

    The organiser of the event must designate a person to be the COVID-19 safety supervisor.

    A person must not be designated as a COVID-19 safety supervisor unless the person has the skills and knowledge to implement the COVID-19 event safety plan.

    Evidence of the skills and knowledge of the COVID-19 safety supervisor must be given to an authorised officer on request by the officer.

    Environmental Health Officers may visit the event to ensure you are meeting your responsibilities as outlined in your COVID-19 Event Safety Plan.

    Please submit your plan for assessment two weeks prior to the planned event. The Department of Health may not be able to assess plans submitted outside of this timeframe.

    More information

    Email envirohealth@nt.gov.au if you wish to discuss your proposed event and COVID-19 Event Safety Plan.

  • Guidelines

    You should consider the following essential criteria when preparing for your event safety plan or checklist.

    Event details

    Provide key event details including (but not limited to):

    • Organising body, contact name and position, phone and email
    • Event title/s, event venue/s and location, time/s,  date/s (including ‘side’ events)
    • Event target group/s and expected number of attendees
    • Whether the event is likely to be attended by 500 or more people
    • Specify whether the event is indoor/outdoor/mixed.

    Management of interstate/international employees/performers

    Quarantine may apply for interstate or international arrivals. Read more about border control, quarantine and hot spots.

    Provide details about interstate/international employees, contractors and/or performers including:

    • How many employees, contractors and/or performers will be arriving from interstate for the event
    • If travel dates have been arranged to accommodate for the 14 day quarantine period in appropriate accommodation.

    Event emergency preparedness and response

    You will need to have plans in place to respond to if a person falls ill or is considered a suspect COVID-19 case during or after the event.  The Plan, at a minimum, should include information on:

    • The person/position within the organisation or at the event who is responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response.
    • Protocols for notifying health authorities of suspected COVID-19 cases.
    • Training and information to be provided to event staff and volunteers on the COVID-19 protocols.
    • What first aid services will be provided and equipped with PPE, outline the designated space to isolate a suspected case, and transport arrangements to a healthcare facility if required,
    • Protocol for notifying all attendees of potential exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, e.g. the event organiser may put a post out on their Facebook page after the fact.
    • Decision-making body and procedure for modifying, postponing or cancelling the event related to a COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Promoting the COVIDSafe App which assists contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 infected person attending the event.
    • Providing a system to allow for the collection of information to assist health authorities with contact tracing if and when required.

    Communication with staff, performers, volunteers and attendees

    You will need to ensure performers, staff, volunteers and attendees know what their responsibilities are and develop protocols to ensure they adhere to physical distancing requirements and health and hygiene principles. The COVID-19 Event Safety Plan should include information on:

    • How you will promote the principles when advertising ticket sales:
      • practice physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres between you and a person not known to you and keeping close contact to under 15 minutes
      • practice hand hygiene by washing your hands or using hand sanitiser
      • if feeling unwell stay home
      • downloading the COVIDSafe App.
    • How you will advise unwell staff, performers, volunteers and attendees who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, sore throat or tiredness) not to attend the event.
    • Consider refunds for non-attendance to encourage the unwell to stay home.
    • Protocols for directing unwell staff, performers, and volunteers to not attend the event.
    • How you will communicate with performers, staff, volunteers and attendees the principles of physical distancing and hygiene.
    • Who staff, performers, volunteers and attendees should contact if they become unwell during the event.
    • How you will encourage staff, performers, volunteers and attendees to download the COVIDSafe App to assist with contact tracing.
    • How will you collect and record contact details for all event attendees including name, phone and email, (e.g. prepaid ticketing system).

    Physical distancing during event

    You need to consider how activities, including arrival and departure from the event, will be managed in line with the COVID-19 physical distancing principles. The COVID-19 Event Safety Plan must consider and describe strategies to address the following requirements:

    • Establish separate entry and exit points. Consider width to allow for free movement, queue markings, provision of handwashing and sanitising stations.
    • Encourage pre purchase of tickets and/or increased ticket sellers.
    • Establish a cap on attendees to meet physical distancing requirements and how this will be managed for un-ticketed/open events.
    • Measures to encourage physical distancing of people while queuing for entry, activities or services and while participating in activities such as:
      • Ingress and egress across multiple areas of the event – e.g. avoid bottlenecks by allowing more time for seating before shows, more food and beverage outlets with increased spacing between them, options to bring food/drinks to the crowd.
      • Prevent attendees from crowding together at the beginning or at the end of the event.
      • Arrange seating so attendees of different groups are not seated face-to-face.
      • Place signage around the event to discourage attendees crowding together in any one area of the event.
      • Encourage attendees to remain 1.5 metres apart from other groups when moving through the event.
      • If there are times where attendees need to be closer than 1.5 metres apart, ensure the time spent in close contact is minimised with particular focus on minimising face-to-face close contact, which should be less than 15 minutes face to face.
    • Where distances of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained between people physical barriers may be used to help reduce the risk of transmission.
    • Consider food and beverage outlets and queueing.
    • Consider queueing and hygiene related to toilets.

    Hygiene practices

    You will need to provide training on hygiene practices to staff and volunteers and ensure they have access to sufficient hygiene supplies. Consideration should be given to:

    • How hygiene education/information will be delivered.
    • What hygiene supplies will be provided, where and how frequently they will be replenished. Staff, performers, contractors and volunteers should know to:
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water e.g. after going to the bathroom, after handling money, before and after eating and after touching face or hair.
    • Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose.
    • Wash hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser at the beginning of their shift and before commencing a new activity.
    • Not attend work if they are unwell.

    Attendees should be advised to:

    • Wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser on entering an event.
    • Frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser during the event.

    Cleaning and disinfecting

    You should develop a comprehensive cleaning schedule detailing how you will manage cleaning and disinfection of facilities and equipment:

    • High touch surfaces such as door handles, handrails and counters and shared facilities, including bathrooms, need to be frequently cleaned and disinfected frequently during the event.
    • A regular cleaning regime should be in place for all other areas within the event. Consider whether aspects of the Australian Government cleaning advice will add value to your cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
    • Cleaning between performers and performances.

    Cleaning products

    Use a disinfectant which the manufacturer claims can kill viruses. Chlorine-based (bleach) disinfectants are one product which is suitable. Read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and usage. Bleach solutions should be made fresh daily as they become less effective over time.

    The recommended concentration of available chlorine for routine disinfection of cleaned surfaces is 1000ppm as this concentration has been shown to be effective against the majority of microbial pathogens.

    Rubbish disposal

    The risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) when handling rubbish is low. Normal collection of rubbish for your event applies.

    The COVID-19 Event Safety Plan must describe how rubbish will be managed including compliance with the following hygiene practices:

    • Disposable gloves, masks, and other items should be placed in a separate rubbish bag before disposing of them with other domestic waste.
    • Hands should be washed with soap and water or use hand sanitiser immediately after handling these items.

    Payments

    Promote cashless payments. However, if cash is exchanged, wash hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser after handling money.

    Alcohol

    Consumption of alcohol can impede a person’s ability to maintain physical distancing.  Event organisers are encouraged to consider holding alcohol-free events.  If your event will include sale of alcohol, the Safety Plan must describe strategies such as additional security and public health presence to:

    • Proactively manage consumption.
    • Minimise physical interaction amongst inebriated people.

    Subcontractors

    Event organisers should ensure sub-contractors comply with the COVID-19 safe practices described in the Event Safety Plan. The Event Safety Plan must describe measures you will implement to ensure all businesses/organisations/suppliers involved in your event are aware of and will comply with physical distancing and hygiene principles.  This should include:

    • A statement of commitment all sub-contractors are governed by and will comply with your COVID-19 Event Safety Plan.
    • Confirm sighting of COVID-19 Safety checklists of any businesses or organisations participating in the event.