The boss of Merrigong Theatre Company says the easing of pandemic restrictions to allow greater capacity at theatres, cinemas and concert halls is "a step in the right direction", but it won't do much to help their finances.
A public health order came into force at the start of October allows certain entertainment venues to increase their capacities to the lesser of 50 per cent or 1000 patrons.
Artistic director and CEO, Simon Hinton, said it's not a huge increase to what their previous restrictions were (calculated on floor space and type of venue), but it was an "acknowledgment" the performing arts were doing it tough.
"The government has certainly progressed in its understanding of the particular needs of the industry and how badly the industry has been [affected by the pandemic]," he said.
"The whole sector is probably concerned about next year, particularly when we get to the end of Jobkeeper altogether.
"If we still have 50 per cent venue capacities in place all through next year, and we have no Jobkeeper support, then its going to be a very tough year."
In July, the not-for-profit projections showed a likely $4 million downturn in revenue by the end of this calendar year.
Mr Hinton said they are currently working with three levels of government on what support might be available, as well as logistical ideas (such as theatre in outdoor settings) that will help bring their audiences back.
Meantime, Wollongong Art Gallery has welcomed more patrons this October with a return of seated events like artist talks, exhibition openings, guest speakers, workshops and tours.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the gallery was taking steps to ensure all visitors could enjoy the experience and stay safe.
"The Gallery has been open since July, and we're now able to return to offering our face to face programs," he said.
"This is good news for those wanting a deeper engagement with the current and future exhibitions."
Wollongong Art Gallery is currently displaying five exhibitions including Fabrications which includes a work by world renowned artist Christo, Wollongong Then and Now by Pamela Griffith, Come to Me without a Word by local artist Anita Johnson Larkin, Every Body works from the Wollongong Art Gallery collection and a Community Access Gallery exhibition from Aspect South Coast School by artists with autism.
It comes as federal government is conducting a parliamentary inquiry into the benefits and impact of the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts is creating a report on Australia's creative and cultural industries and institutions and is currently accepting submissions including via an online survey.
Anyone can have their say via the survey, or email a submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.