How to party in a pandemic this holiday season
Thanks to COVID, the tradition of a New Years kiss is best left in 2019.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself this festive season.
While the community has regained some sense of pre-pandemic normality, the NewsMail reached out to police and health professionals for some advice on how to safely party in a pandemic.
Senior Constable Brittany Duncan said under the current COVID restrictions 50 people were allowed to gather in homes.
If you are going to a house party, Sen Const Duncan said you should always practice social distancing, keep two big steps away from other people and avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes.
While only businesses can operate under a COVID Safe Event Checklist as listed under the Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction, the public does have the option of registering their parties with police.
Sen Const Duncan said it was important to note registering your party does not mean police will provide security or that police will attend.
"Further to that, it does not mean you can make as much noise as you want, and all alcohol licensing laws must be followed," she said.
But it's not just COVID to keep in mind while partying throughout the festive season.
She said police do attend house parties on NYE particularly for noise complaints.
"Excessive noise from your party can be reported to police anytime of the day, whether it be at 2pm or 2am," she said.
"If police are satisfied the noise is excessive in the circumstances, police have the power to enter the premises, without warrant, and give the person responsible for the noise a noise abatement direction.
"The noise abatement direction can be given verbally or in writing and will direct the person to immediately stop the excessive noise for 96 hours after the direction is given."
She said police would have a high presence in town on NYE conducting foot patrols, mobile patrols, licensed premises walk throughs and roadside breath and drug tests.
The most common issues we deal with on NYE include: noise complaints from house parties, disturbances, assaults, public nuisance offences and domestic violence.
And it's not just police who are kept busy throughout the festive season.
A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said the holiday periods were traditionally busier than usual for emergency department presentations at Bundaberg Hospital.
The spokesperson said the busiest times tended to be around Boxing Day and the days immediately following, as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
According to Bundaberg Hospital ED presentation data between December 24 2019 and January 1 2020 there was 1406 presentations.
Last year the highest number of ED presentation was on December 27 with 188 presentations.
"At the end of a challenging year for the whole community, we wouldn't expect our presentation trends to be any different this holiday season," the spokesperson said.
"We want everyone to have a happy Christmas and New Year break - but we also want people to celebrate safely.
"Whether you're on Santa's naughty or nice list this year, we'd like to remind everyone to stay up to date with the health directions that are in place during the festive season."
This includes staying physically distanced from other groups while taking part in New Year's Eve celebrations.
"We continue to urge our community to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres away from other groups - think two big steps - wherever possible.
"Please use common sense.
"Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
"And don't forget - if you're feeling sick, stay at home until you are better."
As of noon today, December 14, dancing in venues is back on.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said indoor and outdoor dancing would be allowed, with one dancer per two square metres across dancing areas in venues.
"Yesterday I met with industry stakeholders about bringing back dancing and, following their request to have some time in order to prepare their facilities, dancing will be permitted in venues from noon 14 December 2020," Dr Young said.
While dancing is the focus for the next round of easing restrictions, Dr Young will also be meeting with other industries over the next week, including the wedding and funeral industry bodies, to discuss further easing of restrictions.
"I am very comfortable with being able to bring back dancing at this time, given we have had no community transmission in Queensland for 86 days.
"As long as we keep tracking well, we'll continue to ease restrictions in a sensible way.
"It is great news that we can wiggle our hips on the dance floor again, but please remember to provide your contact details, wash your hands, keep up physical distancing and stay at home if you are sick."
Health and Ambulance Services Minister Yvette D'Ath said Queenslanders had come together this year to get us to the fortunate position we are in - "and what better way to celebrate than bringing back dancing".
"It is because of everyone's hard work and cooperation with public health directions that we will now be able to can-can at Christmas parties and rock around the clock as it strikes 12 on New Year's Eve," she said.
"Our COVID-19 success makes me feel like dancing and I encourage Queenslanders wanting to get their boogie on to do so in a COVID-safe way."
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, go and get tested.