In bizarre scenes, spectators donned hazmat suits and were made to wear masks on day one of the New Year’s Test.
In bizarre scenes, spectators donned hazmat suits and were made to wear masks on day one of the New Year’s Test.

Beers at the Test cricket in 2021

Exactly 30 days ago, the SCG hosted a packed house for the third T20 international between Australia and India.

The venue was crammed to the brim with cricket fans, with no social distancing in practice - with only one active COVID-19 case in New South Wales, there was no need.

But things change quickly in the age of COVID-19, and the scenes at the SCG were jarringly different on day one of the third Test.

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Only 10,000 were allowed to enter the venue on Thursday morning, with all spectators asked to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

With a strict COVID-19 safety plan being enforced, there were more police and security guards than spectators in parts of the venue.

The stadium echoed with repeated warnings about COVID-safe practices, and some attendees took precautions to the next level, donning hazmat suits to the cricket.

 

 

 

 

A Cricket fan dressed as Cookie Monster arriving at the SCG.
A Cricket fan dressed as Cookie Monster arriving at the SCG.

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Several pundits have condemned the decision to allow 25 per cent capacity for the New Year's Test considering the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Greater Sydney.

Speaking on Channel 10's The Project, popular broadcaster Steve Price said it was a mistake to allow large crowds for sporting events while the coronavirus remains a lingering threat.

"It would be madness if they allowed 10,000 people a day," Price said on Wednesday evening.

"The risk and reward of these mass sporting events is all out of whack. It's all risk and no reward.

"What's the reward? 10,000 people who love cricket get to go tomorrow, sit there wearing a mask in 22-degree heat, most of them will rip them off and slug down beer all day so they don't have the put the mask on.

"And what is the reward for them? A day at the cricket. And the risk is we all go back into lockdown. It's crazy."

Cricket fans at the SCG.
Cricket fans at the SCG.

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Speaking on ABC's Weekend Breakfast on Sunday, epidemiology expert Professor Raina MacIntyre explained why hosting up to 24,000 spectators at the New Year's Test was "quite risky".

"I think it is an unnecessary risk at this critical time," Prof MacIntyre said on Sunday morning.

"It may also be a time when the cases are starting to increase because if there were transmissions on New Year's Eve, we would be expecting to see a rise in cases from the end of this week over the following weekend.

"So the timing is also quite risky."

There were zero new COVID-19 cases recorded in New South Wales on Thursday.

 

Originally published as Beers at the Test cricket in 2021

Cricket fans Natalie Rapisarda and Ailin Pedrossian at the SCG wearing masks.
Cricket fans Natalie Rapisarda and Ailin Pedrossian at the SCG wearing masks.

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