February 23, 2021

Partying in a pandemic: Staying COVID-safe over Mardi Gras

You’ve heard of Party and Play, now get ready for the new PnP in town – partying in a pandemic!

This year, Mardi Gras looks a little different. With COVID-19 restrictions and the need for social distancing, getting sweaty on a dancefloor with 10,000 others just isn’t possible. We’ve compiled a handy list of tips for things to think about when partying this Mardi Gras – COVID-style.


  1. Stay COVID-safe: Don’t share drug equipment with others, sanitise the packaging your drugs come in before you use, wash your hands frequently, and adhere to social distancing measures. Read more information on staying COVID-safe while using drugsdrinking alcohol, and smoking.
  2. Know who you’re partying with: Check in to venues and keep an attendance list at house parties to facilitate any contact tracing that might be necessary.
  3. Be aware of your tolerance: If you stopped using, or used less, during COVID, you might have a decreased tolerance. Take less than what you normally would. Always start low, and go slow. Take a small amount and wait until you feel the effects before using again.
  4. Be aware of changes in drug purity: COVID-19 has impacted the drug market, which may affect what’s in whatever you’re taking. Take a small amount to start with and make sure the effects you’re feeling are the desired ones before taking any more.
  5. Be mindful of local drug alerts: This year has seen the presence of fentanyl in a number of substances. Keep up to date with NSW Health drug alerts and Pivot Point to understand what they mean for you.
  6. Keep up to date with COVID regulations: Check the NSW Health website and ensure that your social calendar is keeping in line with current restrictions. Stay up to date with hotspot locations and follow the advice of NSW health if you need to isolate.
  7. Respect the boundaries of those around you: We all have different circumstances when it comes to COVID and our health and wellbeing. While you should always keep to the current restrictions, some people may have firmer boundaries, especially if they are susceptible to illness or come into contact with vulnerable populations. Check in with those around you about their boundaries, and respect them.
  8. Have flexible plans: The COVID situation could change at any time. Make sure your plans are flexible so you can adapt to any last minute changes. Have the Zoom link on standby (but don’t party alone)!
  9. Host events in well ventilated spaces: If you’re planning a gathering, consider hosting in an outdoors space, or somewhere with plenty of ventilation and space for people to physically distance.
  10. Stay home if you’re unwell, and get tested: It really sucks to miss the party, but spreading COVID sucks more.
  11. Expect to see police: Police will likely be out in force over Mardi Gras, mandating social distancing restrictions, as well as laws around drugs and alcohol.
  12. Read up on the advice at Fair PlayKnow your rights around police and the law.
  13. Plan your travel: make sure you have a plan for how you’re getting home, and a mask if you need to take public transport or a taxi.
  14. Be your own Rover: You won’t see as many ACON Rovers out and about this Mardi Gras. If you’re partying at your own or a friend’s place, you might need to be your own rover. Find out more about safer partying at home, and getting help in an emergency.