Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given the green light for up to 10,000 people to attend outdoor stadium events from next month.
Mr Morrison announced on Friday, as part of step three of the federal government’s COVIDsafe plan, stadiums with a capacity of up to 40,000 may have an attendance of up to 25 per cent of their capacity.
People must be seated and the seats are to be ticketed, he said at a press conference after a National Cabinet meeting on Friday morning.
He also announced a new four square metre rule would replace the current 100 person limit on indoor areas as part of step three easing.
Mr Morrison said professional sports clubs and event organisers must adhere to current social distancing rules when allowing attendees back into stadia, and there is more work to be done to work out the details including gathering at bars.
The move is likely to welcomed by sports fans across Australia, who have been deprived of sporting action amid the pandemic. The decision will also help ease the financial burden placed on Australia’s professional sports clubs.
"I'm sure that will be very welcome,” Mr Morrison said.
Seated gigs and concerts included
He said seated outdoor concerts were to be allowed under the change, however festivals or gigs where people are standing or “roaming” would not be included.
The prime minister said he expects stadiums under 40,000 capacity to admit crowds from sometime next month.
Larger venues will be treated separately and a ground like the Melbourne Cricket Ground, for example, will be given its own seating capacity.
“When you're up above 40,000 you've got more than 10,000 people going to a gathering, and that has added implications for the eagerness and access to those premises,” he said.
“They've got transport pressure, all of those sorts of things.”
Four square metre rule explained
Also in stage three the 100-person cap on indoor and outdoor events has been changed to a four square metre rule where venues can accommodate as many people as long as four square metres is guaranteed per person.
Mr Morrison said the rule also applied for funerals.
The four-metre rule was always in place, however the capacity on venues has been removed if they can accommodate more than 100 people.
Warning over ‘dangerous’ protests
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said protests planned for the weekend were dangerous.
"You cannot make them safe," he said.
"Despite all the attempts of organisers to try and make them safe, those sort of events where people are crowded together and where we don't know who is there, are inherently unsafe."
Mr Morrison has argued progress on easing restrictions is being hampered by Black Lives Matter protests defying health advice on mass gatherings.
"This is not about the issue that people are raising, this is about people's health and welfare," he said.
A man who attended last weekend's rally in Melbourne has tested positive for the disease but it could take weeks to determine whether others were infected.
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