A Human Nature concert in Sydney over the weekend has come under fire for its rather lax approach to social distancing following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The performance from the ARIA Hall of Famers, which took place at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre in Rooty Hill on Saturday evening, occurred on the same day that New South Wales reported 19 new cases, and just hours before a compulsory mask mandate in greater Sydney was enforced.
However, given the rising severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the eastern state, questions have been raised as to why audience members were not taking proper precautions to ensure this gig would not be their last of the year.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday morning, engineer and Certified Occupational Hygienist Kate Cole shared a photo of the concert’s crowd, pointing out the lack of masks and social distancing.
“This photo was taken last night inside the @sydneycoliseum theatre,” Cole wrote. “I realise that new rules didn’t come into effect until midnight last night…but COVID doesn’t follow public health orders.”
This photo was taken last night inside the @sydneycoliseum theatre.
I realise that new rules didn’t come into effect until midnight last night…but COVID doesn’t follow public health orders. pic.twitter.com/0EtlVVp6pS
— Kate Cole (@kate_cole_) January 2, 2021
No social distancing, very few masks and a predominantly older audience. https://t.co/VqrKDxErZo
— Jodi McKay (@JodiMcKayMP) January 3, 2021
In a statement given to Nine.com.au, Sydney Coliseum Theatre general manager Trish Charan explained that the audience had been urged to wear masks, while free masks were also offered at the venue. Prior to the performance, ticket vendor Ticketek had contacted concertgoers to remind them that masks were recommended, but not compulsory at the venue, which would usually hold 2,000 people, but ultimately hosted just under its allowed capacity of 75%.
Prior to New South Wales making masks mandatory for greater Sydney from midnight on Saturday, it was required that masks be worn if it was difficult to maintain a physical distance of 1.5m from others. However, the photo of the concert that been shared on social media indicates that the physical proximity of audience members necessitated the use of masks throughout the venue.
While Human Nature haven’t addressed the incident themselves at the current time, the concert took place just weeks after Toby Allen had been forced to miss shows in Brisbane and Canberra due to a period of hotel isolation following his potential exposure to someone with COVID-19 during a flight.
Human Nature were also scheduled to perform at Adelaide’s Bonython Park on Friday, January 8th, and Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Saturday, January 9th, but due to recent border closures, these concerts have also been cancelled.