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Berala area residents banned from Australia v India SCG Test under COVID rules

Cricket fans from Berala and surrounding suburbs face a $1000 fine if they are caught attending the third Test at the SCG when it begins on Thursday.

Roughly 10,000 people will be allowed to attend each day of Australia’s clash with India after the New South Wales government slashed capacity to 25 per cent.

Instead, new tickets went on sale from Monday afternoon after every original ticket sold in the lead-up was cancelled.

The decision to allow fans comes after the Australian Medical Association led calls for the match to be played in front of empty stands because of the risk it could become a super-spreading event.

While the gates will be opened, residents from Auburn, Berala, Lidcombe North, Potts Hill and Regents Park have been warned to stay home or risk being fined by police.

Rookwood, a suburb made up entirely of a cemetery, was also highlighted by NSW health minister Brad Hazzard.

The BWS Berala cluster is now at 15 cases and thousands of people have been forced into isolation as close contacts.

“It’s crucial … that people from certain suburbs in that Berala area do not attend this Test. You must not attend this Test,” NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday.

The SCG has been reduced to 25 per cent of its capacity for the third Test between Australia and India. Credit: Getty

“Now, ticket sales have gone in a way that is aimed at ensuring that people from particular suburbs around Berala do not acquire tickets and do not come to the Test. That’s for your sake and for our community’s sake.

“But, I want to alert the community in those suburbs, if any of you think that it’s still ok to come in with somebody who has got a ticket, or tickets, it won’t be ok.

“There will be health orders made in the next 24 hours that will enable New South Wales police to fine you $1000 if you put foot inside the SCG. You must not – you must not come to the SCG. So just be aware of that.

“If you live in Auburn, Berala, Lidcombe North, Potts Hill, Regents Park or Rookwood – I’m sorry, we would love in any other year, a non-COVID year, to have you at the Test, but we can’t, for your sake and the community’s sake.”

A General view of the BWS store at Berala in Sydney.
A General view of the BWS store at Berala in Sydney. Credit: AAP

Acting Premier John Barilaro previously said regional NSW residents should reconsider attending the Test.

“Maybe this year isn’t the year to come to Sydney to watch the Test,” the NSW Nationals leader said on Monday.

“I know regional people use common sense. The risk would be … they could take it (coronavirus) back to a regional area.”

People from other hotspot areas in Sydney, such as the Northern Beaches, are banned from the SCG while stay-at-home orders remain in place.

It is unclear if those residents will be allowed to attend the Test should restrictions ease midway through the match.

Mask up

All cricket fans will risk a fine of $200 if they don’t wear a mask while catching public transport to the SCG on Thursday.

But masks are currently only being strongly recommended for members of the crowd despite indoor areas like bars and bathrooms sparking concern for health officials.

Asked whether attendees could potentially be fined for not wearing a mask, Barilaro said “we’re not ruling anything out at the moment”.

“Our preference is that people wear masks,” he told the ABC.

John Barilaro
Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro has suggested regional folk rethink attending the SCG Test. Credit: AAP

“I take the health expert advice … the majority of time will be outdoors. (Walking) to get food, the bar, or to a bathroom – we believe they should be wearing masks.

“We’ll look at that over the next day or so … if mandating masks in those other areas is something that is a tool that we should use, well, we’ll make that decision well in advance of day one.”

The Test begins on Thursday and could run until Monday, January 11.

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