MCEC closes, ICC Sydney bans large events until June

It comes as state governments enforce bans on gatherings of more than 500 people.

Australia’s convention centres are facing uncertain times, with at least one temporarily closing its doors due to COVID-19.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) announced on Monday 16 March 2020 it will temporarily close for four weeks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The decision was made in line with the Victorian Government’s declaration of a State of Emergency and its ban on all non-essential and static events of more than 500 people.

The centre is expected to reopen on 13 April 2020, however the decision will take into consideration any developments in the COVID-19 situation.

Peter King, MCEC chief executive, said it was a very difficult decision and one “we haven’t arrived at lightly”.

“Personally, I am devastated to be making it, as I know it will have an impact on our customers and our people,” he said.

“But as a business that brings people together we have a responsibility to do what we can to help support efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) will not hold any public events for 500 or more people from Monday 16 March to Thursday 14 June 2020, following the release of Public Health (COVID-19 Public Events) Order 2020.

In a statement, the centre said, “We are awaiting further official guidance from both Federal and State Government and will continue to respond and update here accordingly.”

“The safety and wellbeing of ICC Sydney’s clients, visitors and employees is of paramount importance and remains our top priority.

“ICC Sydney is closely monitoring the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and advice provided by the Australian Government Department of Health.”

More updates to come.

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