With up to 50 people now allowed to dance within New South Wales venues, Solotel have announced that live entertainment will be returning to several of its pubs this week. Meanwhile, the Queensland and Tasmania Governments have today announced dancing will also return to venues.

Having always been a huge advocate for the Sydney’s nightlife and entertainment scene, Solotel has long placed a large emphasis on the bespoke entertainment offerings within its venues. In fact, prior to the start of the pandemic, CEO Justine Baker said that the group’s entertainment offering was to be a major focus of 2020.

Of course that was all curtailed by the pandemic, but with dancing now permitted for up to 50 people at a time, Solotel has wasted no time in reintroducing various music acts to its venues.

“We’re just thrilled. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It feels like it’s just in time for a great summer,” said Baker.

“We’re in the business of creating amazing experiences for people and dancing and entertainment is a big part of that. This is another great step in the right direction of building confidence with our guests. Of course, we need to remain vigilant and we thank our customers for being so respectful of all the continual changes and we can’t wait to see them on the dancefloor soon!”

Eight Solotel venues are reopening dancefloors and getting DJs back on the decks. The Sheaf, Goros, and the Clock Hotel in the east, Smoke at Barangaroo House in the city, The Marly and The Bank in the inner west, and The Albion in Parramatta are bringing dancing back this week. Dancing will return to Kings Cross Hotel from 18 December, with more venues to be announced in time for New Year’s Eve.

Baker says that the return of dancing will be a boost for trade, as it provides the incentive for patrons to stay longer in venue than they have all year.

“It builds confidence in our guests that they can come to us for a whole-night experience. From what we’ve seen there’s currently a trend where our guests come for a bit but then they leave to dance and continue the party back home. This enables them to stay out with us longer. It’s great for the whole industry.”

In terms of policing the 50-pax maximum, Solotel will be going old-school, using counters to keep on top of how many people are having a boogie.

“In some of our venues we’re actually having a dedicated room so it’s really going to be very easy to count people in and out. That’s the ideal solution to stick to capacity. In another couple of our areas we’ll have to use a bit more delineation.”

With entertainment set to play a major part in summer trade, Baker says the group has taken the opportunity to reassess the acts it books, in order to make sure it has the right fit for each venue.

“We’re really looking to make sure that we’ve got acts that are going to bring the crowd, and that we’re not just putting on a more generic experience. We’re really making sure we’re putting on an experience that fits the market.

“We believe this is the right time to invest back into entertainment and bring our great performers back in, get the music scene back on its feet. That’s what people want. They can have an experience at home now, they can have it in a café – they want to come out for a great live performance –whether electronic or live band.”

Baker said the announcement of live acts in its venues via social media has already been received by patrons incredibly positively.

“People just want to come have a dance and have some fun with their friends.”

Dancing returns to Queensland and Tasmania

In other news, announcements have been made in both Queensland and Tasmania that dancing will soon return to venues.

In the Sunshine State, Health and Ambulance Services Minister Yvette D’Ath said dancing would return to venues from Monday 14 December.

“I thank Queenslanders for their hard work and acknowledge the industry for their understanding across what has been a trying year for us all.

“It is because of everyone’s hard work and cooperation with public health directions that we will now be able to can-can at Christmas parties and rock around the clock as it strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said indoor and outdoor dancing will be allowed, with one dancer per two square metres across dancing areas in venues.

“Yesterday I met with industry stakeholders about bringing back dancing and, following their request to have some time in order to prepare their facilities, dancing will be permitted in venues from noon 14 December 2020,” stated Dr Young.

Further south, after weeks of the THA calling for an easing of restrictions in Tasmania, the State Government has this morning announced that  standing and drinking alcohol, and dancing will be permitted by up to 100 people at indoor venues and 250 people in outdoor venues from 5pm tomorrow.

If the existing density limit of one person per 2 square metres allows, there can be additional patrons in the indoor venue or an outdoor area, as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol or dancing.

The THA has welcomed this morning’s announcement saying in a statement: “These rules have been the biggest issues facing hospitality operators in Tasmania and the lifting of the restrictions is welcomed and appreciated by the entire industry.”

“The hospitality industry is committed to upholding the highest standards of community safety and will continue to comply with the remaining restrictions including capacity limits for stand up drinking and dancing, enforcing the 1 person per 2 square metre rule and mandatory contact tracing.”

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