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COVID conundrum - sex parties are legal, but bridal waltz is banned

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A Gold Coast wedding entertainer wants the State Government to review regulations that allow group sex parties, but prohibit wedding guests from dancing.

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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.

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

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. “Weddings are a private event where I feel it should be allowed between family and friends.”

But rather than imposing harsher restrictions on sex-related activities, 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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

“I don’t know what that is but it just seems it’s a hard rule — no dancing, that’s it,” he said. “I believe there’s probably still many weddings where they just don’t care, they’re probably still dancing anyway.

“When people want to dance, they’ll dance, and if we don’t give them a safe option, that’s the risk.”

Edser said he had collected more than 300 signatures in an online petition to State Parliament.

– ABC / Dominic Cansdale

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