Residents from Berala and surrounding western Sydney suburbs have been warned they will be fined $1,000 if they “put a foot inside the SCG” for Australia’s third Test against India.
The Sydney Test will proceed as planned from Thursday, though crowd capacity has been reduced from 50% to 25%.
Ticket-holders have been refunded and were given priority to re-purchase tickets from the smaller pool of about 10,000 per day.
However, New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday he intends to sign a public health order banning people from suburbs affected by the Berala Covid-19 cluster.
He listed Auburn, Berala, Lidcombe North, Regents Park and Rookwood as suburbs covered by the ban and said “ticket sales have gone in a way that is aimed at ensuring that people from particular suburbs around Berala do not acquire tickets”.
“That’s for your sake and for our community’s sake,” Hazzard said. “But I want to alert the community in those suburbs, if any of you think it’s still OK to come in with someone else who has got a ticket, or tickets, it won’t be OK.
“Because there will be orders, health orders made, in the next 24 hours, that will enable NSW police to fine you $1,000 if you put foot inside the SCG,” Hazzard said. “You must not, you must not come to the SCG, so just be aware of that.”
All remaining public tickets went on sale from midday on Tuesday.
Hazzard was unclear on whether the new public health order will also apply to other sporting events, with the A-League, W-League and Big Bash League seasons all currently in play.
On Sunday, 4,538 went to Campbelltown Stadium for Macarthur FC’s home game against Central Coast, and 5,273 turned up to Central Coast Stadium last Friday for the Mariners’ home win over the Newcastle Jets.
In response to the impending health orders, the Jets on Tuesday announced a 50% cap at the 33,000-capacity McDonald Jones Stadium for Friday’s double-header W-League/A-League fixture against Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers respectively.
The SCG is scheduled to host three BBL games later in January.
“At the moment, the public health advice is the high level of concern is focused on people coming from that area into the SCG,” Hazzard said. “But look, it’s all under review every day.
“This is almost 12 months and every day it’s a review, public health looks at these issues. And public health gives the government advice on any of the other issues, we’ll take it.”
Hazzard deemed it unlikely the cut from 50% to 25% capacity would be reversed, despite acting premier John Barilaro saying the Covid safety rules at the SCG could change “right up to the first ball” depending on case numbers.
Barilaro said there would be sufficient transport available to cater for 50% capacity for the stadium to encourage social distancing.
He also urged people from regional parts of NSW not to travel to Sydney for the match.
The government has come under criticism from the Australian Medical Association for allowing crowds to attend the Sydney Test at all.