Changes to NSW virus restrictions

Changes to NSW virus restrictions
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Crowds at major sporting events will double, with the Berejiklian Government set to relax restrictions around spectator numbers.

Currently, stadiums are only allowed 25 per cent capacity, which will increase to 50 per cent under the new measures. However, there will be a cap – a maximum of 40,000 spectators at any venue including ANZ and Bankwest stadiums.

The new measures will kick off on October 1, just in time for the NRL finals.

Spectators will be encouraged to wear a mask when they’re not sitting in their seats, but it will not be mandated.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was an “expectation” that people would wear one.

The one person per four square metre rule will also apply, and seat allocation will follow a “checkerboard” approach to reduce the risk of transmission. COVID marshals will also be employed.

“Can I stress that while these major events and one-off events will continue, the stadiums won’t be anywhere near capacity for ordinary matches,” the Premier said.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres echoed Ms Berejiklian’s comments and said doubling spectator numbers was a “reflection of the fantastic work” done by NSW residents.

“For a number of months now we’ve been able to host events with thousands of people in stadiums in a safe fashion, and we’ve been able to take that evidence and apply it to this reduced restriction,” he said.

Up to 15,000 people will be able to pour into Bankwest Stadium, 23,000 at the SCG, and ANZ Stadium can host 40,000.

“As people enter they’re expected to wear a mask,” Mr Ayres said.

“We want people to practise social distancing as they’re moving around.

“It’s so important that when people purchase their ticket they understand what the requirements are for entering the venue, the time frames for which they arrive and how they would leave the venue.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard acknowledged that a larger crowd “obviously” increases risk of transmission but said venues and sporting organisations would have a responsibility to keep people safe.

If venues didn’t follow COVID safe plans they wouldn’t be able to open for the NRL finals series, Mr Ayres added.

The Events Taskforce is working with NSW Health to assess increasing capacity at McDonald Jones Stadium, WIN Stadium, Ken Rosewall Arena and Penrith Stadium.

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