Australia is entering what is hoped to be the final chapter of the easing coronavirus restrictions after a National Cabinet meeting on Friday.
Expected to begin in July, the 100-person cap on all indoor gatherings has been scrapped, with a “four-square-metre rule” to be introduced.
Crowds of up to 10,000 people will also be allowed at stadiums with allocated seating, while music festivals have also been given the greenlight to go ahead with some fairly limiting conditions.
Stadiums with a capacity of 40,000 or less, which are ticketed with set seating, will be open but can only run at 25 per cent capacity.
“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,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“So that’s in July — we have to give venues and others time to prepare for that sort of change.
“Outdoor festivals will be allowed, but they will need to offer seating to patrons.
“If we’re talking about large folk festivals where people roam around from tent to tent, and gathering to gathering, that is not something that is being talked about here.
“The changes will be implemented as states move to ease restrictions at their own pace.”
Nightclubs are the only venues still forced to remain closed (except in the NT).
“I wouldn’t anticipate those venues opening any time soon or as I said, those larger mass gathering festivals that take place,” Morrison said.
Now it is up to the states and territories to announce their own timelines for easing restrictions, but all states are expected to reach stage three in July.
NSW has flagged it will open up from July 1, Queensland has suggested July 10 while Tasmania announced it would move to ease more restrictions on June 26.
South Australia has signalled it will reopen its borders from July 20.
Rodney Harrex, the chief executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission, welcomed news that more than 2000 people will be permitted to the AFL Showdown.
“It’s fantastic that South Australia – that Adelaide Oval – is the pilot for sporting and stadium events across the country,” he said.
“Thanks to the hard work of South Australians in stopping the spread of this virus, it’s put us in the enviable position of the first jurisdiction to host a sporting event of this size. I’m sure it’s taken much work by the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority, together with SA Health, to make it as safe as possible for everyone attending – and it can be used as a test case nationwide.”