Sydney’s longest-running gay sauna Bodyline has closed its doors, citing COVID-19 in an announcement on its Facebook page.
“Bodyline would like to thank our patrons and the community support for the last 30 years,” the Darlinghurst venue said in the statement on Thursday.
They’d made the difficult decision to close “due to COVID, ongoing restrictions and uncertainty around” community transmission of the coronavirus.
“For the safety of our staff and patrons, we have made the difficult, but what we think is the responsible, decision to close until further notice.”
QNews.com.au has contacted Bodyline Sydney for further comment on the closure.
Bodyline Sydney is NSW’s first legal gay bathhouse
Bodyline Sydney opened in 1991, becoming the first lawfully-established gay bathhouse in Sydney.
But at the time, it received some pushback. The sauna was initially denied development approval by the South Sydney Council.
New South Wales’ Disorderly Houses Act, a law frequently used to target brothels, was used to try to prevent it from opening.
However a NSW Land and Environment Court judge later ruled in favour of Bodyline, allowing it to operate. It was the state’s first lawfully-established “sex on premises” venue.
In the early 1990s, Geoff Delandelles and partner Craig Weedon opened a Bodyline sauna in Brisbane after Queensland decriminalised homosexuality.
The first premises, in the inner Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, later relocated to West End in the early 2000s. It closed in 2018.
The men also opened Bodyline Sydney on Taylor Street, Darlinghurst. They opened a third at Bundall on the Gold Coast, which closed in the 1990s.