Melbourne football fans could enjoy the AFL Grand Final day with friends, even if the big game has been ripped out of their locked-down city.
Australia’s biggest sporting event will be held in Perth on September 25, as Victoria battles a Covid outbreak and Melbourne languishes in its sixth lockdown.
But even with the match being played 2,700km away in lieu of the MCG and grand finale parties banned, fans don’t have to be alone to watch it.
Picnics with a small group of family and friends will be allowed and the 9pm curfew will be dropped if Victoria has allowed 70 percent of residents to receive a single dose by then, experts say.
The state, which registered 423 cases of Covid-19 and two deaths on Wednesday, is on track to meet that target by Friday with a roadmap to be announced on Sunday.
Footy fans won’t see this year’s AFL grand final in Melbourne – but they can attend BBQs in small numbers if they’re double vaccinated (pictured, Richmond fans after flag winning)
According to health experts, outdoor picnics will be possible this year for the grand finale day in Victoria (photo, Tigers fans outside the MCG on the grand finale day in 2020)
While skate parks and outdoor fitness equipment are expected to reopen and the current 5km travel limit will be extended once projections are met.
Deakin University chair of epidemiology Catherine Bennett said more outdoor activities such as picnics, recreation and unrestricted exercise should be allowed.
She believes fully vaccinated people from two households should have small major finals day meetings when the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons compete for the 2021 AFL Prime Minister.
“One of the reasons Covid and flu are seasonal is that people spend more time outdoors and most transmission takes place in closed spaces. So why lock people up in closed spaces in the spring?’ she told the Herald sun.
University of Melbourne public health expert Nathan Grills agreed, saying that five people, plus children under two gathered outside, were low risk.
“In ED, where I work, I see a disproportionate number of teenagers who are having a really hard time,” he said.
‘They need healthy outdoor air and sport is one of them.’
This chart shows the progression of Victoria’s Covid outbreaks as the state announced 423 new cases on Wednesday
Due to the number of Covid cases in Melbourne, the AFL final will be played at Perth’s Optus Stadium on September 25 (pictured, Richmond fans from last year)
It is the second consecutive year that the grand final has been played outside the MCG, with Richmond winning the flag in Brisbane last year.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews confirmed that he would release a roadmap for the state out of lockdown on Sunday.
“It will give people a clear idea of what we are working towards,” he said.
“You don’t go to Christmas lunch and flip a switch and it’s all over. There will be consequences for this for a while.
“This (pandemic) will not end soon, but we have to open up.”
Nearly 70 percent of Victorians have already had their first dose, while 41.4 percent have been fully vaccinated.
It is the second consecutive year that the AFL Grand Final will be played outside the iconic MCG, with Richmond winning the flag in Brisbane last year (pictured, Geelong supporters for the big dance in 2020)
A nearly deserted Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD on Sunday as Covid cases continue to rise
Melbourne residents have the Australia’s toughest lockdown measures in recent years, with other states opting not to close locally playgrounds and skate parks.
Other draconian rules, such as only one parent accompanying children to playgrounds and banning food in the communal areas, have only been implemented in Victoria.
The curfew and 5km travel restrictions were also only relevant at identified Covid hotspots in certain LGAs, unlike Melbourne where they apply everywhere.
Restrictions eased on 70 percent first dose vaccinations
• Travel radius from 5 km increases to 10 km
• Exercise increases from two to three hours a day
• Outdoor fitness equipment and skate parks reopen
• Outdoor personal training allowed with a maximum of two people plus the trainer
• Childminder childcare for school-age children is allowed if both parents are critical workers
• Construction sites increase to 50 percent capacity when 90 percent of workers receive at least one vaccine dose
• Inspections of vacant buildings allowed
Source: Vic Health