Premier Steven Marshall says he’s “absolutely 100 per cent” certain a Liberal Party function at Adelaide Oval for up to 700 people will abide by all COVID-19 regulations.
Amid calls from the state opposition for the premier to step in and cancel the event, Mr Marshall says it must comply with all virus safety measures or face the consequences.
“Let’s be very clear, every single event in South Australia needs to abide by the very strict COVID-19 guidelines and rules,” Mr Marshall said on Thursday.
“We have rules in place and they must be adhered to, whether it’s a political event, whether its business event, whether it’s a community event.
“I’m absolutely, 100 per sure they will be followed this evening.”
Liberal officials have defended the gathering for the party’s state women’s council, saying the function would comply with all COVID-19 measures.
But opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said the gathering came at a time when tighter limits were being imposed on family gatherings, weddings and funerals.
He said many workplaces and organisations were also holding functions and events via video-conferencing to ensure they were doing their bit to keep the community safe.
“It is a very confusing message that the government is saying it is OK to have up to 700 people at a Liberal Party function but just 100 at a funeral or 100 at a wedding,” Mr Picton said.
“Steven Marshall should show some leadership and cancel this event now.”
Liberal state director Sascha Meldrum said the meeting would comply with all current COVID-19 restrictions in SA
She said organisers would follow an SA Health-approved COVID safe management plan, with only one person to every two square metres, while social distancing and hygiene requirements would be in place.
“The same rules apply to the Liberal Party as anyone else,” Ms Meldrum said.
But the gathering comes as SA grapples with a small cluster of new coronavirus infections and as officials are reviewing the state’s density rules, with the potential for the two square metre requirement to be increased.
That was largely thought to be in response to a puzzling infection identified in a woman in her 20s, who had no history of travel and no known contact to other COVID-19 cases.
The case has since turned out to be a false positive result, easing fears of new community transmission in Adelaide.
SA has just eight active coronavirus cases.