NSW Health Minister 'nervous' as Sydney cricket test begins
Those attending Sydney's annual test cricket match today have been warned to follow COVID-19 rules or face hefty fines as tough new measures come into force.
Spectators attending the match will be forced to wear a face mask in a first for any major Australian sporting event under tough measures in place to curb the spread of virus.
Restrictions for the event have grown by the day with crowd numbers slashed to just 10,000 people and several Sydney suburbs are banned from attending.
"There will be plenty of police there will be plenty of police there who will be checking IDs and seeing where you've come from," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told Today.
Mr Hazzard admitted to being "nervous" about the event, however he stood by the state's position in trying to "strike the right balance" in maintaining a COVID-normal.
"Our government is very much focused on trying to give a sense of normalcy to people but in a safe way," Mr Hazzard said.
"I'm very happy with the way the SCG and Cricket Australia have worked with our public health officials and come to what they think is a reasonable balance but is it without risk? Nothing is without risk."
It comes as new alerts have been issued for the NSW South Coast after an infected person visited the region.
Crowd numbers for the third test at the Sydney Cricket Ground have been cut to 25 per cent, with just 10,000 people allowed in.
Police and private security guards will be keeping a close eye on those attending to ensure they are covering up, patrolling the stands throughout the event.
The only time punters will be able to remove their masks is when they are eating or drinking.
The drastic move comes after a COVID-19 scare at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, now identified as a possible acquisition site after a positive case attended on the second day of the Boxing Day Test
Thousands of residents across Sydney's south-west have been blacklisted from the cricket today following a spike in cases linked to the Berala BWS store.
Those suburbs include Wentworthville, Belmore, Auburn, Berala, Birrong, Lidcombe North, Potts Hill, Regents Park, Rookwood will face fines of up to $1000 if they attempt to attend the game.
That includes anyone who works in or has visited the above areas.
An additional 450 extra bus and light rail services have been added to support the crowds expected to attend but those who can are being urged to drive instead, to avoid large crowds across the network.
Meanwhile, NSW Health has added two new venues to its COVID-19 alert list as the virus spreads to the state's South Coast.
A person infected with the virus visited the Nostalgia Factor Shop in Kangaroo Valley and the Taj Indian Restaurant in Huskisson on Sunday December 27.