Gippsland dancers in a spin over covid class ban

Frustrated dancers and furious dance studio owners are in a spin over unfair bans and inconsistent rules stopping children attending dance classes.

Gippsland National MP’s have taken up the fight to allow dance schools to reopen regional Victoria.

Conflicting advice on the Andrews Governments’ classification of dance schools has caused further pain. Creative studios on the Premier’s roadmap have been given the greenlight to operate, while any indoor sport is heavily restricted regardless of the activity undertaken.

During the first lockdown dance studios were classified as ‘creative studios’, while in the second lockdown Daniel Andrews backflipped, intervening to classify them an indoor sport.

The Premier’s decision has stopped dance schools reopening until 23 November 2020 at the earliest and only if there has been zero cases state wide for 14 days.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the glaring inconsistencies in Daniel Andrews’ roadmap were disgraceful.

“The roadmap discriminates against many industries.  It’s a plan devoid of accurate science and sound medical advice, created by the Premier and his cabinet of eight singlehandedly picking and choosing the fate of people’s livelihoods and acceptable activities.

“Dance is the most popular after school activity for girls in Victoria, providing a positive space for the physical and mental development of many young people.

“In regional Victoria, contact sport for under 18s has been deemed safe, school camps safe, dining out in a restaurant safe, but a ballet class has been labelled high risk.

“There is no logical argument that Daniel Andrews can make to justify this decision, this is just another one-size-fits-all captain’s call.”

Ms Bath said many dance studios across Gippsland face permanent closure if the ban is not overturned and reasonable concessions made.

“The Premier has linked restrictions for all dance studios to his unachievable state wide virus thresholds, instead of basing their right to operate on regional case numbers and the medical advice.

“Labor’s dance ban is downright unfair and there is no justification for their continued closure with extremely low and manageable case numbers in regional Victoria.

“Dance schools are perfectly positioned to manage hygiene and physical spacing requirements, from a contact tracing approach they know every single individual who comes through their doors.

“They managed COVIDsafe protocols following lockdown one, yet Daniel Andrews is saying he doesn’t trust them second time around, despite not one case being linked to a dance school in Victoria.

“If the Premier has specific health advice on the safety of dance schools, he should release it.

“Daniel Andrews’ decision to ban dance schools will have disastrous consequences for the arts and the many young girls and boys who will miss out in term 4,” Ms Bath said.

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