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NSW Government relaxes restrictions for cinemas, events, sport and theatre

NSW Government relaxes restrictions for cinemas, events, sport and theatre
September 25, 2020

The NSW Government has announced that live performances will return across the state next week with theatres, cinemas and concert halls allowed to increase audience numbers to as many as 1000 as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

The easing measures will also allow more people to attend community sporting events while restrictions around school and community life are also being lifted.

With NSW seeing a reduction in Coronavirus case numbers, reporting three consecutive days of zero community transmissions, the NSW Premier's Major Events Taskforce will allow entertainment venues and conference centres to significantly boost capacity.

From 1st October, theatres will be able to sell tickets for 50% capacity of their venues up to 1000 people and corporate events will be able to host up to 300 people as long as all attendees are seated.

Advising that the easing is a major step towards recovery for the arts sector, as well as allowing audiences to "enjoy experiences we have all missed so much during the pandemic", NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin stated “for workers across the full spectrum of the performing arts - from box office staff to ushers, from technicians and roadies to the artists - this change means more jobs.”

The government is also relaxing other restrictions, including allowing wedding parties back on the dance floor and more than one parent will be able to watch their children's weekend sports.

Several restrictions on schools will also be eased next term, and parents will also have more freedom to watch their children play school sport.

Choirs will be allowed for five students and music ensembles will return with unlimited numbers of students as long as players keep a 1.5 metre distance from one another, or three metres for musicians of non-reeded woodwind instruments.

Parents will be able to return to volunteering for activities in schools, including reading groups and garden programs, and Year 6 formals and celebrations, school assemblies and presentation days are expected to go ahead at the end of term four.

School camps and excursions will be allowed as long as the venues have COVID-safe plans.

Orientation and transition programs will also go ahead for kindergarten and year 7 students starting in 2021.

The NSW Government will open inter-school and zone sports competitions, with parents allowed to attend community sports venues as long as they can maintain social distancing.

NSW acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said the changes to community sport will be a welcome relief for parents, explaining “from this weekend, more than one parent may now attend community sporting activities if physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained between people that are not from the same household.”

The NSW Government has supported the arts and cultural sector throughout the pandemic with support packages such as the $6.34 million support for arts, screen and cultural organisations as well as the $50 million Rescue and Restart package.

With sporting finals to be held across the state this weekend, the NSW Rugby League has welcomed the easing of some restrictions around community sport.

NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden thanked rugby league participants, staff, officials and volunteers for the role they have played in keeping community sport alive by adhering to the NSW Government’s guidelines as they have continued to be updated in a fluid and unpredictable environment.

Trodden stated “we have always placed the utmost importance on the health and safety of our stakeholders and have emphasised compliance with the Public Health Orders and advice of the NSW Government so as to play our part in limiting the possible spread of coronavirus across the state.

“The fact we have managed to run competitions for more than 70,000 participants across metropolitan and regional NSW for the past 10 weeks is a credit to everyone involved.”

The updated advice announced for community sport, effective from Saturday 26th September, includes:

• More than one parent may now attend community sporting activities if physical distancing of at least 1.5 metre can be maintained between people that are not from the same household.
• Interregional community sporting competitions may recommence without restricting these activities to regions or zones, where there is a COVID-19 Safety Plan for the school or community sport activity in place.
• School and community sports organisations and participants should continue to avoid shared travel arrangements such as carpooling, and to minimise gatherings before and after the event.
• Ensure strict compliance with all other elements of the COVID-19 Safety Plan and the Public Health Order which is still in place. 

Images: Venues such as the Sydney Coliseum will be able to welcome audiences up to 1000 as of 1st October (top) while sporting finals this weekend can be attended by more than one parent per child (below). 

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