Two of Australia’s premier sporting events, the Boxing Day Test and the Australian Open, will see full capacity crowds of cricket and tennis fans after Victoria eased COVID-19 restrictions.
The state has moved to phase D of its COVID-19 plan after reaching a 90% vaccination rate. Fully vaccinated Victorians can watch sports, dance in nightclubs and enjoy life without many restrictions in place. Masks are still advised in certain situations, but capacity limits for events have been removed.
All indoor and outdoor events with fewer than 30,000 fully vaccinated attendees will be able to take place without special approval, while outdoor events with more than 30,000 people will need to publish a COVIDSafe plan. Indoor venues, which includes stadiums that have a capacity of 30,000 or more, will also need to receive approval from the Victorian Government on its COVIDSafe plan.
In a statement, the Government said: “In good news for summer sports fans, major events like the Boxing Day Test and the Australian Open will be able to proceed at full capacity, subject to the approval of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and Melbourne Park’s COVIDSafe Plan.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “The milestone we’re about to hit is brilliant, allowing Victoria to return to something like the normal life we remember – businesses open, the city thriving and families getting back to doing the things they love together.”
The easing of restrictions in the state has also been welcomed by other sporting events such as cricket’s Big Bash League, the A-Leagues in soccer and the National Basketball League. It is also a much needed boost for the Australian Football League (AFL), which can begin its 2022 season in front of full capacity crowds at the MCG.
Martin Foley, Minister for Health, added: “By focusing on high-risk settings, cases and contacts – and safely removing rules that could sweep hundreds of thousands of people into long quarantine at any one time – Victoria is charting a path for the rests of Australia for how to live with COVID-19 as a manageable endemic when cases inevitably increase nationwide.”
Those attending major events such as the Boxing Day Test and Australian Open will have to prove they have been vaccinated against coronavirus.