Major NSW Stadiums Will Now Be Allowed to Host 50-Percent Capacity Crowds
Attendees will have to wear masks while they're going to and from the venue — and the change only applies to major annual events.
Sydney isn't typically a crowd-averse city, as anyone who has tried to move around town during a huge drawcard like Vivid knows. But, in 2020, gathering en masse hasn't been on the agenda due to COVID-19 — including at sporting events in the state's big stadiums.
Today, Thursday, September 17, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that's changing — for major ticketed and seated events at select venues. As the Premier explained, "the health advice now says that major stadia in NSW are able to go to 50-percent capacity rather than 25 percent".
"In many ways, a large venue, so long as it has tickets and seats and zones, and very specific caveats, is available to be a managed and controlled event — and especially given it's outdoors, it also reduces the further risk," Premier Berejiklian noted. In terms of those caveats, the four-square metre rule applies, as does allocated chequerboard seating, clearcut zones splitting up the crowd's seating, and separate entry and exit areas.
Also, for everyone attending, "there will be an expectation for people to wear masks when they're going to their seats," the Premier advised. She explained that once folks are seated, they won't have to keep their mask on; however "in getting to the venue and getting out of the venue, there is an expectation that everyone will be wearing a mask".
The above changes, which come into effect from Thursday, October 1, mean that Bankwest Stadium will be able to host 15,000 people, while up to 40,000 folks can go to Stadium Australia. COVIDSafe plans for both venues have been supplied and approved, with the SCG's currently under consideration by NSW Health. If it is given the go-ahead, 23,000 will be able to head to the stadium.
And if you're wondering why these capacities are being altered right now — and only for major events at major outdoor stadiums, rather than other events and types of venues — it's worth remembering the current time of year. Sure, it's spring, but NRL finals season is also approaching. It's due to kick off on Friday, October 2, with Sydney set to host the grand final on Sunday, October 25. On Wednesday, November 11, the city will also welcome one of this year's delayed State of Origin games.
Indeed, it seems that the newly announced changes are wholly geared towards these major sporting events, rather than anything else. No word has been given as yet regarding whether NSW stadiums will also be able to fill to 50-percent capacity for cultural performances and concerts, with Premier Berejiklian specifically advising that she assumes "that outside of major annual events, the stadia won't be anywhere near that capacity. For ordinary matches or ordinary events, that capacity will not be achieved at all".
Accordingly, it's great news if you're a Sydneysider keen to go to a big footy match in the coming months. If you're eager to attend a different type of outdoor event, like a gig or music festival, you'll have to cross your fingers that the same rules will soon apply to them as well.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Top image: Destination NSW.
Published on September 17, 2020 by Sarah Ward