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Swing Patrol and Covid Safety

(update November 2021)

Swing Patrol is operating firstly in accordance with the Victorian Department of Health (DHHS) guidelines, with a focus on those relating to Indoor Physical Recreation and Contact Sporting Activities, and secondly in accordance with specific venue Covid plans, which will vary from location to location. We are also taking guidance from AUSDance, who have an understanding of partner dancing and specifically swing dance and the type of dancing we do, described as “Recreational Structured Partner Dancing”.

After being shut down for most of the past two years, as Swing Patrol re-opens into “Covid Normal”, things will inevitably be different from the way we have known them for 20+ years. Below are the key changes you will notice:

The “vaccinated economy” – In compliance with the directions of the Victorian Government, for the protection of our community and to adhere to the requirements of the venues we hire, all attendees at Swing Patrol classes and dance activities will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or have an authorised medical exemption. This precaution will remain in place as long as the government mandate continues regarding the “vaccinated economy”.

Keeping everyone safe – DO NOT come to class if you are unwell, if experiencing any Covid symptoms, if you are awaiting Covid test results, if you have recently been in contact with a positive Covid case or have recently been at an identified exposure site. If a pre-booking has been made, Swing Patrol will provide a full refund. If a Teacher is unable to come to class, and a substitute teacher cannot be found, the class may be run with a solo teacher or cancelled at short notice. Any cancellation will be advised via the website and social media. Pre-bookings will be refunded if Swing Patrol cancels a class. To repeat, DO NOT come to class if you are unwell. The days of going dancing with a sore throat or “just a bit of a cold” are over.  

If you experience any symptoms, get tested and isolate. If you test positive for Covid-19, if you have attended a class/activity within 48 hours after experiencing symptoms or getting tested, please notify Swing Patrol (0412 309 311 OR info@swingpatrol.com.au) specifying the class/activity you attended. Swing Patrol will advise other attendees via the website and social media, as they may be regarded as “social contacts”.

QR code check-in is mandatory and must be used by all attendees to check-in at all venues. Swing Patrol hires venues in which to hold our classes and workshops, so we must adhere to the CovidSafe Plans of each individual venue. Where a venue operator has a QR code in place, we will use the venue’s system. If not, then Swing Patrol will have a QR code specific to that Swing Patrol location, using the Victorian Government QR Code Service.

Cashless Payment – As density restrictions ease, we intend to move back to casual, drop-in classes, and we will implement a cashless payment system, using Square card readers to take contactless card payments at the door. Pay by Visa, Mastercard or EFTPOS card. Swing Patrol Class Cards will also be honoured.

Class Cards – Existing Swing Patrol Class Card will be honoured. Cards with an expiry date of March 2020 or later are still valid. If pre-paid online registration is required, those who have existing Swing Patrol Class Cards will need to register online for no cost, and produce your Class Card at the door on the night of the class (no card, no entry.) Until we can confidently open classes more fully and accessibly, with a broader timetable, we are not selling Class Cards or Gift Vouchers. We don’t want to promise something we’re not sure we can deliver.  

Face Masks – these should be worn in accordance with current public health guidelines. Where masks are not mandated, attendees may choose to wear a mask at any time before, during or after class. Note that masks are not recommended when out of breath or puffing from strenuous exercise (eg. dancing) and that masks are less effective when damp. Masks should be handled with care – do not touch the front of the mask when putting on or removing, and sanitise hands immediately after handling a mask. Masks should not be disposed of at the venue – take your used mask home with you eg. in a plastic bag.

Hygiene & distancing – Everyone will sanitise hands upon entry to and exit from the venue, and sanitiser will be available for use as you wish throughout the class. You may wish to bring your own mini hand sanitiser to use during class, to speed up the process.

You must bring your own water bottle. There will be NO shared water or food, no water glasses provided, no mints or lollies on the table.

We will ask that you don’t congregate around the check-in table, and that you minimise gathering indoors – students are encouraged not to congregate in foyer/hall to chat. Furniture in the venue will be arranged accordingly, to remind you not to gather indoors. Please observe signage displayed at the venue with regard to distancing, traffic flow etc. and keep appropriate distance when not dancing.

Where there are two lessons or sessions on the same night, there will be 10-15 minutes between lessons to minimise crossover between attendees and allow for high-touch surface cleaning. Please vacate the premises as soon as possible after your lesson to help facilitate this process.

As Swing Patrol hires venues in which to hold our classes and workshops, we must adhere to the CovidSafe Plans of each individual venue. Thus, density requirements, check-in and record keeping procedures, traffic flow and distancing recommendations etc will differ from one location to another. Please observe signage displayed at the venue.

Partner Dancing – While Swing Patrol has received advice from Business Victoria’s Covid Hotline that partner dancing is permitted, we are naturally cautious and understand that many in our community will be too. We are guided by AUSDance’s description of “Recreational Structured Partner Dancing” which is permitted, with partner changing, though distancing should be maintained everywhere else but the “field of play” (ie the dance floor). 

Swing Patrol has always encouraged partner changing in classes and workshops, as it offers a better learning experience and promotes the inclusive, friendly, social style of dancing we value. We will continue to run classes with partner changing, by default. However, we recognise this may not always be appropriate for everyone. If people BYO partner and don’t wish to join the rotation, that’s fine. Please advise the teachers at the start of the class and they will manage the class in a way that identifies those not participating in the partner-changing, so as to avoid confusion during the lesson.

Depending on the venue layout and number of attendees, Teachers may organise the class into “mini bubbles”, eg. 3 or 4 pairs who rotate only among themselves, to minimise contact with the wider group. Teachers may also adjust the orientation of the class, for example into lines instead of a large circle.

What about social dancing? – Regulations for partner dancing may be best equated with the DHHS Victoria industry guidelines for Indoor Physical Recreation and Contact Sporting Activities with a COVIDSafe Plan. As such, social dancing may be permitted, within the following parameters:

  • * DO NOT attend if you are experiencing any Covid symptoms, if you are awaiting Covid test results, if you have recently been in contact with a positive Covid case or have recently been at an identified exposure site. .
  • * Strict adherence to venue density limits.
  • * ALL attendees must must check in with QR code, even if they have pre-registered online. Teachers/door staff will assist if your phone can’t read the QR code.
  • * ALL attendees must sanitise hands on entry and exit from the venue.
  • * Attendees are strongly encouraged to wash hands or use sanitiser regularly between dances with different partners.
  • * Attendees are reminded that physical distancing protocols still apply and it is recommended to minimise contact and maintain appropriate distance when not on the “field of play” (ie. the dance floor).
  • * No sharing of shared food or drink, no water glasses provided, no mints or lollies on the table. BYO water bottle.
  • * Time limits – initially, social dancing activities will be limited to after classes or workshops, for up to one hour.

With these guidelines in mind, and with constant monitoring of DHHS advice and community sentiment, Swing Patrol will work toward resuming social dancing activities (eg. Club Maxie’s, Fun Pit, Swing Balls and events) in the coming months.

Everyone – Swing Patrol management, teachers and students – should adhere to DHHS guidelines with regard to testing, isolating, reporting and quarantining. All members of the community should continue to monitor DHHS announcements on current restriction levels, exposure sites etc. coronavirus.vic.gov.au

To view Swing Patrol’s COVIDSafe Plan, download via the link below:

Swing Patrol Dance Group COVIDSafe Plan (Melbourne)_29112021