Thousands of masked cricket fans flocked to the SCG on Thursday ahead of day one of the third Test, with many saying they are well aware of the health risk but backed the decision to forge ahead with the match.
Police roaming outside the Moore Park venue said fans had been relatively compliant and understanding of the new rule, which was only announced on Wednesday as the city grapples with recent outbreaks.
Two women, dressed in pink as a nod to the Jane McGrath Foundation and “Pink Test”, said they understood the health risks associated with attending but believed health officials “have it under control”.
“It’s better to be safe, so it’s no problem for me. Obviously, it’s not the most fun but it’s a lot safer,” ticket holder Ailin Pedrossian told NCA NewsWire when asked about the mask mandate.
Cricket fans Natalie Rapisardaand and Ailin Pedrossian are happy with the latest health measures, including mandating masks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian ShawSource:News Corp Australia
“It’s either this or nothing and people would rather be here celebrating than not, so I’m grateful for the health advice and what these masks are allowing us to do.”
Many fans were spotted dressed in loud costumes, including a group of men who had donned masks and full hazmat suits for the event.
Many were wearing pink, while Indian fans had their faces painted with their nation’s flag. But there was one item everyone was wearing – a mask.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Wednesday the Sydney Test would go ahead despite news from Victoria that a man may had contracted coronavirus at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test.
Mr Hazzard said people would face fines of $1000 if they came to the match from suburbs impacted by the Berala outbreak or if they attended day two of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Anyone attending the Test must also wear a mask at all times – unless eating or drinking – including in queues and when seated in the stadium.
Indian cricket fan Gulshan Bedi says he’s aware of the health risk but people are doing the right thing. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian ShawSource:News Corp Australia
Banned suburbs include Auburn, Berala, Lidcombe North, Regents Park and Rookwood, Wentworthville and Belmore.
Indian fan Gulshan Bedi said the mask mandate and additional protocols was a “good gesture” from the city’s health authorities to look after people.
“These are requirements we have to follow and I’m with Cricket Australia and management for doing it,” he said.
He said the mask mandate might seem a “bit harsh” for some people but argued there should also be medical staff screening people before they enter edthe ground, such as conducting temperature checks.
“It’s for the sake of the community,” Mr Bedi said.
There were some interesting costumes outside the SCG on Thursday, including fans in hazmat suits. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian ShawSource:News Corp Australia
The additional measures were also comforting for an Australian group attending the event.
Matt Kennedy, his two sons Valin and Olsen, and friend James Gersbach were among thousands of cricket lovers who walked through the turnstiles ahead of the first ball.
Mr Gersbach said the group had packed plenty of hand sanitiser, while Mr Kennedy said they would maintain social distancing.
“If everyone’s going to be doing it (wearing a mask), it’s going to be a safer environment,” Mr Kennedy said.
“There are a minimal amount of cases in Sydney given the population size … but you could get it anywhere.
“Keep your distance and just don’t touch stuff.”
NSW recorded four new cases on Wednesday with two linked to the Berala cluster.
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