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Crowds at 2022 Australian Open to be capped at 50 per cent as Daniel Andrews introduces new rules

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Crowds attending the 2022 Australian Open will be capped at 50 per cent as the highly-anticipated event is hit with new statewide restrictions.  

Tickets for the Grand Slam due to kick off at Melbourne Park on January 17 will be paused at half of each event’s total capacity as Covid cases surge across the state. 

The state government said all tickets purchased to date, including ground passes, would be honoured with no tickets to be cancelled or changed.  

Matches that have already hit over 50 per cent capacity – most likely the grand finals scheduled for January 30 – can still be attended by larger crowds.  

Crowds attending the 2022 Australian Open will be capped at 50 per cent as the highly-anticipated event is hit with new restrictions (pictured, Melbourne Park)

All future sales will adhered to the new capacity limits, part of a suite of new restrictions including rules on mask-wearing and density limits. 

As per Victoria’s statewide restrictions on hospitality venues, attendees will be limited to one person per two square metres while indoors. 

Masks must be worn at all times – except when eating or drinking – with ventilation systems to be installed in some spaces at the venue. 

‘As Covid-19 hospitalisations and cases continue to rise in Victoria, these mitigation strategies are proportionate and designed to assist in limiting the spread of Covid-19,’ a statement on Thursday. 

Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Jaala Pulford said the changes meant fans could look forward to a ‘Covidsafe event’. 

It comes as Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday announced new statewide restrictions in the face of unprecedented Covid cases in Victoria.

The state recorded 37,169 new cases and 25 deaths on Thursday, with hospitalisations at a record high of 953, a slight increase from the 946 a day ago. 

Some 111 people are in intensive care after contracting the virus.  

Matches that have already hit over 50 per cent capacity - most likely the grand finals scheduled for January 30 - can still be attended by larger crowds (pictured, Rafael Nadal practices ahead of the Australian Open)

Matches that have already hit over 50 per cent capacity – most likely the grand finals scheduled for January 30 – can still be attended by larger crowds (pictured, Rafael Nadal practices ahead of the Australian Open)

From midnight, Mr Andrews announced a series of changes to Covid restrictions which were labelled a ‘soft lockdown’ by the Opposition. 

The new restrictions will see indoor dance floors at hospitality and entertainment venues closed – except for weddings.

Hospital visitors will need to be vaccinated or return a negative rapid antigen test results to enter with unvaccinated visitors ordered to wear N95 masks.

Aged care residents will be barred from having any more than five visits per day, with all visitors required to return negative RAT results.

Meanwhile, Mr Andrews will released tens of thousands of critical workers from close contact isolation requirements from Tuesday, in the face of a supply chain crisis.

Workers in emergency services, education, critical utilities, transport and freight will join the food sector in being made exempt from isolation rules. 

‘They will be exempt if they are playing a critical role, they will be exempt from having to do home isolation,’ he said during a Covid-19 update on Thursday.  

From midnight, Mr Andrews announced a series of changes to Covid restrictions which were labelled a 'soft lockdown' by the Opposition (pictured, a traffic controller at a testing clinic)

From midnight, Mr Andrews announced a series of changes to Covid restrictions which were labelled a ‘soft lockdown’ by the Opposition (pictured, a traffic controller at a testing clinic)

Amid a national supply chain crisis causing empty shelves at supermarkets, Mr Andrews had earlier this week eased rules for grocery store workers and essential employees involved in the manufacture, distribution or packaging of food.

The workers will no longer need to isolate if they are designated as a close contact as long as they are asymptomatic, undertake daily rapid antigen tests for five days and return negative results.

The exemption already applies to disability, health and aged care workers, as well as those working in emergency services, corrections, quarantine and food distribution.

In order to be eligible, workers must tell their employer they are a close contact with both parties required to consent to the worker returning to the workplace.

Workers must return a negative RAT for five consecutive days and return a negative result prior to attending work each day.

A face mask must be worn at all times – preferably a N95 mask – with meal breaks to be separated, and no mingling in the wider workforce or car-pooling arrangements.

If at any time the worker develops symptoms or tests positive on a RAT, the exemption no longer applies.

The employee is then considered a confirmed Covid case and must isolate for 7 days and notify others including their employer.

 

More to come. 



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