John Vandenberg annoyed by Hillsong and religious song and dance loophole | West Central Daily

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John Vandenberg thinks it’s ‘ridiculous’ that people are allowed to sing in church but not in pubs in a measure the government has put in place to try to stop the spread of COVID across the state . The owner of the Blind Pig was further outraged when news emerged that NSW Police had ruled out fining the organizers of a Hillsong Church youth camp where crowds were filmed flouting “at both the spirit and the intent” of the COVID-19 public health orders. “It would be the same as if they said you can sing in a pub but you can’t sing in church, people would bring up religious discrimination,” he said. “It discriminates against people’s right to let loose on a weekend.” Singing and dancing have been banned in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities, nightclubs and major leisure facilities from January 8, although the order does not apply to religious services, including the marriages. In a statement, Hillsong said the summer camp event “is nothing like a music festival” and that “a video circulating on social media (Thursday) reflects a few minutes of this part of the program” . Mr Vandenberg said that in the week after the new restrictions took effect, his company’s revenue fell by 65%. “I can guarantee that this ban on singing and dancing as the main attack (by the government) on the attempt to control COVID will not do anything,” he added. “The restrictions have been there for over a week now and have the number of cases gone down? No, they haven’t.” On the day the new restrictions took effect, the state had 45,098 COVID cases, down from 38,625 and 34,994 the previous two days. For the four days following Jan. 8, the state’s average daily count was 27,746, although that number has since risen due to rapid antigen testing now included in the counts. But it’s not just religious groups where Mr. Vandenberg sees a double standard. “We’re all jumping around and shouting and angry about it, but we don’t have the support like big sports with the game and the publicity,” he said. “Just watching cricket is what really pissed me off watching cricket. I love it but seeing 30,000 people sitting there shouting and singing and the Barmy Army singing but nothing was done about it.” Mr. Vandenberg added that venues like his are already making efforts with potential customers canceling reservations left, right and center due to the ongoing COVID outbreak. “The place is about absolute inclusivity and now we can’t do that,” he said. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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