So there we were, on the couch, watching the 11am Covid-19 Groundhog Day press conference, when Premier Gladys Berejiklian began listing all the things vaccinated people could do when 70 per cent of people aged over 16 in NSW are vaccinated against Covid-19.
According to, cue Roman trumpets, the state government’s “Roadmap to Freedom“, on the Monday after 70 per cent of people in NSW aged 16 and over are vaccinated against Covid-19, those vaccinated may, with certain restrictions, head to the pub, the races, the hairdressers, the caravan park in Mullumbimby.
Ms Berejiklian didn’t say exactly when because she doesn’t know. But there’s been enough data leaked to select media to indicate that, at current rates of vaccination, we’re looking at some time either side of October 15 before we emerge from our holes and sniff the wind like so many meerkats.
And that will be a fine day indeed.
And then Deputy Premier John Barilaro said: “Community sport won’t be permitted yet.”
And we at the Beaches Champion sat back and said: You what now?
Can drink beer in a pub. Can bet on horses at a track. Can talk the ears off a barber in Braidwood.
But you can’t play cricket? Or softball? Or baseball? Or beach volleyball?
So we emailed these searching questions to NSW Minister for Sport – and northern beaches local – Natalie Ward:
- When can community sport get back on?
- Does the Northern Beaches LGA need to be 80 per cent fully vaxxed?
- Anything you can add?
Ms Ward’s statement returned promptly.
“I am actively championing for the reopening of community sport at the earliest opportunity.
“The NSW Government always follows the health advice.
“Community sport will resume when the health advice is that it is safe to do so,” Ms Ward said.
So there you go. She doesn’t know. And she’s not going to speculate, either. What’s the point?
A senior figure in local cricket doesn’t expect play to begin until “late November” at the earliest.
However, “The Northern Beaches is at the front of the queue for easing of restrictions once vaccination rates hit 70 percent”, according to The Northern Beaches Advocate.
“There have been signals that the Northern Beaches may be allowed to enjoy some early lifting of restrictions if vaccination thresholds are achieved earlier than the rest of the state.
“Senior sources have confirmed that preliminary discussions have been held with Northern Beaches Council about the LGA potentially being an early beneficiary of eased restrictions in recognition of the lockdown the area endured last Christmas,” reports The Advocate.
It could, potentially, mean that sports wholly contained with the Northern Beaches LGA – such as “park” cricket, touch football, softball, district baseball, beach volleyball – could go ahead earlier than other less-vaccinated LGAs.
Until then though sport’s off. And it’s effectively standby and watch this space until they tell us otherwise.
With new cases peaking at 1542 on Friday, the community is being asked to sit tight and then take little steps out of the morass.
And community sport is in the slightly too-hard basket at the moment.
Be nice to get to the pub, though.