Mask, dancing, visitor restrictions after new Sydney COVID case

New South Wales has recorded another community transmission case of COVID after the wife of an infected man aged in his 50s also tested positive.

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No caps on weddings, funerals, dancing, private gatherings from Monday

On Monday, NSW will return to the closest thing to “normal” since the coronavirus pandemic began more than a year ago.

A whole host of restrictions will be rolled back and the cap on the number of people allowed at weddings, funerals, and private gatherings will lift.

People will be allowed to sing and dance “in any environment”, including places of worship, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

People at the Lord Gladstone Hotel in Sydney last time the dancefloors opened on December 11, 2020.
People at the Lord Gladstone Hotel in Sydney last time the dancefloors opened on December 11, 2020. (Cole Bennetts)

The state’s mask mandate will also be lifted, and they will no longer be mandatory on public transport.

Mask wearing will still be recommended where social distancing is not possible.

“I appreciate the timing of this but I also appreciate how important it for NSW to keep moving forward even during difficult times,” Ms Berejiklian said.

People and businesses must continue to use QR codes to check-in to venues.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said today’s announcement of easing of restrictions is an “amazing achievement” for the state.

“Dancing is back, singing is back, the sun is back and fun is back here in NSW,” Mr Perrottet said.

In March last year, NSW was reaching is peak lockdown with beaches and businesses closed and people unable to leave their homes for non-essential reasons.

“This is a great day for everyone in our state,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Summer in the Domain is on, the rugby league is back on at Bank West Stadium, the Swans are back to a full crowd at the SCG, Hamilton is premiering and now Brad and I are going clubbing next weekend.”

What changes at 12.01am on Monday:

  • No caps on weddings and funerals;
  • Mask use including on public transport will move from ‘mandatory’ to ‘strongly recommended’.
  • No restrictions on singing including in places of worship;
  • No restriction on dancing including at weddings and in pubs and nightclubs;
  • No cap on visitors in the home (if there are more than 100 people there must be a COVID-19 Safety plan and electronic recording of visitor details);
  • 200 people allowed for personal outdoor public gatherings;
  • All venues to move to the one person per 2sqm rule (venues will be allowed at least 25 people before the 2sqm rule applies);
  • 100 per cent seated capacity at entertainment venues including stadiums and theatres
  • Mask use including on public transport will move from ‘mandatory’ to ‘strongly recommended’

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Dancing back on the cards as South Australia relaxes coronavirus restrictions

The decision to allow dancing amid Adelaide’s busy festival season has prompted expressions of jubilation from dance-starved revellers, even if many venues will not necessarily benefit.

Dancing had been effectively banned at dozens of events and venues throughout South Australia for months because of the risks of coronavirus superspreading.

Opposition to the ban intensified with the start of the Adelaide Fringe festival, which was forced to introduce “no dancing” signs at its Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Security guards had to break up a group of people dancing at the venue on Saturday night, because its COVID-19 management plan prohibited dancing.

An online petition to reinstate dancing across South Australian music establishments has attracted more than 10,000 signatures.

But the state’s transition committee has now decided to significantly relax restrictions from Friday, albeit at small-to-medium-sized venues.

“Dust off the dancing shoes,” one person wrote on social media, while another declared: “This is the best day ever”.

“Dancing is back, what more could you want?” another said.

It is unclear which Adelaide Fringe venues will benefit from the eased restrictions.(Instagram: Royal Croquet Club)

While dancing will remain off-limits at large venues, SA’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the change in the state’s COVID-19 directions would provide an opportunity for those who “want to let their hair down”.

“[The change] does not allow a large nightclub to be operating in the way that people have experienced those sorts of venues in the past. That really is the danger — it’s not dancing itself that is the problem,” Professor Spurrier said.

“If I stood here and did a bit of dancing, I’m at no more risk to you than standing here and talking.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said authorities would carefully monitor the impact of the relaxation “with a view to moving back to normality down the track”.

He said venues with more than 1,000 patrons would still need COVID-19 management plans and be subject to restrictions on dancing.

“But if you’ve got a smaller venue, a venue of under 200 patrons, dancing is permitted, as long as you can abide by the normal restrictions, QR codes, COVID marshals, one [person] per two square metres,” he said.

“In venues between 200 and 1,000, dancing is also permitted on a dance floor, a designated area, for up to 50 people at a time, and again, they will need to abide by those restrictions.”

Festival welcomes end of travel ban

Health authorities also revealed today that border restrictions with Greater Melbourne would be removed on Friday — a move that has been welcomed by Adelaide Festival executive director Elaine Chia.

Ms Chia said the hard border had left some Melbourne-based artists in limbo, but that there was “great excitement” because they would now be able to attend.

“We’ve been working with SA Health for a number of weeks now, as soon as the lockdown came down in Melbourne.

“We have been [doing] rehearsals already and having a number of Victorian artists come through and, especially for us, this announcement is a huge relief for Adelaide Writers Week because a number of authors can also now come through and be free to enter.”

The Premier said he suspected “a lot of people” were also going to be “quite relieved” by the move to permit dancing.

A group of people gathered in Adelaide's east end celebrating the start of the Fringe festival.
The Fringe Festival is currently in full swing in Adelaide’s east end.(Instagram: Adelaide Fringe)

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said police would work with individual establishments to avoid breaches, but “the ball is in the court of venues to do the right thing”.

Adelaide Rock ‘n’ Roll Club president Barbara Hahn said she was “quite elated”, while Jive bar owner Tam Boakes said the decision would have a hugely positive impact.

“We’ve been having to wrangle with poor patrons coming to have a fun time at a live gig and be told to ‘stop dancing and stop having too much fun’, so it’s really really good that we can now enjoy a live gig for what it’s meant to be,” Ms Boakes said.

But not all Mad March events will benefit or be able to boost their patronage as a result of the change, including the WOMADelaide world music festival.

“It won’t change what we have in place with our COVID management plan … which is that dancing is permitted at WOMADelaide provided that people remain in the immediate vicinity of their seat,” WOMAD Director Ian Scobie said.

“This year it’s a reserve seated event — we’ve got 6,000 seats … and they’re all spaced apart.”

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New Year’s reveler dancing with gun allegedly shoots, kills 4-year-old Texas boy: Police

The child was identified as Messiah Taplin by the local medical examiner.

A 4-year-old boy was killed in an Arlington, Texas, apartment in the first hour of the new year when police say he was apparently shot by a man dancing and celebrating with a firearm just after the clock struck midnight.

The boy, identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner as Messiah Taplin, was shot about 12:30 a.m. Friday and died just after 1 a.m. at a local hospital, police said.

“We are currently seeking a manslaughter warrant against that individual,” said Ciesco, adding that the suspect’s name will not be released until a judge signs the warrant.

Police said the suspect was detained along with other “persons of interest” for questioning in the homicide investigation.

“Based on evidence gathered, and statements made by the individuals who were inside the apartment at the time, it appears one of the adult males in the apartment was dancing or celebrating with a firearm — and it discharged, striking the 4-year-old boy in the head,” Ciesco said.

Officers went to an apartment complex in the north part of the suburban Dallas city after a 911 caller reported hearing gunfire, the Arlington Police Department said in an earlier statement.

When officers arrived, they followed a trail of blood leading to an unlocked apartment, according to the statement.

“Officers went inside and discovered a crime scene. No one was inside of the apartment at that time,” the statement reads.

As officers were investigating the scene, a vehicle drove into the parking lot that matched a car spotted leaving the apartment complex shortly after the shooting, police said. Officers stopped the car and detained its occupants.

It was not immediately clear if the people inside the car were the “persons of interest” police are questioning.

Homicide detectives were later notified by police in Grand Prairie, about seven miles east of Arlington, that a 4-year-old boy was taken to a hospital in their city and died from an apparent gunshot wound, according to the statement.

The child’s death was the second fatal shooting Arlington police responded to in the first hour of the New Year. At 12:25 a.m., officers received a call of shots fired in a residential neighborhood in east Arlington and discovered a woman suffering from an apparent gunshot wound on the back porch of a home, police said in a statement. The woman, whose name was not immediately released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Investigators do not believe this was self-inflicted and that someone shot the woman on the back porch,” the police statement reads.

No arrest has been made in the shooting.

Authorities asked that anyone with information about either killing contact Arlington police investigators or the Tarrant County Crime Stoppers line.

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How Dancing Helps Me Think, and Thinking Helps Me Dance


By Glory M Liu

I’m a lifelong dancer and a political theorist. ‘Work’ and ‘thinking’ in one part of my life are entirely physical, while in the other part they’re wholly intellectual. For most of my career, dancing and academic research were two separate but equally weighted spheres. However, over the years, I have become more and more aware that many people viewed dance as a less valuable way of thinking and working. Dance, in their minds, was a purely emotive activity consisting of uncritical, spontaneous movement or a purely athletic endeavour whose sole purpose is to defy our body’s physical limits.

Part of the reason why this view of dance persists, I think, stems from a deeply rooted prejudice against embodied vocations. In Aristotle’s ideal state in the Politics, for example, mechanics, farmers, shopkeepers and those living a banauson bion – a life of physical and menial labour – are excluded from full citizenship. Their modes of existence leave no time for leisure, yet their physical labour is essential to support those who carry out the deliberative actions of the city. Today, we continue to stratify work into ‘high-skilled’ and ‘low-skilled’ hierarchies. We wrongly presume that those whose work is primarily physical have little to contribute to those whose work is primarily mental, and vice versa.

Dancers exist on the cusp of this prejudice. Our bodies are the primary instruments with which we absorb, distil and produce ideas that are intangible and ephemeral. But, in doing so, we are also seen as high artists. And it is precisely our highly trained capacity to combine physical with mental thinking that makes dance not only possible but powerful.

We dancers learn, maintain and teach what’s possible with physical expression. I, like many, began very young, and was quickly programmed into a world of rules, patterns and habits. Left hand on the barre to start, and always turn towards the barre to switch sides. Close in fifth position, but go through first. Front-side-back-side. Elbows, wrists, fingers; heel, arch, toes. As a dancer in training, you learn to dissociate your self from your body, to relinquish your agency to the structure and aesthetic of the form – whether that’s classical ballet, modern dance or something else. But treating dance purely as a physical form to which we subject our personhood is deeply problematic. As the American choreographer and dance writer Theresa Ruth Howard argues, it ‘romanticises the dehumanisation of the body by regarding it as an instrument, a tool akin [to] clay’. It turns our physical bodies into mere instruments for the ideas, beliefs and expressions from some external source – whether the teacher, the choreographer or even our own ideal of what the technique demands. Where, then, does the dancer find space for freedom, for individual agency in the strictures of this kind of physical practice?

The practice of cultivating agency and autonomy is essential to our physical and moral selves. I learned how to appreciate and respect agency relatively late in my dance career, but relatively early in my work as a political theorist. In 2013, I’d started graduate school and was continuing to dance and perform contemporary works, though the majority of my routine practice was in classical ballet. I had sustained multiple injuries and undergone a surgery. I became anxious that my body was past its prime, no longer suited to the demands of the art form, and that it was time to quit and find a different outlet. But a moment in a ballet class changed my mind.

Muriel Maffre, a former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet and my then-ballet teacher at Stanford University, called our attention between combinations. ‘Dancers,’ she said, ‘get into the habit of breaking habits. Demonstrate you have agency over your body.’ There was only a brief pause before the accompanist gave us four counts before the battement-tendu combination started again, but the words resonated in my mind and my body for the rest of class. For most of my life, I believed that dancing consisted solely of building particular physical habits – habits that I could unthinkingly execute as soon as I crossed the threshold between the ‘real world’ and the dance studio. But Maffre’s admonition helped me see the wisdom in questioning and even undoing some of the habits, both physical and mental, I’d worked for decades to build. This didn’t mean that suddenly ballet itself – its organisation, combinations, its vocabulary and its grammar – was turned upside down. Instead, it meant that even the most technical, formal structures of the form had to be filled with my own agency.

I scrutinised my movements from the largest jumps to the tiniest gestures, wondering about their origins. An overextended port-de-bras in an arabesque – the iconic ballerina pose – puzzled me: it threw off my balance, but somehow I thought it looked beautiful. Where did the integrity of arabesque come from: my sternum, my standing leg, or my fingertips? Other times, things that manifested themselves as physical ticks or involuntary movements were actually within my control, but had a long physical history that I needed to investigate. I scrunched my toes too much, even when I didn’t need to balance. I premeditatively ‘fell’ out of an additional turn even though I had the physical power for one more revolution. And I thought I cast my gaze downward as a stylistic choice, but really I was checking out my feet. I started noticing and observing dance differently on my own body and on other dancers. The simplest movements, gestures and steps could convey such a wide range of textures, sensations and feelings. Tendus, I decided, were a display not of the arch of my feet but of the floor’s resistance. A renversé – my favourite step – was not just a shape I could make with my legs and arms, but an expression of my back body moving forward in space. Instead of striving for an appearance of weightlessness, I practised giving in to gravity and harnessing the power of my weightedness.

That all these qualities, which constituted the dancer’s artistry, were subject to choice inspired me. Dance, then, was my physical practice of independent and critical reflection – on received ideas, on formed habits, on the basic values and beliefs I held – not just about dance but also on what it means to be a flourishing human being. It was at that moment that I realised that my education as a dancer and scholar were converging and becoming inseparable ways of investigating ideas about personhood and the good life. The knowledge I acquired as a dancer physically expressed ideas about autonomy and freedom that I was investigating as a political theorist. My dance practice was an everyday, real and, above all, physical experience of what it means to have the capacity to direct one’s life, to be able to redirect it, and to see those capacities ‘as testimony of the strength rather than fragility’ of our fundamental personhood, as Rob Reich puts it in his book Bridging Liberalism and Multiculturalism in American Education (2002).

We learn by practice, the American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham once said. Our practices – both physical and intellectual – can be so much more than routine work and the accretions of habits. By choosing to perform the ‘dedicated precise sets of acts’ that we do, we can access ‘achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit’. We embody our autonomy and our humanity.Aeon counter – do not remove

Glory M Liu

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.


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COVID-safe Christmas but New Year’s Eve dancing off table for many

While South Australia looks set to celebrate a COVID-safe Christmas, New Year’s Eve festivities at a host of nightclubs and venues are likely to be dance-free, with operators expressing frustration at delays processing their COVID Management Plans.

Australian Hotels Association SA CEO Ian Horne said many of Adelaide’s nightclubs and music venues were still waiting for official management plan approval.

“For the vast majority of venues, including nightclubs and including our live venues, unless it’s a private function there can be no dancing,” Horne said.

“Under the current rules in a license venue drinking and dancing can only happen in a private function of up to 200 people.

“Whereas in the same venue, if its not a private function and just general access then you can’t dance there.

“The only way you can have dancing in nightclubs or pubs or live music venues is to qualify for a COVID Management Plan.

“Every venue currently has a COVID Safe Plan but a COVID Management Plan takes it to another level.”

SA Health last week announced that it would begin processing hospitality venues’ management plans again after a five-month “pause”.

The management plans detail how venues will minimise potential spread of disease, on top of the already in place coronavirus safeguards.

To be eligible to allow dancing and drinking at the same time, venues aren’t allowed to have mosh pits, must to cap patrons at 200 and pre-sell tickets to all events.

Venues were also originally told patrons could only attend one nightclub an evening as part of the management plans – but this rule was later scrapped.

But venues can allow dancing and drinking at the same time at private functions of up to 200 people.

Bank Street Social co-owner Shaun Campbell said he was hopeful the venue might be able to allow a dance floor on New Years Eve, following last week’s announcement.

But since submitting the venue’s plan Campbell said he’d been told by SA Health there was “not adequate time for us to evaluate your plan, so we will not be able to provide an approval. Please operate as per your COVID safe plan”.

“We initially started the process back at the beginning of the year but then the processing of the COVID Management Plans was put on hold for several months,” he said.

“We updated and resubmitted. It’s a lengthy document … and it took our team about eight hours to fully complete the paperwork.

“When we resubmitted it we were told upon receipt that it simply wasn’t going to be processed in time for the event that we’d proposed for New Years Eve, which was no usual to our normal operating at the present time – except having a small dance floor.

“We explained that verbally and in an email to SA Health and we were very much given the impression that their staff have already gone on holidays and weren’t going to be getting to the plan approved prior to New Years Eve.

“We pretty much returned our plan as quickly as we possibly could have, after receiving the notice from SA Health last week that we could submit the plan after that long period.

“Had they known or planned that they were going to start looking at plans and venues, that (message) could have been sent out a couple of months ago and been ready for this time of year.”

Campbell said while many other sectors shut down over the Christmas and New Year period, it was one of the most financially important times for the hospitality sector.

He said given it had been a “long year for the industry and the community” the venue wanted to be able to provide a space where people could celebrate the end of the year by hitting the dance floor.

“I think people will be disappointed to learn that a clerical delay is the only thing stopping them celebrating the end of 2020 with a dance,” Campbell said.

He said without the approval of a management plan the club would be forced to try and prevent people from dancing – but allow them to stand and drink.

“I think it’s an unrealistic expectation by SA Health and the Transition Committee to allow people to stand up but you then have to police the degree to which they’re moving,” Campbell said.

“Interstate there are provisions for small dance floors, that came in at the same time as the standing up rules were relaxed.

“South Australia didn’t follow suit … (we) have to have a staff member allocated to determine what is and what isn’t dancing, how much movement constitutes dancing.

“It’s very hard to police and I don’t think it’s fair on venues to have to make those kinds of judgements.

“We will set up the venue so that dancing is discouraged, if our plan isn’t approved … but I think the decision making on this one has been a little ill-guided and a little bit naive compared with what is happening already in other (interstate) venues.”

Sugar nightclub. Image: CityMag.

Sugar nightclub owner Driller Armstrong said the venue had submitted its management plan “months ago” and was yet to hear the outcome.

“The management plan that we submitted is thorough. We’ve ticked the boxes. It just needs to be approved – they just need to look at it and approve it,” he said.

“Every time restrictions come in that affect hospitality, an email goes out from SA Health, telling us in hospitality that the approval process for management plans has been put on hold while these restrictions are in place, which absolutely makes no sense. Why would you stop the approval process?

“These restrictions could change at anytime.”

Armstrong said the nightclub looked likely to operate over the New Years period with socially distanced stand-up drinking allowed but no dancing.

“They’ve just lifted the restriction on seating, so at least people can stand-up and talk. They still have to social distance of course from other groups,” he said.

“Our normal capacity is 225 and we’re trading at 106. So it’s a massive restriction on our business, we’re basically at half capacity, which is half revenue essentially.”

Horne said management plan processing was taking “up to several weeks” and as a result it was unlikely dancing and drinking would be allowed across South Australian venues until the end of January.

“What was announced a week and a half ago was they will now accept management plans for consultation,” he said.

“But the process is quite clear, the process will take up to several weeks. Not days, several weeks – and that essentially means nothing has changed.

“If you’re in Perth you can dance in any pub, club or nightclub, in Darwin you can do the same and in Queensland they’ve got an innovative thing where dance floors can have up to 50 people – but not South Australia”

He has urged the State’s Transition Committee to allow venues without management plans to have dance floors with limited capacity.

Horne said this would alleviate the processing wait time and reduce the burden on venues’ of ensuring people don’t dance and drink at the same time over New Years.

“To not acknowledge that there’s going to be management issues of dancing is to put your head in the sand,” he said.

“There will be dancing in the streets, there will be people kissing strangers, that’s always been the way. No amount of regulation or emergency declarations are going to stop that.

“Why wouldn’t you give the industry at least some capacity to at least manage it in a way that reduces the risk?”

SA Police said South Australia’s coronavirus restrictions were “constantly under review and may change before the New Year’s period”.

“As with all our decisions, we will take the health advice,” a spokesperson said.

“We are keen to make these changes as quickly as we can, but we do need to step carefully so we don’t unnecessarily increase the risk to the South Australian community from COVID-19.

“We are always trying to find that balance.”

A spokesperson for SA Health said there was “no set timeline at this stage” for management plans to be processed but that each plan would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

SA Health said plans would need to be assessed and approved by the COVID Management Committee, which would meet twice this week and then not again until January 5.

“The COVID Management Committee has agreed on these principles and will work through the applications to approve plans to ensure venues can operate in COVID safe way while maintaining the health and safety of South Australians,” it said.

SA Health said venues that had submitted the management plans earlier in the year would “need to ensure the new CMP (COVID Management Plan) they submit meets the required set of principles”.

Live music venue The Gov hasn’t applied for a COVID Management Plan and will hold an invitation-only private function by La Bomba.

A spokesperson said they hoped to be able to return to a public New Years Eve event next year.

They said while the venue would be closed over Christmas and Boxing days, following The Gov’s Swing Ball on December 27, The Gov would return to regular opening hours.

It expects January to be busy with a collection of emerging local bands, as well as tributes to David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and 90s rock hitting the stage in 2021.

They said while the venue would be closed over Christmas and Boxing days, following The Gov’s Swing Ball on December 27, The Gov would return to regular opening hours.

It expects January to be busy with a collection of emerging local bands, as well as tributes to David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and 90s rock hitting the stage in 2021.

While many Adelaide restaurants will also close over Christmas, including Italian restaurant Osteria Oggi and Asian-fusion eatery Peel St shutting their doors, it comes after a busy week in hospitality.

Japanese eatery Shobosho and sister restaurant ShoSho will close their doors after a Christmas Eve lunch sitting and remain shut for Christmas Day.

Co-owner and chef Adam Liston said it followed a booming week of trade for Shobosho.

“It’s been incredibly busy,” Liston said.

“Last week, Shobosho recorded its biggest week of revenue ever. It’s always been busy but with people not going overseas and seeming a little cautious to head interstate, people seem to be staying local and coming out.

“They seem to be spending more per head overall.”

He said the restaurants would close despite the influx of patrons to give staff time to to spend Christmas with their families.

Churches adapt to Christmas restrictions

South Australian faith communities are preparing for COVID-safe Christmas celebrations by live streaming services, introducing booking systems and discouraging singing.

Under the State’s coronavirus restrictions religious events must abide by the one person per two square meter rule and have a contact tracing system in place.

SA Health has also recommended congregations “avoid singing together or consider designating one person or a very small group of people who can maintain physical distancing”.

A fact sheet from the Department said as singing increased the distance that droplets could travel, spacing people at least two meters apart was advised.

“COVID-19 is spread via droplets during close contact when another person breathes in droplets containing the virus,” it said.

Trinity Church Adelaide. Photo: supplied.

As a result, St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral will discourage Christmas attendees from singing in a bid to reduce the potential spread of disease.

A spokesperson said the Catholic church would have a choir but with “lots of people in close proximity” the Wakefield Street parish had decided not to allow singing at Christmas for the first time.

People can still pray aloud.

The spokesperson said while St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral holds up to 800 people this year’s service would be much smaller, with only 240 people allowed in the Cathedral under the COVID-19 capacity restrictions.

The church will live-screen the Cathedral service for a further 75 people in a nearby hall and a temporary outdoor area.

Meanwhile, Trinity Church Adelaide will not prevent singing.

Trinity Church Adelaide senior pastor Des Smith said the evangelical church would be monitoring the space between church-goers and have additional cleaning as well as sanitising stations as precautions, in line with the latest health advice.

“We’ll be singing this Christmas but we say to people: If you want to bring a mask because you feel more safe, do that,” Smith said.

“We’ll certainly be very keen to be doing the right thing.”

While the faith group’s North Terrace church is set to hold half its usual capacity over the holiday period, Smith said a Christmas Eve service would be live streamed and available to watch on YouTube.

He said the church had begun airing its services after the state’s second lockdown, to enable people to stay connected with their faith regardless of the circumstances.

“It’s to make it easier for people to feel part of it, even if they can’t come in physically because they’re still feeling nervous or they’re unwell or they’re just keen to check out church but are a bit nervous about coming into the building, because that can be a big step for people,” Smith said.

Trinity has implemented QR codes as well as an online registration system for its Christmas gatherings to help make contact tracing more efficient and monitor the number of people attending services.

“We’re quite big and we normally have about 850 people come across all of our services on a Sunday,” he said.

“Obviously with the two square meter rule, our capacity has meant we can’t fit all of those people in. So we’ve rented a local school – Temple Christian College – to create a second site where people can meet.”

While the evangelical church has held a Christmas carols and kids Christmas event during previous Decembers, the events were cancelled following the State’s Parafield cluster.

Mental health over Christmas

Mental health groups, including South Australian community mental health organisation Skylight and national organisation Beyond Blue, will be available for people experiencing distress over the Christmas period.

Skylight CEO Paul Creedon said while it was “not unusual” for the mental health organisation to experience a surge in calls over the Christmas period, Skylight was already experiencing about 30 per cent increase in calls compared with last year as a result of the pandemic.

“My sense is it (Christmas) is a time where the risk of stress is heightened, even if we don’t see increased numbers.

“The expectations from the community around happy families is not true for a lot of people and so the sense of isolation and disconnectedness can be increased for a large number of people.”

He said the mental health service’s phone line had received an influx of calls during the state’s Parafield cluster.

“People who traditionally wouldn’t be accessing mental health services are now looking at doing some of that contact,” Creedon said.

“It’s around isolation and distance from the community and anxiety and depression that comes about from separation from family, the inability to travel, the difficulty even just travelling from one side of the metro area to the other as it was only a few weeks ago.”

He urged South Australians to reach out to socially isolated and vulnerable members of the community who may not be able to spend Christmas with their loved-ones.

“It’s just touching base with your community and engaging,” Creedon said.

“It’s about touching base and checking in and the notion of, ‘are you OK?’ and following that up with ‘what can we do if you’re not feeling OK’.”

Beyond Blue lead clinical advisor Grant Blashki said it was a time to show compassion.

“The festive period is a special time for many of us, but it can also be a confronting time for people who are lonely or isolated, or amid economic hardship,” he said.

“Now is a good time to be compassionate above all else – to yourself and to those who are doing it tough this year.”

  • Skylight –1800 02 2020
  • COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line, 8am-8pm – 1800 632 753
  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue  1300 22 4636
  • Lived Experience Telephone Support Service, 5pm-11.30pm – 1800 013 755
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Line – 1800 800 098
  • website

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Strictly Come Dancing 2020: week eight results – live | Television & radio










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Caroline Quentin and Johannes eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing after Cha Cha Cha fails to impress judges


aroline Quentin was the latest celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing after her Cha Cha Cha failed to impress the judges.

The judges instead chose to save Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez. Smith, 19, was in the dance-off for a second consecutive week, despite wowing the judges on Saturday night.

The former Men Behaving Badly star, 60, raised eyebrows when she licked her professional partner Johannes Radebe’s arm during Saturday night’s routine.

Craig Revel Horwood said that “one couple was outstanding and danced as though their lives depended on it and that couple I would like to save, Maisie and Gorka (Marquez).”

Anton Du Beke, who is standing in for judge Motsi Mabuse, said there were “a couple of mistakes” in Quentin and Radebe’s performance.

Head judge Shirley Ballas said she would have also chosen to save Smith and Marquez.

Quentin said she had enjoyed “the honour and privilege of working with some of the greatest dancers this country has ever known…

( PA )

“But of course my greatest gift coming on this show is this man,” she said of her dance partner.

On Saturday’s show, Ballas asked of the flirty dance: “Were you licking his arm?” while Revel Horwood quipped that Radebe “could have done without your tongue”.

She said: “I don’t think it has quite changed my life. It hasn’t really changed me physically that much. I am a bit stronger but all the rumours of losing four stone in four days are absolutely untrue.”

Quentin became the fourth celebrity to leave the show after Jacqui Smith, Jason Bell and Max George were prebiously given the boot from Strictly.

Sunday’s results show also featured a musical performance by Billy Ocean.

Strictly continues on BBC One.

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Wayne Bennett smiling and dancing, NSW Vs Queensland, Game 1, Daly Cherry-Evans

Any doubts the rugby league world had that Wayne Bennett could pull of miracles has once again been dispelled

After his Maroons claimed game one of the 2020 State of Origin series in an 18-14 win at Adelaide Oval with eight debutants in the side and NSW unbackable favourites, the match will go down as one of Queensland’s greatest ever boilovers.

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And the man at the centre of the celebrations and leading the festivities was legendary coach Wayne Bennett.

Only appointed for the role officially in early October, Bennett has orchestrated one of the great Queensland performances with the never-say-die Queenslander attitude on full display.

NSW were up 10-0 at the break, with Queensland bouncing back to lead 18-10 and then hold on for the famous result.

Before the match on Channel 9, Bennett admitted he still gets nervous despite more than 850 first grade games, three previous stints in charge of Queensland, 16 Tests in charge of Australia and another 19 for England and Great Britain.

But over the last 34 years in top level coaching, rarely have we seen Bennett like he was after this win.

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Hugging players as they entered the change rooms with a wide smile, Bennett was loving the celebrations.

Footage from the change rooms showed the smile still plastered all over his face as the 70-year-old master coach began to bust a move.

“There‘s something wrong with that, it’s like Benjamin Button,” Michael Ennis said on the Fox League post-game wrap.

Jess Yates added: “Enjoy this moment because it’s not often we get to see Wayne Bennett smiling and dancing. How good.”

Sitting down in front of the media, Bennett still couldn’t completely wipe away the grin.

“I don’t know what category you put it in but it was nice to win and I’m proud of what they did,” he said.

Asked what he said at halftime, Bennett joked: “I’m at that stage in my life where I don’t remember”.

Cherry-Evans, who was sitting next to him said he challenged some of the Maroons to get their hands on the ball and play more direct.

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans said he felt the aura around Bennett and Mal Meninga, who made up the Maroons brains trust after stepping in following Kevin Walters being hired by the Brisbane Broncos.

“I never have been coached by Wayne before and he has a presence about him,” Cherry-Evans said. “Mal I have been lucky enough to be coached by him and he definitely has a presence amongst him. It is not unnerving or unsettling, but it makes you comfortable and sure of yourself. We had that tonight.”

It was great to see Bennett like we have rarely seen him before.

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Chirag Paswan has become a ‘jamura’, dancing to someone else’s tunes: Sanjay Jha

Ahead of the assembly polls in Bihar, state minister Sanjay Kumar Jha hit back at Chirag Paswan‘s “will send Nitish to jail” diatribe by likening the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) chief to “a jamura” and said he was dancing to someone else’s tunes.

“He (Chirag) starred with Kangana Ranaut, now see where Kangana has reached. Similarly, Sushant Singh Rajput without any background made his mark in Bollywood. ‘Jamura hota hai naa, usko nachata hai madari. Ye jamura bane hue hain.’ (Just like a puppet who is controlled by the juggler, he has become a puppet),” Jha told here.

When asked about who the behind-the-scene-controller for the LJP chief is, Jha said, “It is open to interpretations.”

Jha’s attack on Chirag Paswan, is also being seen as some discomfiture in the ruling alliance over the remarks by the LJP chief. Chirag Paswan had announced that it would contest the polls on its own and not as part of the BJP-JDU alliance in the state. It has not fielded candidates against BJP but has put up against JDU candidates.

The state minister also took a jibe at Chirag Paswan’s acting career stating that the latter will fail as a politician just like his acting career went south.

“This kind of low level of politics has not been witnessed ever in Bihar. In recent times, he worked in a movie and it was that kind of a movie where people left the theatre before the interval. After the first phase of the polls, a similar fate will meet him in politics,” he added.

Jha defended the Bihar CM by stating, “Nitish Kumar has an untainted image in Bihar. You can question his work, but the work is visible to the public and they will decide on it.”

The LJP president on Sunday had said that if his party was voted to power, all those involved in “corruption” in the Nitish Kumar government’s Saat Nischay scheme, including the Chief Minister himself, would be sent to jail.

The Bihar Assembly elections will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7. The counting of votes will be held on November 10.

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