COVID-19 regulations that prohibit wedding guests from dancing but allow group sex at approved swinger clubs and adult parties should be reviewed, according to a member of the Gold Coast entertainment industry.
- Only the wedded couple and their parents are allowed to dance under Queensland’s coronavirus restrictions
- But sex clubs or planned sex parties, which may include group sex, are permitted under a COVID Safe Industry Plan
- Queensland Health says the plans balance its health response while “keeping life as normal as possible”
Wedding entertainer Nik Edser said “we have had so many bookings cancelled because of the dancing rules” and has called for the State Government to ease the restriction.
“The irony is if I was invited to a wedding this weekend to attend with my wife and I wanted to dance with her there, then I wouldn’t be allowed to,” he said.
“But if we decided to go to a sex club and swap partners with some people who we don’t know where they’re from or who they really are, that’s OK.”
The State Government’s COVID Safe Industry Plan for Sex on Premises Venues and Adult Parties considers such events as “high risk” and outlines mitigation strategies, such as record keeping and compliance with contact tracing.
Meanwhile, gatherings at homes or public spaces have been restricted to 10 people in Greater Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and 30 people elsewhere.
Harsher restrictions not the answer
Mr Edser said he originally took the no dancing rule “on the chin” but now thought they needed “to be lightened up” given Queensland’s low case numbers.
“[It’s] hurting photographers, celebrants, florists, stylists,” he said.
But rather than imposing harsher restrictions on sex-related activities, Mr Edser said “we just need to have that conversation and explore the options” for easing the dancing ban.
“I completely support the adult industry, I think it’s a necessary part of our society and community,” he said.
“They’re business owners just like us and they want to continue making their money and they’re entitled to do that. I don’t want to see this turn into them getting shutdown, hurting another business.”
Mr Edser said with Jobkeeper payments due to end in March 2021 and wedding bookings usually made at least six months in advance, “now is a really critical time” for the wedding industry.
“Once the restrictions on dancing are lifted, six months after that date is when I feel we’re going to be starting to come back again.”
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Not all people swing the same
‘John’ and ‘Jane’, who asked to remain anonymous, have been swinging for five years but stopped attending parties and private gatherings during Queensland’s coronavirus lockdown.
“But it’s not normal to see group sex, yes it happens, but I’m going to say that’s 10 or 20 per cent of what a swingers club would be.”
Jane said “the people we associate with are taking the virus quite seriously” and that a recent party within their circle of friends was cancelled over health concerns.
“One of the couples wasn’t well and said ‘Look, we don’t know what it is, we feel under the weather, so we’re not coming’,” she said.
John said they predominately attended private parties and were only one voice within a diverse community, but that “there are lots of functions going on right now”, with more than 60 listed on one of Australia’s largest swingers websites.
“If I had runny nose I wouldn’t go to an event regardless, even two years ago I wouldn’t go,” he said.
People ‘just want to dance’
A spokesperson for Queensland Health said planning for such specific circumstances “has been a unique challenge for health departments across the globe”.
“Queensland’s COVID Safe Plans are our best system to balance the health response necessary to keep our community safe with keeping life as normal as possible,” the spokesperson said.
“Those operating under COVID Safe Industry Plans or COVID Safe Checklists are aware of their roles and responsibilities in conducting business during a pandemic to prevent any uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.”
Nik Edser said he understood why social distancing measures were required considering some wedding clusters seen earlier in the pandemic, but that the State Government must consider an alternative to the outright ban on dancing.
Baker helps couples celebrate during coronavirus with fake wedding cakes
Under the COVID Safe Plan for wedding venues, cake used for ceremonial cutting should not be served to guests.
“I don’t know what that is but it just seems it’s a hard rule — no dancing, that’s it,” he said.
“When people want to dance, they’ll dance, and if we don’t give them a safe option, that’s the risk.”
Mr Edser said he had collected more than 300 signatures in an online petition to State Parliament.