On the heels of Victoria announcing a state of emergency, Melbourne’s ever-flourishing nightlife has found itself in a moment of panic. Various LGBTQI venues are scrambling to find the best way to keep the community safe in uncharted waters.

While many LGBTQI venues are still running, COVID-19 panic is hard to ignore. Bars and clubs usually bustling with people are finding their patrons are sparse. 

Popular Melbourne institutions such as Poof Doof and The Laird are continuing business as usual,  but are taking extra precautions in order to ensure the safety of their visitors. This includes limiting numbers for each venue, encouraging social distancing, and stocking up their bathrooms with hand sanitiser stations.

Many well-known venues are working with local government and within the confines of Department of Health regulations. LGBTQI bars, Evie’s Disco Diner and The Bottom End continue to open their doors while ensuring top tier safety measures. Sites like Yah Yah’s, The Peel, Attik, and Tomboy also continue to roll out new events while encouraging all patrons to continue regular hygiene techniques.

Few popular venues have chosen to close their doors entirely, however  two staples of Melbourne’s queer scene, Sircuit and Mollies, are closed for the foreseeable future.

“The struggle for businesses to survive, for our collective team to “survive” is real.”

Said marketing manager Chris Driscoll in a public statement.  

In a time when performers are finding their finances in turmoil, beloved establishment Pride of our Footscray Community Bar has dedicated themselves to supporting their performers while closed. 

Issuing a statement, Pride announced it will provide “emergency financial support for its staff for the period.”

And that it is “working hard with its entertainers and organisers on ways to keep people entertained through this unprecedented situation.”

As more and more people around the world practice social distancing, the damage on LGBTQI nightlife in Melbourne and around the world is increasingly hard to ignore. 

We’ll continue to update you as the situation unfolds.

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