The NSW Government has enacted a new public health order ahead of the Newcastle Jets’ A-League clash against the Western Sydney Wanderers and former coach Carl Robinson.
The public health order, which came into effect today (Friday 8 January), prevents residents of “affected areas” from attending A-League matches until 31 January.
It also bars anyone who has visited a venue during the past 14 days that is listed on the NSW or Victorian State Government websites as an exposure site for COVID-19 from attending A-League matches during January.
Attendees of all A-League matches this month are mandated to wear a facial covering unless they have an exemption as a team or match official, are under the age of 12, or have a physical or mental disability that “makes wearing a fitted facial covering unsuitable”.
The move comes after strong criticism from Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp, who took aim at the NSW Government after they initially resisted extending the COVID-19 restrictions introduced for the Test match against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to other sporting events across the state.
In a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the restrictions necessary for a five day cricket Test was “markedly different” to a two-hour football match, however, he added “it’s [about] balancing the risk with the outcome”.
Mr Crakanthorp said the extension of the public health order to A-League matches was a win for common sense.
“I appreciate the work of the stadium staff and the Jets’ management to implement their own safety measures, but they should never have had to do the NSW Government’s job,” he said.
“A health risk from patrons at the SCG is a health risk in any other stadium, and those protections for other spectators needed to be consistently applied.
“In Newcastle, we’ve worked so hard to keep our city free from COVID-19 for five months now, and the last thing anyone wanted was to see that hard work compromised, so I’m very pleased the government has listened to our community.”
The Jets hope to get their season up-and-running with a win against the Wanderers tonight.
The clash will kick-off at McDonald Jones Stadium at 7.05pm.