A cap of 500 people will apply to major events held on public land in Noosa, at least until February, as Council looks to protect the community from COVID-19 outbreaks.
Councillors, at a special meeting today, unanimously backed a cautious approach to managing large-scale events.
Mayor Clare Stewart said Council was committed to ensuring major iconic events such as the Noosa Tri still had a future, and would revisit the decision in February.
“As hard as it is to put a cap on major events, keeping our community safe remains our top priority while we continue to see outbreaks of the virus around the country,” she said.
“We have an older community – around a quarter of our residents are retirement age. We know the virus poses a significant risk to the older age group, which is all the more reason for us to take a cautious approach.”
The Mayor said Council also had to consider public liability insurance implications and the reputational risk to Noosa if an outbreak was to occur at a Council sanctioned event.
“Council issues the permits and so we are accountable - the buck and the risk stops with us,” she said.
“We’ll continue to work with our major event organisers and do all we can to ensure they’re able to return bigger and better than before, on the other side of this pandemic.”
Cr Stewart said it was important Council took a long-term view, with a slow and steady approach to economic recovery.
“Our businesses have certainly done it tough this year, but an outbreak, and a return of restrictions, could prove a massive setback for our local economy.
“The negative economic impact of an outbreak far outweighs any benefit we might see from the short-term economic boost a major event may offer.”
Council will also establish a COVID-19 reference group to consider upcoming event issues. The reference group will review and make decisions about event permit applications.
It will also develop a risk-based framework and assessment criteria, as well as review the success of COVID-safe event plans, both in Noosa and other areas.