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Australian Prime Minister moves forward relaxation of Coronavirus rules to allow crowds to return to sport and entertainment

Australian Prime Minister moves forward relaxation of Coronavirus rules to allow crowds to return to sport and entertainment
June 12, 2020

Australians could enjoy being part of outdoor crowds of up to 10,000 at ticketed concerts, festivals and sporting events as part of new relaxed physical distancing rules proposed following today’s meeting of the National Cabinet.

In a media conference following the National Cabinet teleconference, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison advised that the Federal Government will also allow attendance of up to 25% capacity at stadiums that have a capacity of less 40,000 for events that are ticketed and seated and that the 100 per person cap for each indoor gathering during Step Three will be removed, to be replaced by a four-square-metre rule for all premises.

Advising that states and territories would be implement the changes in July, Prime Minister Morrison stated that venues operating at quarter capacity “would have to be a large, open area (with) seats at the appropriate distance.”

Two weeks after the resumption of the NRL and one day after the resumption of the AFL, Prime Minister Morrison signalled that further exemptions could be made for larger venues such as the MCG, Sydney's ANZ Stadium and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Noting that details are still being worked out in conjunction with chief health officers around the country, Prime Minister Morrison explained that events “would need to be ticketed, so people would be able to understand who was in attendance at that event”, adding "when you're up above 40,000, you've got more than 10,000 people going to a gathering, that has implications for the egress and access of and to those premises, public transport crushes, all those sorts of things.

"That will require much more significant work (but it will see) people able to watch the games, not as cardboard cutouts but in person, should they be fortunate enough to get one of those seats.”

Noting that while outdoor festivals will be allowed, but they will need to offer seating to patrons, Prime Minister Morrison went on to say “if we're talking about large folk festivals where people roam around from tent to tent, and gathering to gathering, that is not something that is being talked about here.”

The changes will be implemented as states move to ease restrictions at their own pace.

Friday's National Cabinet meeting heard that all states and territories were on track to complete the move to the new stage three restrictions next month.

The teleconference agreed that the limit of 100 people on indoor gatherings will also be scrapped, with no limit on numbers, but a requirement that venues - including pubs, clubs and restaurants - allow for four square metres of space per person.

Morrison said that would allow for weddings, funerals and other indoor events to only be limited by the size of their venue, but said nightclubs would remain shut.

The meeting also agreed that a pilot would allow international students to come study at approved institutions from July.

In terms of borders, with the Queensland Government confirming it intended to reopen from 10th July and the South Australia Government announced it would do so from 20th July, Prime Minister Morrison continued to pressure states and suggested that only Western Australia might miss the July deadline to reopen.

At a press conference in Adelaide, the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, announced the state would also bring forward its move into stage three from 3rd July to 29th June.

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, announced that from 19th June venues would have a new occupancy limit of 100 people per enclosed space, with theatres, cinemas and concert venues also able to reopen.

Images: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (top) and the MCC - one of the 40,000+ capacity venues for which exemptions could be made for to accommodate sporting crowds (below).

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