Re-instate dancing in South Australian music venues
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The government has forgotten about us.
On the 28th of November 2020 South Australia recorded its last case of community transmission of COVID-19, connected to the Parafield cluster. On Christmas Day, after 28 days of zero community transmission, WA opened its borders to SA. Now, a month later, at the tail end of January, we still experience many of the same restrictions that inhibit the performance and viability of many industries, despite the ongoing streak of zero community transmission since November 28.
The nightlife industry in South Australia is no exception, and has been decimated by COVID-19, with many working artists, promoters, venue owners, staff and management, having spent most of 2020 completely without an outlet to work, earn or connect with their communities. The current climate has allowed venues and their staff to return to work, with many artists and deejays having resumed residencies and gigs to seated crowds at reduced capacity venues. Despite our preparedness, responsible conduct in critical moments, and the introduction and enforcement of contact tracing across all South Australian venues, the same restrictions on dancing remain in place two months after the last recorded case of community transmission. 20004 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Victoria, compared with 596 cases in South Australia, but Victorians are dancing. 1302 cases have been recorded in Queensland, compared with 596 cases in South Australia, but Queenslanders are dancing - no more than 14 days after lockdown. It has been 67 days since South Australia exited lockdown.
In a sanction present in South Australia only, venues may introduce dancing into their venues by closing to the public, and hosting private, ticketed events. These are limited to 1 session per night, at the total of the club’s reduced capacity. Having to book a session is inoperable on a practical level for many of these businesses and the way they operate, and across an entire day of operation, 1 session is simply not enough business. No other state in the country has seen the need for such restrictions as mandatory QR code scanning has been deemed sufficient for contact tracing. The prevention of multiple sessions, and the limitation on public entry, present an unviable stance for many businesses to operate with the overheads that they have, and the revolving door of loyal patrons, artists and staff which they seek to serve. Many performers are faced with the dilemma of adapting to unfulfilling work, inconsistent hours, and the uncertainty about when their creative licence will return to them, to express, connect and cherish working experiences in Adelaide’s brick & mortar music venues, while patrons are expected to adapt and continue to uplift these businesses despite unfulfilling experiences of their own.
With Adelaide’s festival season approaching, the entire nightlife and hospitality sector (including events like The Adelaide Fringe, RCC and the Adelaide Festival) are perpetually responsible for upholding the enormous economic contributions of this period - a contribution that with the current restrictions in place, yields questions over South Australia’s future and reputation as "The Festival State."
South Australians have done the work, and now it's time that we are trusted and rewarded for our ongoing diligence. What do we have if we don’t have dancing?
We ask for a responsible re-instatement of dancing in South Australian music venues.
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