Nighclubs are set to open on Friday but no dancing will be allowed. Image: Harry Bruce
Nighclubs are set to open on Friday but no dancing will be allowed. Image: Harry Bruce

Airlie clubs hit out at Premier’s call to sit down

AIRLIE Beach is famous for many things: sandy beaches, tropical weather and incredible night-life.

But an evening out on the town will soon look very different as clubs, bars and pubs reopen under eased restrictions this week.

From noon tomorrow, nightclubs and casinos will be allowed to reopen their doors with COVID-Safe plans, and punters will be allowed to play the pokies again.

However, no dancing will be allowed with Annastacia Palaszczuk instead telling partygoers they “can listen to the music” while seated.

Patrons are limited to one per 4sq m, and for smaller venues below 200sq m, businesses can have one person per 2sq m up to 50 persons at a time.

Kirstie Boyes and Joanne Franz from Paddy's Shenanigans prior to the lockdowns. The venue reopened yesterday. Image: Deborah Friend.
Kirstie Boyes and Joanne Franz from Paddy's Shenanigans prior to the lockdowns. The venue reopened yesterday. Image: Deborah Friend.

Paddy’s Shenanigans bar manager Callum Wootten said the restrictions would be difficult to monitor and would create a different atmosphere to the typically packed venue.

The Irish bar reopened for the first time in more than three months Wednesday night, but new restrictions will limit it from returning to full force.

“(People) are not allowed to get up and dance, they literally have to stay seated, which is a bit annoying in a nightclub,” Mr Wootten said.

“You can dance as long as your bottom doesn’t leave the seat.”

Mr Wootten said it was difficult to tell whether people would embrace a seated Shenanigans.

However, the venue will push on with live music in the meantime, which Mr Wootten said partygoers could enjoy “from the comfort of their chairs until things ease up”.

Further down Main St at Beaches Bar and Grill, there were similar concerns as to how limits would work in practice.

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Beach’s general manager Joel Salmon said he had shut up shop for more than 13 weeks, saying it was not worth reopening until larger numbers were allowed.

The bar will reopen tomorrow night, however Mr Salmon predicted it would only reach about 60 per cent capacity.

“We’re a backpacker bar so we lost a massive chunk of our market,” he said.

“There just won’t be enough traffic in town warranting enough dollars in the till to stay open late.”

Mr Salmon considered Beaches more of a pub than a club, but said the restrictions would be felt in his venue along with others across Airlie Beach.

“We’re still restricted in some areas of being able to create that atmosphere and fun times,” he said.

“Nightclubs are really going to struggle for the short term.

“They may get 40, 20, or 50 people and if it’s not a dancefloor centred environment it’s pretty boring.

“The whole town is really going to have to remarket itself from being a party nightclub market to youthful and families market.”


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