In an ordinary year, Chris Neal's staging company would be busy working behind the scenes at festivals, concerts, corporate events and musicals.
While some work is starting to dribble back in after it came to a halt due to the pandemic, thousands of dollars of sound, lighting and staging equipment is sitting idle in his Queanbeyan warehouse as the number of patrons at cultural events remains restricted.
Mr Neal was scratching his head as crowds flooded into the NRL preliminary final in Brisbane on Friday night and questioning why crowds of up to 40,000 were allowed for major sport events while music events remain stunted.
"It's very controversial whether everything should open up or whether it should lock down," he said.
"I don't firmly have a view on what should be happening because I'm not an expert in that field.
"I just don't think that it's okay that sports can have very large gatherings."
Mr Neal said while he was happy that sports fans were able to return to stadiums, the lifted restrictions didn't go far enough to revive the entertainment sector.
He started his business Eclipse Lighting and Sound 21 years ago out of his parents' garage and has grown it to the point where he has 104 casual staff on the books.
His usual gigs include the Manly Jazz Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Folk Festival and musicals - all of which have been cancelled.
"As far as work that actually allows our business to stand financially self-sufficiently and be able to pay all that overhead and be able to actually support our staff, there's nowhere near enough work coming in," Mr Neal said.
In NSW, some Sydney stadiums are allowed to fill the seats to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 40,000 people for major sporting events.
Meanwhile, the latest rules allow up to 500 people to attend outdoor seated music performances and rehearsals while abiding by four square metre rule.
In the ACT, large theatres and outdoor grandstands can sell tickets to 50 per cent capacity up to 1000 people. Canberra Stadium and Manuka Oval can have crowds to 50 per cent capacity for any type of event.
An ACT Health spokeswoman said the two stadiums were able to support larger crowds because they were outdoor venues with tiered seating where everyone faces the same directions.
She said so far 46 ACT events have been granted an exemption under the COVID Safe Event Protocol and that all types of events were treated with the same level of priority.
When asked whether the NSW government had prioritised sport over the arts, NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said, "we continue to work with NSW Health and industry bodies including the music and arts community to find ways to operate and expand capacity in a COVID-Safe way".