Fines for hotspot SCG attendees: NSW govt

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

Cricket fans based in a COVID-19 hotspot will be fined $1000 if they attend the SCG Test as the NSW government considers further measures, including mandatory masks, for spectators.

The Australian Medical Association has led calls for the third Test to be played in front of empty stands because of the risk it poses as a potential coronavirus super-spreading event.

The SCG's capacity will instead be capped at 25 per cent on Thursday, when the series between Australia and India resumes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who will remain in Canberra and watch the game on television because of the ACT's border restrictions, says it is "great that it'll be played in front of people".

"It's been done in a safe way," he told 2GB.

"They've got a good plan to deal with that, based on the medical advice."

Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro reiterated on Tuesday that "everything comes with a risk" amid Sydney's coronavirus outbreak, having already urged regional NSW residents to not attend the match.

The state government, desperate to minimise that risk, has banned anybody from Berala and nearby suburbs attending the third Test.

"Do not come to the Test," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

"You must not come to the SCG.

"That's for your sake and for our community's sake.

"If any of you think that it's still OK to come in with somebody else who's got a ticket or tickets, it won't be.

"Health orders made in the next 24 hours will enable NSW Police to fine you $1000 if you put a foot inside the SCG."

The NSW government announced on Saturday it was tightening restrictions in Sydney, where residents are now required to wear a mask in indoor spaces because of the city's coronavirus outbreak.

That public health order means that supporters risk a fine of $200 if they don't wear a mask while catching public transport to the SCG.

But the ground itself is an outdoor venue and masks are, currently, only being strongly recommended for members of the crowd.

The major concern of health officials relates to indoor areas like bars and bathrooms.

"We're not ruling anything out at the moment. Our preference is that people wear masks," Barilaro told the ABC, when asked whether attendees could potentially be fined for not wearing a mask.

"I take the health expert advice ... the majority of time will be outdoors.

"(Walking) to get food, the bar, or to a bathroom - we believe they should be wearing masks.

"We'll look at that over the next day or so ... if mandating masks in those other areas is something that is a tool that we should use, well, we'll make that decision well in advance of day one."