Winter community sports will not have grand finals permitted after New South Wales' Deputy Premier John Barilaro blew full-time on their 2021 season on Thursday (September 9).
While parts of regional and rural New South Wales will emerge from a four-week lockdown at 12.01am on Saturday (September 11), sportspeople will have to wait a bit longer to return to the field.
It means the Group 3 rugby league season has concluded along with a host of other competitions along the Mid North Coast including the Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association finals and the Coastal Premier League football finals.
While the Mid-Coast LGA remains in lockdown for another seven days at least, the Mid North Coast Hockey League grand finals will also not take place.
"What we're saying is having groups of people coming together brings a level of risk which health is not comfortable with," Mr Barilaro said.
"Therefore (community sport) is an area we can forego if it meant we could lift the freedoms across the other sectors and that's the decision.
"Community sport brings a level of risk that we're not prepared to entertain at this point. On health advice, we're still trying to limit mobility.
"Just because we're lifting regions from restrictions it doesn't mean the risk isn't there."
Mr Barilaro indicated it could be another eight weeks before any sport is allowed to resume.
"Community sport in my mind will return when we get to 80 percent double vaccination across the state," he said.
"There won't be any community sport which could be until early to mid-November."
Under the easing of restrictions, outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000.
Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events, while pubs can also reopen.
The deputy premier said people can go to a pub, restaurant or a cafe where they must check-in through QR codes which provided a level of compliance and safety.
He said that was not readily accessible and was difficult to police at community sporting matches.
"It's much harder to remain compliant where if you've got a larger mass of numbers ... it becomes problematic," he said.
"It's managing numbers and mobility more than anything and I know it sounds silly, but it doesn't stop people from going to the park and kicking the ball with friends.
"People can still come together (with up to 20 people outside); you can still do that and while (no community sport) is an inconvenience, it's a small price to pay for the other freedoms that you do get.
"Yes, it's unfortunate, but it's about a balancing game."
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