South West theatre and cinema goers are set to benefit from the State Government’s announcement of an exemption to the 2sqm rule for venues hosting seated events. The Bunbury Lyric Theatre is set to be a major beneficiary,with its capacity set to be increased from 80 to 126, just in time for the Bunbury Musical Comedy Group’s 60th birthday show. The announcement came on Monday at the same time phase four of the State’s COVID-19 recovery was extended further, with the exemptions set to stimulate these businesses and fast track their recovery. BMCG director Maureen Eaton said the exemptions would bring a significant increase to the group’s income. “This is a big boost to our income, because we haven’t had any income for the past five months,” she said. “We own the theatre and we still have to pay our bills, we are not subsidised at all ... so it really is a big boost for us and all entertainment venues. We just don’t have the income if we can’t do any shows.” Despite being indoors, seated venues were deemed to be a lower risk. Health Minister Roger Cook said the exemptions would help relieve these businesses. “Our Government recognises that, even though WA is streets ahead of other States when it comes to easing restrictions, some sectors are not able to operate at full capacity,” he said. “That’s why, on the advice of the chief health officer, we can increase capacity at selected seated venues, such as theatres, concert halls and performing arts centres.” The changes come into effect on midnight Friday and the BMCG show Magical Musical Memories begins at 2pm on Sunday.