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Australian Open to continue without crowds as Victorian Government closes facilities during new lockdown
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has this afternoon announced that the state will enter a new lockdown from 11.59pm tonight (Friday 12th February) that will see venues closed and most events halted over a five-day period.
Introduced due to growing COVID-19 cases linked to a Melbourne quarantine hotel, the Stage 4 lockdown will not halt the Australian Open but will see the Grand Slam continue without crowds until at least next Thursday.
Announcing the new lockdown, Premier Andrews stated “I am confident that this short, sharp circuit breaker will be effective (and that) we will be able to prevent it getting away from us.”
As part of the lockdown, public gatherings will no longer be permitted, along with leaving home for any reason other than essential supplies, care, caregiving, exercise and essential work, and a 5 kilometre travel distance for exercise and shopping has been put in place.
Premier Andrews went on to advise “public gatherings won’t be able to go ahead (and) gyms, pools, community centres, entertainment venues and libraries will all need to close.
“And as with Stage 4 restrictions, all non-essential retail will close, but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open. Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.”
The closure of leisure venues includes all indoor physical recreation and sport venues, as well as outdoor physical recreation and community sport venues.
Australian Open and AFLW
With the five-day lockdown commencing at 11:59pm today, Tennis Australia advised “Australian Open sessions today and tonight will continue as planned with COVIDSafe protocols in place”.
However, with the event to continue without crowds, the body added “we are notifying ticketholders, players and staff that there will be no fans onsite at the AO for five days, commencing from Saturday 13th February.
“Full refunds will be available for anyone who has tickets for these sessions and they will be advised on how to apply as soon as possible.”
With the AFLW putting all ticket sales on hold for the upcoming weekend of matches, Premier Andrews advised “AFLW … or any number of other large and small professional sport events, they will function essentially as a workplace.”
“But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds.
“And the workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be COVIDSafe and safe in lots of other contexts.”
Tennis Australia advised that its broadcast-only contingency plan will commence from tomoroow and that “play will continue uninterrupted on the broadcast, albeit without spectators onsite”.
In a communication to stakeholders and users, the RampFest Indoor Skate Park noted “(it) looks like we're all heading back into lockdown, but at least it's only 5x days this time. Both QLD & WA managed small outbreaks with a short-sharp lockdown, so fingers crossed we can do the same in VIC.
“We know this sucks, and it wrecks our weekend plans... but hey, in VIC we know how bad a 2nd wave can be, we don't want a 3rd wave. We'll all get through this and bounce back next Thursday.”
Theme and water park Gumbuya World advised “(we) will temporarily close until 11.59pm Wednesday 17th February in line with the latest restrictions set in place by the State Government.
“The health and safety of our guests, staff, wildlife and the wider community are our priority and first concern.”
Industry group Vic Active posted on social media “VIC Active confirms that fitness centres will be forced to close at 11.59PM tonight and should reopen for Thursday morning trade.
“Fitness Centres are COVID-19 Safe and must stay open if Victoria is to avoid a physical and mental health catastrophe.
Image: Socially distanced Australian Open crowds at Melbourne Park this week.
9th February 2021 - Community sport facilities deliver $7 billion value to Victoria
8th February 2021 - COVIDSafe measures in place across Melbourne Park precinct for Australian Open
1st February 2021 - Work completed on Melbourne Park’s new Show Court Arena roof
30th January 2021 - Victorian Government approves crowd limit of 30,000 per day for Australian Open
28th January 2021 - Ticket Sale Success and ‘This Is Us’ Campaign marks AFLW 2021 Season launch
29th January 2021 - Australian Open tennis players start leaving hotel quarantine
25th January 2021 - Organisers announce cancellation of AIME 2021 due to COVID-19 Implications
17th December 2020 - ATP reveals 2021 schedule with Australian Open to start on 8th February
2nd December 2020 - Australian Open to be moved back to February to allow player quarantine period
23rd November 2020 - VIC Active questions remaining caps on Victorian gym operations
8th November 2020 - VIC Active looks to fitness reawakening after ‘COVID-19 imposed slumber’
3rd November 2020 - Melbourne fitness facilities prepare for post-lockdown reopening
8th October 2020 - Fitness Australia releases research showing impact of lockdown gym closures
4th October 2020 - Australian Open looks for 2021 event to run at half capacity
11th September 2020 - Victorian Government plans look at venues reopening from 26th October
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