MCG won’t host mass crowds any time soon: Premier
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews hasn't ruled out crowds at major events this summer but he doubts hosting 100,000 people at the MCG will return any time soon.
Victoria's thriving professional sports scene has evaporated since the second wave of COVID-19 hit Melbourne, with AFL, NRL, Super Rugby and Super Netball teams all playing in interstate hubs at present.
But with Victoria's new cases dropping under 100 on Saturday, thoughts are turning to whether the pandemic could subside enough for crowds to attend the Boxing Day Test or the Australian Open.
Daniel Andrews expects crowd limitations will be imposed when fans are eventually allowed back in stands. Credit:Sebastian Costanzo
"I don't think we will see 100,000 people at the MCG for quite some time," Andrews said on Saturday.
"It doesn't mean there won't be thousands of people at the MCG but I'm not sure what that number will be and I don't want to predict that now.
"That will be the function of how much virus is out there and the settings that COVID-19 has going."
Andrews has his focus on re-opening Melbourne for jobs and businesses but also knows major sports events have to be part of Victoria's "COVID-normal".
"I can't predict what will happen with crowds, logic tells you that will be driven by the amount of virus we have got and how successful the defeat of this second wave is and how things settle into COVID-normal," Andrews said.
"I think COVID-normal can involve some crowds but the size and make-up of those and the procedures you would need to undertake, that will be a matter of medical advice and the public health team is rightly the people to think through those issues.
"It's not unimportant as people would love to get back to whatever sport they are passionate about but I think the rules and easing are much more focused on jobs, getting people back to work and getting businesses open.
"Sport and major events are an important part of the economy and as soon we can get them into a COVID-normal, whatever that will look like, then we will."
Andrews said there would still be small outbreaks but how quickly people reacted would dictate how many sports events and how many supporters would be allowed.
He added sport and health officials would be taking lessons from colleagues interstate and overseas, who have fans back in the stands.
"There will be some cases, there will be some outbreaks but how successful we all are on pouncing on those, that will be what really determines whether we can have big crowds back and whether that will be incorporated into our COVID-normal life," Andrews said.
"It's a bit too early to determine that but we will be able to learn from other parts of the world or our country where they do have crowds.
"They are actually doing it so we can have a look at what experiences they have been through as well."
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