Victoria to ease restrictions on professional sport this week

Victoria will slowly begin easing social distancing restrictions this week

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed that Victoria will begin to ease social distancing restrictions this week, including allowing training for the Melbourne Storm and AFL teams.

Victoria is the last state/territory to make announcements about its transition to Step 1 of the post-coronavirus breakout framework announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last Friday.

While there are no changes as yet which directly affect motorsport in the state which is home to half of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship entries, the moves are a sign of a gradual return to normality.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted from tomorrow night at 23:59 local time (AEST), as will leaving one’s residence to visit family/friends so long as there are no more than five visitors in a home.

Additionally, professional sports teams, including Victoria’s 10 AFL teams and its National Rugby League team in the form of the Storm, may resume training.

“There has been a lot of work between the AFL and the public health team and we have agreed to a set of arrangements that will allow training for AFL, for rugby league, (and) for other professional sports to resume from just before midnight tomorrow night,” said Premier Andrews.

“Once training is up and running again, that paves the way for the AFL and other codes to make announcements.

“Training resuming paves the way for footy to be back, and I think we all want that, provided it is safe, appropriate, and can be done in a safe way and I am confident that it can be.”

Asked to clarify the applicability of the general 10-person limit, the Premier explained that professional sports teams may train if their activities are isolated from the general public.

“Each sport will put in place their own plans, but they must be self-contained,” he said.

“So, if they’re using a training facility – an indoor gym, for instance, or an outdoor area – it must be exclusively for them.

“We can’t have a situation where there’s a carve-out for professional sport because it’s a workplace – it’s basically a job – and then have other people who are not connected to that sport intermingling, if you like.

“This is about containment, it’s about managing a risk, and in the event that there are positive tests, we’re in a very strong position to be able to contact trace and take whatever appropriate public health measures are deemed so.”

In terms of motorsport, practice activities are permitted in the Northern Territory from May 15.

Motorsport Australia has made submissions to government in order to formulate a plan for a document outlining the steps to a broader resumption in competition nationally.

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