Competitive sport with crowds returns to NT this week
NT SPORTING clubs will be allowed to hit the courts, pitches and fields again this weekend as stage three coronavirus restrictions are eased from Friday at 12pm.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said sporting clubs and organisations were primed across the Territory to safely return and play competitive matches again.
"This Friday sport is back in the Territory, and we're the first in the country. That means this Friday the Northern Territory will be Australia's sporting capital," Mr Gunner said.
"Sporting organisations (will) work through their checklist about how they manage things. "Netball have done theirs, the stadiums done theirs, the individual clubs have done theirs and it's all about making sure we control those risks.
"More than 3000 organisations have filled out our checklists for this Friday and over 700 of them are sporting organisations, so there's a lot of people keen to get back out there and mix it up on the court or on the field."
Easing of the NT's stage three coronavirus restrictions will also see crowds attend games in another national first.
"A grandstand like (the Darwin Netball stadium) ... netball would have gone through their checklist and they'll have a plan about how they'll handle that," Mr Gunner said.
"It'll be a little bit more difficult (with seating) on a hill, about how you manage it. But (where you've) ... got regular seating you can work it out."
"If you're over 500 (attending), then you need to have an approved plan for the chief health officer so that's a step above again. But we are saying it's okay to have people come along and watch the games."
Netball NT Chief executive Ian Harkness said while it was exciting to see players get back to the court, numbers would be down and the Territory's sporting lifestyle would change.
"We always played two or three sports, it may well be a case now (with) economics that someone can only play one or two, or maybe only one sport," he said.
"Decisions are going to have to be made about which sports I participate in.
"The reality of it (is) ... senior figures across the Territory are well down, as are our juniors."
Biosecurity checkpoints will also be lifted on Friday, but the Chief Minister says he still holdsconcerns over spread into the community.
"I think we have significant issues of mobility, we've known that for a long time," Mr Gunnere said.
"In the Territory people move around, people travel. You know you'll walk down Smith St Mall or Todd St in Alice Springs and you'll come across people from communities who come into town … whether it's Yuendumu, Tiwi, or Wadeye or Maningrida," he said.
"My great concern ... I think if we get a case of community transmission, in Darwin or in Alice, its ability to get spread through the NT quite quickly is there and we're going to make sure we watch out for that control."
Originally published as Competitive sport with crowds returns to NT this week