England’s Boxing Day Ashes Test at the 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Australian Open will welcome capacity crowds after Victoria lifted its Covid-19 restrictions
The Australian Open tennis Grand Slam and Boxing Day Ashes cricket Test match in Melbourne will be able to welcome capacity crowds as Covid-19 restrictions ease in Victoria state.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said from 11.59pm (12.59am GMT) on Thursday, there will no longer be any caps on gatherings in the state.
‘Whether it’s 100,000 people at the MCG on Boxing Day or a smaller group of people standing up at the… local pub, this is the COVID-normal that every Victorian has built,’ he said at a media briefing.
The eased restrictions will be welcomed by Australia’s major sports, which have taken significant hits to revenue due to crowd caps in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city and Victoria state capital, through the pandemic.
The last Australian Open in February was limited to 30,000 people per day – about half of Melbourne Park’s usual capacity – before all fans were banned for five days due to a snap lockdown.
The Boxing Day cricket Test match in Melbourne will be able to welcome capacity crowds
Travel to Australia is currently restricted but England fans hope to attend the Tests in January
England’s Barmy Army group are hoping to head out to Australia to support at the Ashes
Last year’s Boxing Day Test between Australia and India had crowds capped at 30,000 per day at the 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The last Ashes Test against England at the stadium in 2017 drew a crowd of more than 88,000 on Boxing Day alone.
Australia will face Joe Root’s England at the MCG from December 26 during the upcoming five-Test Ashes series.
The Australian Open tennis Grand Slam, won by Novak Djokovic last year, can have full crowds
Victoria has progressively eased restrictions as Covid-19 vaccination rates have soared in recent weeks.
Authorities expect 90 per cent of people in the state aged over 12 will be fully vaccinated by the end of the week.
Currently, entry into Australia is restricted to Australian citizens, permanent residents of the country and immediate family of Australian citizens or permanent residents with proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test.
Parents of adult Australian citizens and permanent residents qualified as immediate family from November 1.
Sportsmail reported last month that the Barmy Army hope to have significant presence at the fourth and fifth Tests in January.
The overseas touring group, formed as a result of the mockery they received in the Australian media on the 1994-95 trip, have over 15,000 England supporters on the waiting list for travel packages this winter, although far fewer are expected to head Down Under due to the uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions.
The Australian Government are planning to reopen their borders for international travel on a state-by-state basis depending on vaccination levels, although foreigners are unlikely to be admitted until next year.
Victoria finally lifted its Covid-19 restrictions from midnight on Thursday with dancefloors back on, house parties allowed and no caps on pubgoers, Premier Daniel Andrews announced
CHANGES IN VICTORIA
No density limits in hospitality venues.
No limits on visitors at a home.
Weddings and funerals can go ahead without patron limits as long as guests are vaccinated.
Dancefloors will be allowed.
Masks will still be mandatory for primary school staff and visitors and for students in Years 3 to 6, for workers at hospitality venues, for workers and customers at indoor retail, for visitors and select workers in hospitals or care facilities, and for people using public transport.
Covid-positive Victorians will only have to isolate for 10 days instead of 14
Household contacts can isolate for seven days if vaccinated.
Close contacts of a case required to receive a test and only isolate until negative .