A Hillsong Youth event was slammed earlier today for being allowed to go ahead on the premise that it’s a religious event, despite COVID related public health orders.

Now, NSW Health has confirmed that the event does, in fact, breach public health orders. The government department has announced that the Newcastle event is in violation of the rules.

“While the order does not apply to religious services, it does apply to major recreation facilities and this event is clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the order,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

“NSW has requested Hillsong immediately stop singing and dancing at an event being held in the Newcastle area,” a statement obtained by The Daily Aus read.

The event received backlash after the Hillsong Youth Instagram account uploaded videos of thousands of attendees singing and dancing at a gathering that closely resembled a music festival.

Newly introduced public health orders forbid singing and dancing in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities. However, they applied only to “pubs, clubs, nightclubs, bars and restaurants” and not to weddings and churches.

Many social media users and local artists slammed NSW Health for allowing the event to go ahead when numerous live music events were forced to cancel. In recent days, several festivals were cancelled or postponed in wake of the new restrictions, including Grapevine and UNIFY Forever.
Even Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp voiced his distaste over the Hillsong Youth event.

“It’s very, very disappointing, after we’ve had two local music festivals cancelled,” he said.

“This is the exact behaviour that health experts have deemed too risky at the moment, yet the organisers of this event seem to feel it’s absolutely fine for them to do so.”

Prior to the most recent statement from NSW Health condemning the Youth festival, Hillsong insisted that their event didn’t breach any public health orders, saying it was “not similar to a music festival in any way”.

“Our camps involve primarily outdoor recreational activities including sports and games,” it said in a statement.

“We follow strict COVID procedures and adhere to government guidelines.”

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