Bizarre ban is like rain on your wedding day
QUEENSLAND weddings are being threatened by a bizarre State Government dancing ban that threatens to cost jobs, even as the state finally opens up today for parties, pubs and play.
From midday today, Queenslanders will be allowed to host a house party with 100 guests, enjoy a beer at the bar, play the pokies and head to the footy as part of bigger crowds.
And while weddings are now allowed with 100 guests, there's confusion about whether any will actually go ahead due to a dancefloor debacle.
The Queensland Government has ruled dancing off-limits to all wedding guests, except the bride and groom and their parents - although they were initially also banned from hitting the D-floor.
The confusing decision has stoked fears couples will cancel upcoming nuptials, with many considering dancing an integral part of tying the knot.
Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lambert said allowing weddings but banning these "sacred moments" was confusing and would have a devastating flow-on effect.
"It puts Queensland operators in a position where they have to reschedule and refund deposits as so many couples see dancing as a deal breaker when going ahead with their wedding," he said.
"This is a sector that is on its knees and needs to be given every opportunity to recover - a ban on dancing only means they keep suffering for longer."
The Australian Bridal Industry Academy reports the Queensland wedding industry and tourism will lose more than $620 million by the end of August.
And if restrictions continue until November, that number will jump by an estimated $285 million.
Owner of event space The Joinery in Brisbane's West End and catering business Chez Nous Penny Culpo said banning dancing was "ridiculous" and was having a detrimental impact on her business.
"It's inhibiting us from getting any bookings," Mrs Culpo said.
"People don't want to book a wedding when they can't have a dance floor."
She said it was another blow for the industry that had already been "decimated" by COVID-19 lockdowns.
"I'm scared; I don't know where it's going to end. I'm hoping and praying things will change," she said.
Ms Culpo said her business had switched to offering takeaways, making portioned take-home meals and challenge meals for gyms, plus running pop-up restaurants, including a Greek souvla sizzle tomorrow, to try to stay afloat. But she begged for the rules to be changed so business could return to normal.
"They (the Government) have to do something because people's livelihoods are at risk," she said.
"We just want the weddings back and for people to come back and celebrate and dance."
Popular Gold Coast wedding destination Eagle Heights Mountain Resort has 20 weddings booked in the next six months, and owner Theresa Poots said trying to stop people from dancing would be near impossible.
"It's going to be hard for us to police it. It's not workable really," she said.
"When they've had a few drinks and they want to dance, how are we going to stop them?
"If they're (the Government) going to make that rule, they have to outline how it's going to be managed."
She said the protocols required to uphold the bizarre dancing restriction and the threat of fines if guests did not obey them almost made holding weddings not worth the risk.
"At a private house they're allowing gatherings up to people 100 with family and friends so if we're having everyone in our private function room, why can't that room be classified as a private house?" she said.
After initial restrictions also prevented the bride and groom from dancing at their own wedding, Health Minister Mr Steven Miles said he was pleased with the change to allow newlyweds to celebrate with a bridal waltz.
"I know plenty of Queenslanders have put their weddings off until it's safe to have a proper reception," he said.
"And although we can't let large groups onto the dance floor just yet, I'm pleased the Chief Health Officer has agreed newlyweds can dance together again."
However Restaurant and Catering Australia believes more can be done.
"Once we get final confirmation of the new arrangements from the Chief Health Officer, Restaurant and Catering Australia will submit the wedding industry plan for approval to ensure weddings can operate under stage 3 restrictions," Mr Lambert said.
Originally published as Bizarre ban is like rain on your wedding day