Restrictions on singing and dancing in NSW extended until end of February

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the extension was necessary for the state's students to return to school and for non-urgent elective surgery to resume

The NSW government has extended its current COVID-19 restrictions for another month, as the state reported 18,512 positive tests and 29 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Those restrictions include hospitality venues being required to abide by a one person per two square metre rule, and singing and dancing being prohibited in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities, nightclubs, indoor music festivals and major recreation facilities.

When originally announced earlier this month, Premier Dominic Perrottet said that restrictions would run until January 27. They will now apply to all residents in the state until February 28.

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It’s unclear whether the current ban on singing and dancing at outdoor music festivals will continue to apply. The restriction was not included in the original announcement on January 7, but an amendment was made to the relevant Public Health Act days later on January 10 to “prohibit singing and dancing by persons attending music festivals”.

The change in policy led to the cancellation of the NSW leg of the Grapevine Gathering music and wine festival, and prompted outrage when footage emerged of a Hillsong youth camp in Newcastle showing attendees singing and dancing along to music.

Other restrictions that will continue to apply include masks being required in all indoor settings and QR code check-ins being mandatory at certain premises such as hospitality venues and retail shops.

Speaking to the press earlier today, Premier Perrottet said maintaining the restrictions was a necessary step for the state to focus on returning children to school and resuming non-urgent elective surgery.

“It comes down to priorities, I want there to be confidence in our parents and our teachers. That is a major priority for me and this government… in fact, that stands out ahead of the pack by a long way,” he said.

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“And if you’re to ask what’s more important, someone singing or dancing or someone getting their non-urgent elective surgery back, I know what the right approach is.”

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