A musical theater in Napier is not requiring Covid-19 vaccine passes from patrons attending performances of fewer than 50 people, as it claims the events are gatherings held in a private venue.
The Paisley Stage lounge bar practice caught the attention of WorkSafe, which said it was reviewing the business for compliance with My Vaccine Pass.
As part of the Covid-19 protection, in the orange and red environments, companies that do not require vaccination certificates cannot organize events, but can organize small gatherings.
Covid-19 legislation defines events as “the normal operations in cinemas, theatres, stadiums, concert halls, conference rooms, casinos and private galleries”.
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The framework states that gatherings of up to 50 people in a business can only take place when someone has rented a defined space within the premises for exclusive use. Otherwise, normal company rules would apply, he says.
If my vaccine passes are required from customers, events and gatherings can go ahead with no limit on numbers.
Paisley Stage, a registered company, advertised some concerts on its Facebook page as not requiring vaccine certificates because they are “a gathering of 50”.
One such event takes place on Saturday evening with tickets costing $10 to see three artists perform.
For concerts at the Paisley Stage with more than 50 people, vaccine passes were required, according to his Facebook page.
He also said on his Facebook page that he leaves it up to the performing artists to decide whether vaccine passes are used for events with fewer than 50 people.
Tickets are sold out for the events, but it’s unclear whether Paisley Stage hires the performers or whether the performers rent the venue privately.
Another article from early December said police went to the business to investigate after a complaint was received.
He said that after discussions with the police and the authorities, it was established that it was a private place and not a public bar.
That meant he could hold gatherings without vaccine certificates if he stuck to a 50-person limit, he said.
“We refuse to contribute to dividing society and while this option is not financially beneficial, money is not our motivation, people and inclusion are,” the post reads.
When Things asked the police what had been agreed with Paisley Stage, a police spokeswoman said it was about WorkSafe rather than the police.
Paisley Stage was incorporated in 2017 and is owned by Lucy and James Rouchester.
Its website says it hosts a range of musical and artistic acts and offers a place to listen to music and relax with a cool drink.
Asked by Things if he intended to introduce a vaccine pass requirement for events with fewer than 50 people, James Rouchester said: ‘We would have no reason to.
He didn’t say if the venue sold food and drink.
The chief executive of the New Zealand Events Association, Ségolène de Fontenay, said that if established the venue hosted gatherings and not events, it could accommodate up to 50 people based on a distance of a meter and mandatory record keeping so that participants can be contacted if necessary.
She said the Covid-19 protection framework had been difficult and at times difficult for event professionals to interpret.
WorkSafe said it encourages people to report concerns about My Vaccine Pass compliance here.
Last month, martial arts center Oliver MMA was ordered to pay $12,000 for allowing unvaccinated staff to continue working there, in what was the first Covid-related financial penalty imposed by WorkSafe.
WorkSafe has also issued violation notices worth $20,000 to Christchurch restaurant The Lotus-Heart for failing to meet Covid-19 requirements.
WorkSafe has said in the past that it takes an “educate first” approach when working with companies to ensure they have a good understanding of their requirements.