The only Queenslanders still allowed to dance

 

 

ONLY strippers and people at aerobics classes may dance in public, as nightclubs are warned they'll be shut down if there's a repeat of heaving dance floors this weekend.

An official edict to bars and clubs has warned them to expec­t fines from Friday as compliance officers get ready to enforce Queensland's official dance ban.

Liquor and Gaming Commissioner Victoria Thomson has written an email to club owners telling them the relaxing of stage-three restrictions last Friday was not a "return to business as usual".

Video vision of nightclubs in Fortitude Valley busy with partygoers enjoying the reopening of nightclubs. Picture: Channel 9
Video vision of nightclubs in Fortitude Valley busy with partygoers enjoying the reopening of nightclubs. Picture: Channel 9

"After restrictions eased on Friday 3 July, we saw disappointing images streamed across media of patrons dancing in licensed venues," Ms Thomson wrote. "This was also witnessed firsthand at some venues when our compliance officers visited.

"Such breaches are taken very seriously and are current­ly under investigation … Any repeat will risk the continued operation of nightclubs and nightclub activities under the Stage 3 eased restric­tions."

Video vision of nightclubs in Fortitude Valley. Picture: Channel 9
Video vision of nightclubs in Fortitude Valley. Picture: Channel 9

Dancefloor videos were viewed this week by police, who have now turned the investigatio­n over to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regul­ation. Ms Thomson, who said she had been asked by Queensland Health to write to businesses on behalf of Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, said COVID Safe plans meant that "dancing is not permitted anywhere" within licensed venues.

She said the only exceptions where dancing was expressly permitted included "for an adult entertainment performance, with physical distancing between the performer and the patron" or "to facilitate a structured exercise class".

Adult entertainment and exercise classes are the only exceptions to Queensland’s dance ban. Picture: iStock
Adult entertainment and exercise classes are the only exceptions to Queensland’s dance ban. Picture: iStock

Ms Thomson said compli­ance officers would not hesit­ate to issue $6670 fines against those breaching COVID Safe requirements.

"We've seen across the world and interstate how easily coronavirus spreads, especially in close social­ settings," she said. "Operating in a way that encourages mingling and close contact between patrons not only puts your venue at risk of a hefty fine, but possible closure­ if health authorities are required to manage a potential outbreak that occurred at your business."

Clubs have been told to make it clear dancing is off-limits by increasing their secur­ity presence near the dancefloor, placing tables and chairs in the area, using obvious barriers and signage and getting the DJ to discourage it.

The weekend scenes drew condemnation from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who had urged patrons to be happy sitting, listening to the music.

Originally published as The only Queenslanders still allowed to dance