Around 93 % Of Sydney’s Gay Bars Rebounded After COVID-19 Restrictions Ended: Study

Around 93 % Of Sydney’s Gay Bars Rebounded After COVID-19 Restrictions Ended: Study
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A new study suggests that, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sydney has “one of the most resilient” Queer communities in the world.

According to a new Policy Paper released today by the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, 93% of gay bars, venues, and events surveyed in Sydney and regional NSW rebounded following COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions ended.

Study Looked At 56 Sydney Venues

The study called, The Impacts of COVID-19 on Gay Bars and Events in New South Wales, Australia, looked at 56 gay bars, venues, and events. 

Of the 56 venues, only six venues, bars, or events had closed during the height of COVID-19, while two new events had opened. So a total net loss of 4 venues and events, representing only a 7% decline.

The study, however, also found that NSW regional gay businesses were slower to reopen than in Sydney. Of the 40 percent of businesses with the longest delay in reopening were located in regional NSW. 

A Contrast When Compared With Global Trends

This Sydney resilience is in contrast to global trends. 

According to data from U.S. national travel guidebook of LGBTQ+ spaces, the Damron Guide, there was a 36.6% decline in gay bars between 2007 and 2019. This included a 51.9% decline in lesbian bar listings, a 59.3% decline in men’s bar listings, and a 59.3% decline in listings for people of colour.

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy in the Department of Government and International Relations and the study’s Chief Investigator, Dr Chris Pepin-Neff stated, “Sydney is leading the queer world in the recovery from COVID-19.” 

“Globally gay bars are struggling, but in Sydney they are thriving.”

More Targeted Investment From The NSW Government Is Needed

They went on to explain, “This data illustrates the resilience of the LGBTIQ+ community in NSW in its ability to rebound following COVID, to save gay spaces, and to be an example to the world in queer community building. We published these initial findings due to the exceptional circumstances of the global pandemic and its impact on marginalised communities.

“New South Wales has a lot to be proud of as it welcomes WorldPride to Sydney in two weeks. And yet, we need to remember many are still struggling in the regions and this paper highlights this need.”

Pepin-Neff added, “Following this research, I am suggesting more targeted investment from the NSW Government into more marginalised LGBTIQ+ communities and regional NSW.”

Along with Pepin-Neff, the study was co-authored by Dr. Laura Welty, Ben Ormerod, and Dr. Juliet Bennett.

In NSW, the 2021 COVID-19 lockdowns lasted around 107 days.

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