TNA attended a meeting with Creative Victoria on 6 Aug on the details of Stage 4 restrictions, and the impact on the arts and cultural sector workforce. The key learning is that some of the activities we were doing in Stage 3 are no longer allowed – including a single person going into the office to water plants, get the mail etc. There are much stricter rules in place now. Regional Victoria has moved to Stage 3, so some of the below is only relevant for Metropolitan Melbourne.
Summary of key points from the meeting:
Creative Victoria is continuing to work with the Minister’s office on budget bids to bolster our industry with further financial support, in addition to the $67m thus far secured. More non-creative sector funding (such as the $5,000/$10,000 business support) is also coming, including support for mental health and business advice.
The new Directions
The new work from home Directions are enforceable. If you are NOT on the permitted sectors list, you have to assume you are not permitted to work at a workplace. All of the arts and creative industries sectors are NOT permitted workplaces. Download the list here. There are some exemptions that might be granted, in which case you will need to seek a permit.
If you are completely working from home, or you are a worksite with fewer than 5 people (4 or fewer), then you don’t have to have a COVID-safe plan in place, but all other workplaces do, including those seeking exemptions and permits to attend the workplace for various allowed reasons. The recommendation in any case, is to start to develop a COVID-safe plan for when you do return, even if it is after this current lockdown. There are templates online to use, or you can develop your own if you have all the requirements. It doesn’t need to be approved formally, just has to abide by the guidelines. Read more about developing a COVID-safe plan.
We know that it will be hard to navigate all the information that is out there and to find out what you can and can’t do. But in a nutshell, it is unlikely that any of your planned work over the next six weeks would be counted as essential. This includes in person meetings, creative developments, or filming/recording for online content outside your home. This DHHS page has some FAQs that may provide some clarity. We urge you to use the time to rest, read and recharge, but we acknowledge that there may be feelings of frustration and despair.
Our colleagues at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Arts Wellbeing Collective have some great resources, including meditations to download.