Let’s dance: Nightclub operators call for ban lift
Venues in Townsville want local MPs to win more freedoms for regional areas including removing the COVID-19 ban on people dancing.
The president of the Townsville Safe Night Precinct, Heritage Exchange bar operator Emmanuel Bogiatzis, said the ban on dancing, rules requiring people to sit and restrictions on gatherings, including 4sq m rule, were causing frustration and tension.
"It's difficult because we are so limited in what our capacity is. Most venues are probably running around 30 per cent capacity," Mr Bogiatzis said.
"The fact we have gone back to patrons having to sit as well is causing a few dramas and a bit of tension because we gave them the freedom of being able to stand and we took that away from them.
"Obviously no dancing is giving headaches as well for traders."
Mr Bogiatzis was speaking as civic leaders praised the efforts of businesses, including nightclubs, in adopting an innovative website tool, safevisit.com.au, which uses a QR code so visits can be easily recorded via people's smart phones.
Mr Bogiatzis said the precinct's venues would be using the tool from this weekend but he questioned the support of local politicians in helping businesses in regional areas.
"Traders are feeling the frustration that we haven't had a case up here for probably three or four months and that we are so heavily scrutinised," Mr Bogiatzis said.
"Coffee shops don't seem to be as scrutinised as much as licensed venues. It's quite frustrating."
Mr Bogiatzis said a lot of the frustration was being directed at local politicians, they were not doing enough for regional Queensland.
"We feel that we should be isolated and we should be able to trade a little bit more freely than we are trading at the moment." He said traders had approached local MPs and nothing had been achieved. "We need something done," Mr Bogiatzis said.
Townsville Chamber of Commerce president Michele Falconieri acknowledged the difficulties of traders.
He wants every business in Townsville to use the safevisit.com.au tool to provide the contact tracing to track any cases and, hopefully, to contribute to an easing of restrictions.
"Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young has made it clear that we have to have a better way to contact trace before the Government can ease capacity restrictions on businesses," Mr Falconieri said.
Originally published as Let's dance: Nightclub operators call for ban lift