Diary of the last night out on Glitter Strip
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was not time for a big night after squeezing a 100-person limit for non-essential indoor gatherings to one per four square metres. The Bulletin hit the Glitter Strip on Friday night to take the pulse.
9pm: Text mate to see if he wants to join for a trawl through Surfers Paradise bars. Mate replies: "Isn't everything closed? Also, are you nuts?" I reply: "No. Yes."
9.15pm: Nicollinis restaurant closed, staff are packing up.
9.30pm: The Island rooftop bar has 20 in the bar. A chatty young bartender no doubt thrilled he still has a job says "It's all pretty quiet with this virus" and half the venues have shut due to the restrictions.
"But they were never going to shut down the entire Surfers Paradise night-life. That would pretty much cripple our entire economy. They should just open it all up and hope everyone is super f---ing clean." One patron sitting alone looks like the smartest person in the room.
10pm: White Rhino Bar & Eats has a decent crowd. I count about 100 inside and out. They have continued to invest in live music. I move from the indoor bar where capacity is 100 to the outdoor bar where it's 500. A waitress says please stick to one or the other as they are keeping track of numbers.
A Rhino chef having a knock-off beer in its outdoor bar says he knows 50 fellow chefs laid off earlier in the day. They are hoping to get supermarket shelf-stacking gigs.
"You actually have an OK crowd," I tell a bartender.
"I know. Somehow!" he says. "People are scared to go out man. Melbas is closed. It's closed man. Crazy!" he says.
11pm: Melbas. Closed. Crazy.
11.30pm: Avenue is at its 100 capacity. I join a queue, one in, one out. A guy at the bar says he always comes out on Friday and usually goes to Avenue - he's never seen it so quiet.
I ask The Avenue manager if they will be able to stay profitable with the restrictions as they stand. He shrugs philosophically and says: "I guess we will find out tonight."
Noon today for the foreseeable: Licensed venues shut.
Originally published as Diary of the last night out on Glitter Strip