Tasmanian Government gives WBBL fixtures the green light amid three-day snap lockdown

Jasper BruceNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

This weekend’s WBBL fixtures have been cleared to go ahead without crowds amid southern Tasmania’s three-day snap lockdown.

Following discussions with the Tasmanian Government, Cricket Australia confirmed on Saturday morning that the four matches booked in at Blundstone Arena in Hobart were able to proceed under strict biosecurity protocols.

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A spokesperson told NCA NewsWire that the games would go ahead with minimal ground staff at the venue in order to reduce the chance of spreading infection.

At each game, the two teams will be separated from one another as much as possible and those not on the pitch will be required to wear masks.

“The league and all eight clubs are incredibly thankful to the Tasmanian Government for allowing the Weber WBBL to safely continue in Hobart this weekend,” said Alistair Dobson, CA’s general manager of Big Bash Leagues.

“We’d also like to express our gratitude to players and staff from all clubs, plus match officials, broadcast partners and venue staff for their understanding as we worked through the final details with the Tasmanian Government.”

WBBL players have become accustomed to operating under strict Covid-19 regulations, having played the entirety of WBBL|06 in a bubble in Sydney.

“The experience gained from last summer means all involved in the Weber WBBL are well prepared to do whatever necessary to conduct a safe and successful competition this year,” Dobson said.

“While we are disappointed not to be welcoming fans to Blundstone Arena this weekend, we hope they will enjoy all the action from all four games on Seven, Foxtel, Kayo and ABC Radio.”

The Tasmanian Government’s decision to green-light the games is a major relief for Cricket Australia.

On Friday, Tasmanian director of public health Mark Veitch refused to rule out the possibility of extending the lockdown if case numbers were to surge, and given all but four of this month’s 28 WBBL games are scheduled to be played on the Apple Isle, a blanket cancellation of this weekend’s matches would’ve set a nightmarish precedent for CA organisers.

Acting on health advice, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced the lockdown on Friday after a 31-year-old man who flew to Hobart from Melbourne without an appropriate border pass escaped from hotel quarantine.

Police located the man at a home in the northern suburbs of Hobart on Tuesday, and in the days that followed, he returned a positive Covid-19 test.

The lockdown affects southern Tasmania, including Hobart and surrounding areas, and began at 6pm on Friday night. It is set to conclude at 6pm on Monday, subject to public health advice.

Covid press conference
Camera IconOn Friday, Gutwein said his Government would need to consider the impact cancelling the games would have on the WBBL’s broadcast partners. Chris Kidd Credit: News Corp Australia

“We simply cannot afford for an outbreak to occur and put the health and safety of Tasmanians, especially the health and safety of vulnerable Tasmanians, at risk while we get our vaccination rates up. We are at a crucial stage of the vaccination rollout,” Gutwein said on Friday afternoon.

“Therefore, on public health advice, as a result of the circumstances that we now face, there will be a three-day lockdown in southern Tasmania.”

Those in other areas of Tasmania are encouraged to remain vigilant and present for Covid-19 testing if they experience cold and flu symptoms.

Originally published as Tasmanian Government gives WBBL fixtures the green light amid three-day snap lockdown

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