Video of scores of carefree revellers dancing to bongos at a Gold Coast park has been lambasted on social media, prompting suggestions of double-standards from some in the hospitality industry.
The footage, which is circulating on Facebook, shows dozens of people gathered at a coastal park in Burleigh Heads on Sunday evening and appears to show attendees ignoring coronavirus restrictions and social distancing directives.
People can be seen waving their arms in the air as a woman shakes a tambourine and fire twirlers perform in the background.
A Queensland Police spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the gathering was shut down at 10pm under the Noise Abatement Act and police are now assessing video from the scene to determine whether further action will be taken.
“Police are reviewing video captured in the area to identify those involved and any possible breaches to the Queensland Chief Health Officer’s public health directions,” the spokesperson said.
Current restrictions on the Gold Coast mean private and public gatherings are capped at 10 people, with individual fines of $1334 for breaching restrictions.
‘Mosh pit by the beach’
Local hospitality worker Kenny Damaschke, who works 100 metres from where the gathering took place, told Yahoo News Australia he could hear the exuberant scenes from his venue last night.
“They’re there every Sunday night,” he said.
“It’s pretty unfair. We are limited to strict capacities, have to do check-ins with everyone and stop our guests from dancing, but you can go out and get in a mosh pit by the beach.”
The Queensland Police spokesperson said police are regularly patrolling the area to ensure the public complies with current restrictions.
Current hospitality restrictions mean venues smaller than 200 square metres can have a maximum of 50 seated guests under a one patron per two square metres rule.
Venues above 200 square metres can have one seated patron per four square metres.
Hospitality fines for breaching COVID-19 public health directions sit at $6672.
The video was shared by Christian Avant, the owner of Milky Lane burger restaurant chain which operates two Queensland venues, in Brisbane’s Newstead and the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise.
The enraged restaurateur criticised a “different set of rules for different scenarios” and called on the Queensland government to allow the hospitality industry to “have a piece of the pie too”.
“We’ve probably lost $500,000 to $1 million in potential revenue due to the limitations during COVID. I have friends that own bars, clubs and venues where if one single person dances or stands up, you get a heavy fine,” he wrote on Facebook.
“But hundreds of people dancing side by side to bongos in a park gets past every current law and rule set by the Queensland government.”
Other Facebook users hit out at the actions, with one person labelling the gathering as “stupid”.
“There will be new cases from this,” another said.
“Disgraceful behaviour,” one person wrote.
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