Dancing in the time of COVID

These are strange and troubling times, but it is still important, perhaps more than ever, to seek joy and to share wonderful music and dancing with other people.

After a five month break during the height of the shutdown in 2020, the Folk Federation of Tasmania restarted its dances. This involved a lot of extra planning and work, all done by volunteers, in order to meet the additional requirements from government and the managers of the venues we hire. We have had to do things differently. We know that this may be frustrating or confusing, but it is vital for everyone’s safety and to meet the requirements for us to be able to run dances at all.

Before you attend any of our dances, please read the following. By attending, you have committed to abiding by these conditions.

Folk Federation of Tasmania—Hobart Dances—Entry Conditions

Please do not attend one of our dances if,

a. You are not double (or preferably triple) vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have a certificate of exemption on medical grounds,

or

b. Within the last 14 days, you:

  • Have been instructed to quarantine or isolate and the required number of days are not yet finished;
  • Have had a COVID-19 test and not received a negative result;
  • Have had COVID-19;
  • Have been unwell with any flu-like symptoms, including fever (night sweats or chills) or respiratory symptoms e.g., shortness of breath, cough or sore throat, and not had a subsequent COVID-19 test and negative result, or still have any symptoms; or
  • Have been in contact with anyone with COVID-19, and not had a subsequent COVID-19 test and negative result.

If you develop any flu-like symptoms at a dance, please inform us, ensure that we have your details and then go home to rest, be tested and be safe.

If you have any questions, please ask one of our COVID Safety Coordinators.

Folk Federation of Tasmania—Hobart Dances—COVID-19 Safety

Whilst you are here, please:

· Ensure that we have your name and contact details.

· Confirm that you have been vaccinated or have a medical exemption.

· Ensure minimal contact and safe hygiene to do with food and drink, but do have adequate hydration and sustenance.  Bring your own water bottle.

· Observe 1.5m physical distancing requirements wherever practical whilst not dancing (except for household members).  Don’t greet other people physically.

· Use the same seat throughout the evening.

· Limit unnecessary social gatherings outside the hall.

· Use hand sanitiser or wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, at the start and end of the event, and before and after eating.

· Limit the spread of germs in other ways, including by limiting touching your face, sneezing or coughing into tissues (single use) or into your elbow.

· Follow the safety-related directions of our COVID Safety Coordinators or dance organisers.

· Depart promptly at the end of the event, so that the cleaning volunteers can start cleaning.  If you need to use the toilets at the end of the night, do so promptly.

· If you develop any flu-like symptoms, please inform us, ensure that we have your details and then go home to rest, be tested and be safe.

Note: Mask wearing is no longer mandatory whilst not dancing, eating or drinking but you are welcome to wear a mask at any time if you wish.

Booking and Payments

In order to reduce the risk of infection, we prefer cashless transactions. Please try to book beforehand (see links in publicity) or pay by credit card at the door. Ideally, book beforehand, to reduce queues at the door and allow us to provide and collect the necessary information ahead of time.

How is it Possible to Dance in a COVID-safe Way?

It took a lot of investigation and consideration before we were able to restart dancing at all. There is obviously risk, but so there is in many other activities. We are acting on the best government and health advice that we have. This advice changes frequently, and it is not always easy to determine what guidelines apply to community folk dancing. We have spent many hours on the phone and on the web trying to clarify the rules. Structured dancing has been assessed as a Level C sport under the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport. Level C sports have resumed in Tasmania, under various restrictions. See the Tasmanian government rules for Sport and Recreation.

Resuming dancing involved a lot of extra planning and work, all done by volunteers, in order to meet the additional requirements from government and the managers of the venues we hire. We have to do things differently. We know that this may be frustrating or confusing, but it is vital for everyone’s safety and to meet the requirements for us to be able to run dances at all.

The latest government guidelines can be found on https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/facts/important-community-updates.

See also https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/vaccination-requirements/pubs-bars-nightclubs-and-licensed-events

Why do we require vaccination?

This is a very difficult issue for a voluntary community group to deal with, balancing various factors.  However, we felt a responsibility to make a decision in the best interests of our musicians and dancers.  Here’s why:

· We are unable to socially distance whilst dancing.

· We are unable to use masks whilst dancing vigorously.

· We sometimes have visitors from interstate who come here to dance with us (and may be infectious despite the precautions).

· We have regular attendees who are vulnerable and for whom the dance group is their primary social network.

· Many people feel safer coming to an event where everyone is vaccinated, and may not come if that is not the case, now that the borders are open.  We need to keep the dances financially and socially viable and fun, which requires a fair number of attendees.  We don’t make a profit – our funds pay for the venue, other costs and, most importantly, our wonderful and hard-working musicians.

· We believe it is important to look after the health and safety of people who attend our events.

· We have a responsibility towards other users of the hall, including the church community, some of whom are vulnerable.

Thanks for your understanding and support.

Be safe, but don’t let the virus beat us.  Have fun with live music and dancing.

Thank you

Thanks for your understanding, support and enthusiasm.

By attending, safely, you are showing your support for a healthier, happier world, and providing some income for musicians and venues, both of whom have suffered major losses of income in recent months.

Enjoy yourself!  Be safe, but don’t let the virus beat us.  Have fun with live music and dancing.