Crowds of up to 10,000 people will be allowed into sport stadiums in Australia from July, according to the country’s prime minister Scott Morrison.

The new regulation, which is part of step three of Australia’s coronavirus restrictions, will allow stadiums with capacities of 40,000 or under to issue the new guidelines. However, the new rule will be implemented slowly, with states and territories having the option to move to the next step.

Morrison stated: “We will be moving, as part of step three, for events in stadia or other venues of that nature with a capacity of 40,000 or less to enable attendance at those events.

“This is not something that’s happening straight away. This is something that would be happening as part of step three, where states and territories choose to move to that, and it will require a bit more work.”

As a result of the new rule, some National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) clubs could start to see fans being allowed back into grounds following the resumption of their campaigns. Nevertheless, step three does rule out larger venues such as the Adelaide Oval and Melbourne Cricket Ground due to the difficulty to enforce social distancing guidelines.

For venues which are deemed acceptable for the new rule, all visitors entering the group must adhere to strict health and safety regulations whilst also applying social distancing guidelines, which will be helped by new ticketing and seating systems. Additionally, venues are not allowed to exceed 25% of the ground capacity.

The news follows New Zealand’s recent announcement that sports venues are close to be opened up at full capacity after eliminating the threat of COVID-19.

On 8 June New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, revealed that no new COVID-19 case had been recorded for 17 days and as such mass gathering restrictions would be lifted ahead of the Super Rugby Aotearoa on 13 June. This means that the opening game between Highlanders vs Chiefs will be able to be viewed in front of a full-capacity crowd. 

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