Local event organisers are suggesting there could be a streamlined solution to getting government approval to host events during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to help put on more events during COVID-19, the state government released a framework last October to hold COVID-safe events in the community.
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The framework, which has been in force since December, created three levels of events and required events to have the plans assessed and approved prior to holding the event.
The level of an event is dependent on whether the event is held indoors or outdoors, will be seated or free-standing and whether it is held at one venue or spread at multiple sites. These factors impact how many people, including staff, can attend the event.
Allan Roark, coordinator at the Tasmanian Tomato and Garlic Festival, said getting approval for the upcoming event had been very labor-intensive.
"We kept getting conflicting reports from different departments saying 'we need this in your [submission]' and rather than the department saying 'we understand your festival, here's your COVID plan, do this and you're away' ... they don't want to take any responsibility," he said.
"I'd say we spent close to a 100 hours just making sure our event is COVID compliant and if you charge that through at an hourly rate ... there's a bill and a half."
Donald Potter, general manager at Motorsport Tasmania, said that the last event at Symmons Plains only received approval two days prior to the event taking place.
The Race Tasmania event was classified as a level three event under the COVID events framework. Mr Potter estimates he did about five submissions for the event prior to approval.
"Because it was the beginning of the year, it was pretty diabolical, everyone was pretty scared about signing off on anything," he said.
"It was no one's fault, you couldn't blame anyone because no one has been through this before and no one has ever tried to do what we're trying to do."
Mr Potter said he was understanding that due to the fluctuating nature of COVID restrictions and policies that organising events would take protracted periods.
"We were the first big event of the year, so I was pretty understanding, no one knew what to do or how to do it for the size of an event we were pushing for," he said.
"It was frustrating, it was a lot of double up but once you got onto the right people, they couldn't be more helpful ... they were awesome."
Mr Potter said in the end Motorsport Tasmania would be better for the experience as it they get ready to welcome the Supercars series in April and the Race Tasmania series in 2022.
Mr Roark said he felt the process could be streamlined to make organising an event for volunteers more accessible going forward.
"I think this whole thing could have been streamlined significantly and even if it was just people came out for a site visit and said 'run us through your event' ... and then sat down with you to make sure it was ready and compliant, it'd save a lot of heartache," he said.
"We're a fortnight out from the event, and we got the green light today (Thursday March 4) ... I was quite emotional when it came through cause just the amount of work that has gone through to get us over the line is quite incredible."
COVID restrictions are forcing some events to dig deeper into their pockets to ensure they have facilities which comply with the COVID standards.
While Motorsport Tasmania are still receiving the bills for holding their event earlier this year, Mr Potter said it was likely the event would not breakeven.
"It cost a lot of money to put on the events ... with the extra toilets, extra barriers , the cost was huge and we're not talking a few hundred dollars we're talking thousands."
"Just to comply it cost a lot of money ... we didn't breakeven ... it was successful for Tassie but financially it probably wasn't successful."
UPDATE (10/03/21): The story identified Allan Roark as speaking in his role with Carrick Speedway when he was speaking in his role with the Tasmanian Tomato and Garlic Festival. The story identified Carrick as a level 2 event when it was a level 3 event. The changes have been made to the story to reflect that.
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