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Fans attending the second Test at the SCG must wear a mask at all times except when eating and drinking, the New South Wales government has announced.
The NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, said on Wednesday morning anyone not wearing a mask faced a $1,000 fine, as part of further incremental changes to public health protocols for the third Test between Australia and India, beginning on Thursday.
“From the moment effectively you get into the transport to get there, and get into the queue at the front door of the SCG, and go to your seat, and sit in the your seat, you must wear a mask,” Hazzard said.
“The only exception to that, if you’re eating or drinking. Obviously, Dr [Kerry] Chant and the public health team want people to enjoy a day at the cricket, but it’s a Covid day at the cricket and that means mask on, not mask off, unless you’re eating or drinking.”
Victorian authorities revealed on Wednesday morning that a man who tested positive for Covid-19 had attended the Boxing Day Test at the MCG on 27 December. It is believed the man was not infectious at the time, but investigations were under way into whether he could have caught the virus at the venue.
Hazzard said any person who had attended the MCG on that day and sat in Zone Five of the Great Southern Stand between 12.30pm and 3.30pm was now banned from attending the SCG, and faced a $1,000 fine if they did.
“You may think you won’t get caught,” Hazzard said. “I can assure you that there has been plenty of evidence already of citizens, residents, willing to speak up and tell us when someone is doing the wrong thing.”
Hazzard said the Melbourne case had “obviously influenc[ed] our thinking” and that, while the government had hoped not to have to mandate masks, advice from public health officials was to “step it up to that higher level”.
“It’s about keeping people safe … and we’re of some view that masks are an essential element of the armoury of keeping people safe.”
Hazzard also added Wentworth and Belmore to the list of suburbs whose residents are banned from attending – announced on Tuesday as Auburn, Berala, Lidcombe North, Regents Park and Rookwood. Anyone from those suburbs also faces a $1,000 fine if caught inside the SCG.
Hazzard offered no indication similar protocols would be implemented at other sporting events, including A-League games.
“Obviously, cricket presents a little different issue,” he said. “It’s literally five days. In some cases the real enthusiasts will be there for five days, potentially 10 to 12 hours. In a footy match, you’ll probably be there for a couple of hours. It’s balancing the risk with the outcome.”
The capacity of the SCG for the Test has been cut to just 25%, although NSW authorities have said that may be flexible as the game goes on.
The Australian Medical Associated reiterated calls on Wednesday morning to ban crowds from the SCG entirely. The AMA NSW president, Dr Danielle McMullen, said the state “needs to pump the brakes on mass gatherings until we can get on top of these outbreaks”.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Fans at Sydney cricket Test must wear masks at all times inside SCG, or face $1,000 fine | Australia cricket team