By ALLISON HORE
A Human Nature concert with little to no social distancing has raised concern about a potential COVID-19 outbreak.
The concert took place on Saturday night at The Coliseum Theatre in Rooty Hill in Western Sydney with over 1,100 people in attendance. It ended just hours before the NSW Government’s mask mandate came into force at midnight.
A viral photo from the event posted to Twitter shows attendees packed into the theatre without the seats being spaced out for appropriate social distancing. Most people pictured are not wearing masks.
In response to the viral tweet, NSW opposition leader Jodi McKay commented “no social distancing, very few masks and a predominantly older audience.”
Kate Cole, who posted the viral photo said she realised the mask mandate didn’t come into effect until after the concert ended but said “COVID doesn’t follow public health orders”.
The venue was operating under the NSW Health rule for large venues to run at no more than 75 percent capacity. This means the venue could have allowed up to 1,500 audience members. Before and during the show the band reminded audience members not to get up and dance and not to sing along.
No masks, no distancing
Sydney local, Kristy Price, who was in attendance at the concert, told City Hub social distancing was not in place despite the venue allocating seating.
“We were told when purchasing tickets that they would be assigned closer to the show to accommodate for covid rules but once we were in the venue it was very clear that there was zero social distancing,” she said.
Ms. Price showed City Hub her own photo from the night, in which a lack of distancing is evident. She said felt fortunate that by being in the front row of the concert she was able to maintain appropriate distancing.
“We were lucky that we were sitting in the front row with a massive gap between us and the stage, also there were no seats immediately behind us,” she said.
“We were basically the only socially distanced people in the venue.”
Ms. Price said she noticed all staff at the venue were wearing masks but very few attendees were. Acknowledging the controversy, Ticketek says they texted all concertgoers 24 hours before the event to recommend that masks be worn.
But Ms. Price told City Hub she received no such text from Ticketek before the event and there was nothing on the event page suggesting patrons mask up.
A representative from The Coliseum Theatre told the Nine Network free masks were available on the night for those attendees wanted to wear them.
“Masks were also available at all bars and via staff and we were offering these free of charge to those requesting one,” the representative said.