There are fears some students may not be able to attend Mackay’s iconic Mocktail event next month because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson has written to Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young asking her to step in to allow all students to attend.
Cr Williamson said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to allow Anzac Day to go ahead as normal should extend to other significant community events.
Established in 1991 as an alcohol and drug free party, The Mocktail is a tradition senior high school students across the Mackay and Whitsundays look forward to each year at Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.
“We usually have 1100 or more students in the MECC and it’s one of those rite of passage events that senior students look forward to,” Cr Williamson said.
“With the COVID-19 planning issues this year, we can only fit 750 plus another 50 (chaperones) in the MECC.
“I wrote to Dr Jeannette Young last week and said ‘this is what usually happens, it’s a great event for the students, can we raise the level of the 800 total to get an extra 200-odd students in’?”
“She’s come back and said she’ll have a look at it.
“If Anzac Day can go ahead with no restrictions at all, The Mocktail event should be able to go ahead on March 12 providing we have contact tracing for everyone coming in.”
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The Daily Mercury understands the event organiser has submitted a COVID-safe management plan and the initial proposed floor plan only met the requirements for 700 people.
Mackay Regional Council has since worked with the event organiser to redesign the floor plans and providing the new layout is acceptable to the event organiser, they will receive approval for attendance of 1179.
It is understood the public health unit will likely approve the event once the organisers resubmit the application as requested.
Cr Williamson said he hoped a solution could be found so all students could attend.
“(If not) the schools are going to have to make that difficult decision and say ‘well you can go and you can’t’ – That’s really terrible,” he said.
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