It's been 279 days without a locally acquired COVID case in Tasmania. But things still aren't "back to normal".
Things are good here in Tassie. Public Health have done a great job at keeping Tasmanians safe during the pandemic, and we're now at the point where events can happen again.
But not all events are back at 100 per cent capacity, and it's letting down businesses who need them to survive.
I had a site at Agfest last week. Rural Youth did a great job of making sure every site had COVID plans and hand sanitiser, and everyone used the Tas Check-In app.
That job was made a fair bit easier, mind you, because the numbers for each day were capped at 10,000 people.
What most people don't realise is that the 10,000 cap included the 3000 or so staff on the ground.
So really, there were only 6000 - 7000 patrons maximum through the gate each day. That's two people for every one exhibitor.
I tell you, some businesses were really feeling the lack of people. Some of them told me they'd struggle to make back the money they'd spent on their site and all the other costs that go with it.
Rural Youth pushed hard to raise the cap to 15,000 and Public Health said no.
Why is it Victoria can manage almost 80,000 people at the crowded footy game in Melbourne, but Tasmania can't handle 15,000 in a paddock at Agfest?
In Sydney, they held the Royal Easter Show just four months after the major Christmas COVID outbreak. They had 800,000 people through the gates over 12 days. It was capped at 60,000 people a day.
Tasmanians are looking around at the rest of Australia and wondering what the problem is here.
We need to have these events at full capacity, so that businesses can get back on their feet and communities can feel alive.
When you haven't had a local COVID case in nine months, what's the marker that says we're "safe" again?
To Public Health I say this: We're grateful to you. We understand why you're cautious. But we need to be able to live and get things back on track.
After everything we've been through, Tasmanians deserve that.
- Jacqui Lambie is a Senator for Tasmania