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Brownlow Medal live: Lachie Neale the favourite, AFL players and partners gather for different ceremony


The 2020 Brownlow Medal is here — but not as you know it.

Follow all the glamour and drama of the night, with Brisbane’s Lachie Neale the favourite to take home the medal.

Live updates

By Dean Bilton

What do we know about tonight? 

 

While much of how tonight will work is a mystery, there are a few things we know for sure. We know that players will be gathering in little mini-Brownlow events all over the country, so as to stay in line with coronavirus restrictions. We know that Lachie Neale is the favourite. That’s about it.

  

By Dean Bilton

A Brownlow Medal night with a difference 

 

Hello one and all and welcome, on this fine Sunday night in mid-October, to the 2020 Brownlow Medal. A strange season in a strange year has tossed up a strange Brownlow night, with so many of the event’s traditions made impossible by the rona and whatnot.

 

And so we are left with… whatever this is. A rearranged and rescheduled digital ceremony that, if nothing else, should at least allow us to crown and celebrate the best player of this AFL season.

 

How will it work? Not really sure! Will everyone still be wearing the fancy clothes? Don’t know! Can anyone stop Lachie Neale from winning? Probably not! But we’re going to have some fun finding out. Stick around for the night as we navigate this peculiar COVID Brownlow together.



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When is the Brownlow Medal 2020, how can I watch and why is Lachie Neale the favourite


As you are no doubt aware, things have been a little bit different across all walks of life in 2020, and the Brownlow Medal has not been spared.

Usually it’s a lavish ceremony in Melbourne, where all the game’s best and brightest gather with their partners and key AFL dignitaries to celebrate the season and name the best individual player.

This year, for reasons so obvious they need not be named, that can’t happen. But the show, in some form, must go on and the 2020 Brownlow will be one like no other before.

Here’s how it will work, how you can watch it and who is (probably) going to win it.

When is the 2020 Brownlow Medal?

Sunday night, October 18 at 7:00pm AEDT.

Yes, it’s on a Sunday night this year instead of a Monday, just to keep the changes coming.

The winner is set to be officially crowned (medalled?) at 9:30pm AEDT.

A tight head shot of Nat Fyfe holding up the Brownlow Medal near his face.
Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe won the award last year.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Where is it being held?

All over the country. The Brownlow this year will be a made-for-TV digital event, with socially distanced functions set to be held at six separate venues across the country.

The invited players will either be at Channel Seven studios in Melbourne or Sydney, Perth Stadium, Carrara Stadium or Adelaide Oval.

Will there be a red carpet this year?

Not as such, no, but you can bet that players and partners will be dressed to the nines for their respective events regardless.

Clayton Oliver leans down to lift the trail of his partner's dress on the Brownlow Medal red carpet
The traditional Brownlow red carpet won’t go ahead, but players and partners will certainly still be dressing up.(AAP: Julian Smith)

In fact, given the change in format, players have reportedly been told they don’t need to follow a strict black tie dress code and might get a little creative with their suit options.

How can I watch the Brownlow?

It will be on Channel Seven and its affiliate channel 7Mate from 7:00pm AEDT.

You can also follow along in our live blog, which will have all the pseudo-red carpet colour and drama of the count, from 4:30pm AEDT.

Who is going to win it?

Lachie Neale, more than likely.

A Brisbane Lions AFL player holds the ball in both hands during a match against Fremantle at the Gabba.
Lachie Neale is the runaway favourite for this year’s medal.(AAP: Darren England)

The Brisbane Lions midfielder has been the favourite for most of the season, and his sensational and awfully consistent play has deserved it.

Most predictors have Neale coming out on top by a good few votes, but don’t discount a run from Port Adelaide’s Travis Boak or Melbourne’s Christian Petracca.

How is the Brownlow decided?

After every home and away game, the umpires select their three best players from the match, with three votes going to the player they judge to have been the best, two to the next and so on.

Those votes are kept secret until the night of the Brownlow ceremony, where they are read out and a winner is crowned.



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Melbourne Storm NRL captain Cameron Smith remains a favourite target of critics


It says very little about Cameron Smith and much more about the blood sport that is rugby league that his wife Barb has somehow become the most controversial owner of a ring since Gollum.

Barb Smith didn’t have to kill anyone to get her band of gold. The token of appreciation was presented by the NRL last season to acknowledge her role in her husband’s achievement of playing 400 NRL matches. The ring came from the bottom of the game’s heart, not the bottom of a river.

But such is the NRL’s constant craving for confrontation, conspiracy and controversy Barb’s ring has been used to symbolise Smith’s alleged entitlement and cast as an affront to ordinary rugby league folk.

Because, you know, if then-NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg hadn’t bought the ring, cash-strapped country leagues would have been lifted from the doldrums, ticket prices would tumble, new stadiums would magically appear in the suburbs and Orphan Timmy would have that Panthers jersey he’s always dreamed of.

Never mind that the $15,000 price tag wouldn’t cover the bar tab at some of the NRL events frequented by the same journalists who begrudge a gift that was unusual, though no more so than the unprecedented achievement it commemorated.

A Melbourne Storm NRL players smiles as he and his wife pose for a photograph after a match.
A diamond ring given to Smith’s wife Barb has again attracted media attention.(AAP: Daniel Pockett)

Yet, inevitably, the Curse of Barb’s Ring has had another airing this week. This time the ring was the mystical item that almost caused the friendship of Craig Bellamy and former teammate Ricky Stuart — and even the close relationship between Bellamy and Smith — to dissolve.

I will spare you the details.

All you need to know is that in the lead-up to what could be Smith’s final game — and almost certainly his last game at Lang Park — the prattle is about almost anything other than Smith’s vast achievements on the park.

You might argue that over the course of 56 games for Australia, 42 for Queensland and 428 for the Storm there is not much left to say about Smith’s career and the famously circumspect hooker has never been particularly forthcoming about his own achievements.

As an interview subject Smith can be generous and expansive about the game but equally dry and even evasive about his own role. I suspect we will find out far more about him when he releases the autobiography being written in collaboration with The Sydney Morning Herald’s accomplished sportswriter Andrew Webster.

Of course, Smith has not announced his retirement plans. The singular Melbourne skipper was always more likely to leave the Storm’s game plan in the Raiders’ sheds before Saturday night’s game than signal his intentions before he was good and ready.

But rather than leaving his possible replacements Brandon Smith and Harry Grant in limbo, the most regrettable consequence of Smith’s refusal to call it quits — if that is what he intends to do — is how this has inflamed those elements of the media determined to hold him in contempt.

Smith’s media treatment

If rugby league is an unruly beast, its reportage can be like bare-knuckle boxing. Never more so when someone refuses to march to the constantly throbbing beat of the media drum.

Some choose to play the media game, courting favourite journalists and outlets and — inevitably — get burnt by those they spurn.

Some shun all approaches and are persecuted for “failing to engage with the fans” — code for “why won’t you tell me your most intimate secrets just because I wrote you were a cheating bum last week?”

Others think they are treading a dignified line between cooperation and conspiracy, only to find their agent or even coach has been trading on their name to curry media favours.

Inevitably all these strange bedfellows satisfy the public’s appetite for rumour, conspiracy and endless fighting and feuding, although you wonder how well-informed it leaves them.

Where Smith stands in this sometimes self-interested, sometimes self-destructive world is hard to know.

But his vilification for everything from arguing with a referee while oblivious to the plight of the paralysed Alex McKinnon to the supposed mindlock he puts on referees suggests he either refuses to play the media game or is very bad at it.

Inevitably, the coverage of Smith’s career has pandered to the innate prejudice of those fans whose dim perspective of the Storm great is amplified by their team’s inability to tame him.

A Cronulla NRL players is tackled by two Melbourne Storm players.
Smith (left) has been crucial to the Storm’s run to the preliminary finals.(AAP: Craig Golding)

Consequently, the player of immense talent and almost preternatural resilience has sometimes been lost amid cliched taunts and false accusations.

Yet Smith’s likely final season has been one of his finest, especially given his impact was supposed to have been diminished by the toll taken on his 37-year-old body and the now relentless pace of speed-oriented “V’landysball”.

Respected rugby league analyst Peter Sterling was just one to fall for this narrative when he declared Smith’s place as the best number nine in the NRL had been usurped by Josh Hodgson after a poor early-season game against the Raiders.

A week later Smith put on yet another clinic and Sterling was seen ordering a large helping of humble pie in the Network Nine canteen.

Smith enters Saturday night’s game with a noose around his neck. An accumulation of minor offences means he will miss the grand final should he so much as rupture a Raiders’ cuticle.

It would be a great shame if Smith spent what was supposed to be his final triumphant game on the sidelines; although it would add another chapter to that great NRL fairytale, the Curse of Barb’s Ring.

Offsiders host Kelli Underwood and the panel will analyse all the big sports issues and events this Sunday at 10:00am on ABC TV.



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Fever halts Alexander Zverev, Rafael Nadal eases through, women’s favourite Simona Halep beaten at French Open


Alexander Zverev revealed he played with fever and breathing difficulties following his loss to Italian Jannik Sinner at the French Open.

Sixth seed Zverev was seen coughing on court and admitted he “should not have played” after a 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 defeat by teenager Sinner.

“I am completely sick after the match with Cecchinato in the night [session], Zverev said.

“Yeah, what can I say? I’m completely sick. I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know … I’m not in the best physical state, I would say.

“I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT), which runs the clay-court grand slam, told Reuters that Zverev last tested for COVID-19 on September 29 and the test returned a negative result the following day.

Elsewhere, twelve-time champion Rafa Nadal raced into another quarter-final with a 6-1 6-1 6-2 victory over American qualifier Sebastian Korda.

Rafael Nadal looks up and the sky and clenches both fists
Rafael Nadal breezed past the man that named his cat after him.(AP: Michel Euler)

Korda, who named his cat after the Spanish champion and asked for an autograph at the net after the result, said that despite the one-sided nature of the result, he was still pleased to have played his idol on the big stage.

“Ever since I was a kid, I mean, I was in love with him and everything about him,” Korda said.

US Open champion Dominic Thiem survived a scare as he edged out French wildcard Hugo Gaston 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3.

The Austrian said that he was “lucky” to have made it through after another stirring performance from Gaston put the sport’s newest grand slam champion under enormous pressure.

“He’s got such a big touch in his hand, his drop shots are from another planet. I must have sprinted 400 times to the net,” said Thiem, who is on course to collide with 12-time champion Nadal in the semi-finals.

“If he continues like this he’s gonna be a huge player and give this stadium a lot of joy. I’m lucky I made it through today.”

Halep falls to Polish teen as seeds tumble in women’s draw

Simona Halep scratches her head and looks to the ground
Simona Halep’s 17-match winning run came to a crashing halt.(AP: Michel Euler)

Top seed Simona Halep and fifth seed Kiki Bertens suffered shock fourth-round defeats at the French Open on Sunday.

Halep, a heavy favourite to lift a second title at Roland Garros, was stunned 6-1 6-2 by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek, who moved into a grand slam quarter-final for the first time.

Swiatek, the only teenager who reached the fourth round, avenged a crushing defeat by Halep at the same stage last year.

The Romanian won that match 6-1, 6-0, in just 45 minutes but was never in this contest as she lost the first set in just 26 minutes and never recovered, her career-best 17-match winning streak coming to a juddering halt.

“I felt I was playing perfectly,” Swiatek said.

That result was good news for Ash Barty, who will retain the world number one spot until the end of the year at least, despite not setting foot on a court in anger since the sport resumed after the coronavirus break.

Swiatek will next face Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan who secured a hard-fought 6-4 6-4 win over Dutchwoman Bertens.

Losses for Halep and Bertens mean there are only four seeded players remaining in the women’s singles draw — Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova and Ons Jabeur.

ABC/wires



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Coatsworth’s hilarious comment on hydroxychloroquine, Trump’s favourite virus drug


Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth gave a hilarious response to a question on hydroxychloroquine at his press conference on Friday.

Trump’s favourite virus drug was spruiked in parliament on Thursday by Coalition MP Craig Kelly, who controversially said “groupthink” and the ”complete abandonment of reason” were driving a ”war” on hydroxychloroquine.

But Mr Coatsworth said Australians know “which Kelly should be listened to in COVID-19”.

Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has said the drug – which has been labelled “potentially harmful” by the country’s peak COVID research body – “doesn’t work”.

Mr Coatsworth backed him up on Friday.

“With regards to the comments made in parliament on hydroxychloroquine, I think Australians are very clear on which Kelly should be listened to in COVID-19 and that is Paul Kelly,” he said.

“Paul Kelly, like myself, like all clinicians around Australia, understands that regrettably hydroxychloroquine is not effective for COVID-19.

“While I understand why there are many Australians out there looking for a solution, we have solutions come across our desk literally every day and have to work whether they are or they aren’t effective.”

Mr Coatsworth said if the drug, which is used to treat malaria and lupus, was effective at treating COVID-19 they would use it.

“I believe we have tonnes of hydroxychloroquine in this country, which was really generously donated by Clive Palmer, early on in the pandemic where there was a possibility hydroxychloroquine would be useful,” he said.

“Now, there are no circumstances where we, as government, or clinicians, would sit on several tonnes worth of hydroxychloroquine in the national medical stockpile if it were useful for COVID-19. We would be giving it to patients right now.

“But unfortunately it’s not — the trials are very clear on that.

“And in fact the World Health Organisation pulled hydroxychloroquine from one of its trial arms because the evidence was so clear that it was not effective. Now, that doesn’t happen very often and it only happens when it’s clear there’s no benefit at all from the treatment.

“So, regrettably, hydroxychloroquine is not the answer.”

He said the country’s peak coronavirus research body, the National COVID Evidence Taskforce, was on the case when it came to finding safe and effective treatments for the disease.

“We’ve got the best evidence for treatment at the moment and we’ll continue to communicate that to the Australian people.”



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The West Coast Eagles are the bookies’ favourite for the AFL flag, and it’s hard to argue against that


If a week is a long time in politics, a month is an eternity in football.

On June 27, West Coast slumped to a 48-point thrashing at the hands of Port Adelaide, its third straight loss, and questions were being asked about the club’s approach to being in the Gold Coast hub.

They had failed to kick more than six goals in a game for three straight weeks and had won just one quarter of football in that time.

Since then, they have surged to AFL premiership favouritism and fourth spot on the ladder, winning four straight matches by an average of 40 points.

Nic Naitanui gets a ride above a large pack of players, including Adelaide's Reilly O'Brien
Nic Naitanui (centre) and the rest of West Coast’s highly regarded midfield have spread their wings.(AAP: Darren England)

On Sunday, they booted the highest score by any side this season, kicking 111 points, and kept Collingwood to its second-lowest score of the year.

“We were really concerned after the three losses we had. The identity of our side was a little bit off,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said after the win.

“I really thought our players really took ownership. Our leadership, from the older guys to the guys coming through, really stepped up.

“I don’t know where we’re at in terms of the competition, but I feel like we’ve caught up a little bit, more than anything.

“It goes from being crisis to flag favourites.”

Big guns hit stride with friendly run ahead

The Eagles have restricted sides to six goals or less in their last four outings, with their midfield, led by Tim Kelly and Nic Naitanui, beginning to gel.

Adding to what can only be a buoyant mood for West Coast is the resurgent form of Josh Kennedy.

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The veteran spearhead kicked four goals against Fremantle a week ago, and followed that effort up with seven majors against the Magpies.

With the limited view of how the AFL season will play out, it’s hard to see any immediate hurdles awaiting the Eagles.

Oscar Allen is patted on the backside by Tom Cole. Elliot Yeo and Tim Kelly smile
The Eagles are smiling, and for good reason.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

They will play at least three more games at Perth Stadium, against Geelong, Carlton and a struggling Hawthorn, and could be in Perth for even longer depending on the situation on the east coast.

Indeed, West Coast will likely continue to improve.

Kennedy’s fellow key forward, Jack Darling, has kicked goals in each of his past four matches but appears a little off his best, while defender Jeremy McGovern will return at some point from a thumb injury

The Eagles are the bookies’ favourite, and it’s hard to argue against that, especially if WA snags the grand final.



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Cinemas, camping, gyms and footy training: The latest coronavirus rules around your favourite recreational activities


Parts of Australia are slowly beginning to wake up after a coronavirus-induced hibernation, with businesses and activities gradually returning to normal.

But that doesn’t mean flipping a switch and things going back to the way they were before.

The Prime Minister recently announced a three-step framework, detailing how certain industries can start reopening to the public.

But it’s up to each state and territory to decide how and when they roll back their restrictions, and which businesses will be allowed to do what.

It’s also up to each state and territory government whether restrictions return if COVID-19 cases start to rise again.

Here’s what we know so far about some common activities.

When will gyms reopen?

Step one of the national three-step frame work doesn’t permit any indoor physical activity, including at gyms.

But it does allow up to 10 people to participate in outdoor sport, and some gyms and boot camps have taken advantage of that by offering limited outdoor classes if their location allows.

Three women in a gym, squatting while holding dumbbells. In between each woman is electrical tape marking physical distancing.
Some Aussies have been feeling a little lost without their regular gym routines.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

Some states are keener than others to start working off all that extra Uber Eats.

Gyms are open in the Northern Territory, but you shouldn’t be there for more than two hours (props to you if you’re working out longer than that).

In Western Australia, up to 20 people can now participate in indoor and outdoor fitness classes as long as there’s no shared equipment.

Indoor gyms are still closed in New South Wales and Victoria — NSW says outdoor exercise equipment can be used “with caution“, while Victoria says don’t touch it.

Up to 10 people are allowed to join outdoor gyms or bootcamps in Tasmania, the ACT and Queensland.

South Australia has a 10-person limit for outdoor non-contact sports at the moment, and gyms are flagged to reopen on June 8.

Step three of the national framework says venues can welcome up to 100 people at a time, so lots of owners are in the process of working out how they’re going to implement those limits.

Closed sign on gym equipment at Brisbane's South Bank parklands.
Some states are allowing outdoor fitness equipment to be used again.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)

One condition of gyms reopening to up to 20 people at a time is that they must adhere to the four square metre rule (so some smaller gyms may have to limit their attendees to even less than 20).

Every gym has their own COVID-19 plan, so contact your facility to see how they’re implementing it and the conditions of their reopening before you go.

What about cinemas?

No cinemas yet — but in some places, they’re not far off.

The national framework says indoor movie theatres can open for up to 20 people in step two and up to 100 people in step three.

Queensland is adopting this part of the plan for stage two of their roadmap, which is expected to begin on June 12, as has South Australia, where cinemas and theatres are to reopen on June 8.

Cinemas are set to reopen in the Northern Territory on June 5, and Western Australia has also flagged reopening cinemas with gathering limits as part of their third phase of easing restrictions, which we should hear more about in the next few weeks.

A staff member vacuums the red carpet inside the dimly-lit cinema
Some states have revealed their plans to reopen cinemas soon.(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

There’s not a lot of detail available at the moment about what distances people would have to sit apart when cinemas do reopen.

Cinemas and theatres in New South Wales are still closed for now, as they are in the ACT, Tasmania and Victoria (but Tasmania has flagged reopening cinemas to up to 20 people from June 15).

For now, stick to Netflix (and iView!).

Can I go to brunch?

In most states and territories, you can — but the process might be a little different to what we’re used to.

Up to 20 patrons can sit in cafes and restaurants in Western Australia, but Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT and New South Wales venues are limited to 10 customers at a time for now.

Outdoor dining in small groups has resumed in South Australia, as long as everyone is appropriately distanced.

A sign at the counter of an Adelaide cafe advises customers not to use cash.
Most states are starting to reopen cafes with strict limits on diner numbers.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

Table service is still not allowed in Victoria, but you can get takeaway.

Restaurants, cafes, food courts and sports or RSL clubs are open again in the Northern Territory, but as with gyms, they have a two-hour time limit.

Some restaurants and cafes require people to have downloaded the COVIDSafe app or to provide their contact details before they can dine at the venue for contact tracing purposes, and because of customer limits, pre-bookings are recommended.

Or perhaps a nightclub?

Sorry party animals — nightclubs aren’t at the top of the list to reopen first in most places.

The NT is ready to party though, they’re reopening nightclubs, concert halls, dance halls and bars on June 5.

Queensland has listed nightclubs as one of the venues that can have up to 100 people from July 10, but that’s subject to further planning.

Nightclubs have also been listed as a “future step for consideration” in South Australia, but there’s no date on that for now.

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner holds a beer at a pub.
Most nightclubs remain closed for now, but the Northern Territory was the first Australian jurisdiction to reopen their pubs.(ABC News)

The national framework recommends nightclubs don’t open until the third stage of the three-step plan — but when they do, they can have up to 100 people.

It also recommends that places like brothels and strip clubs stay closed until further notice.

I miss camping! Can I go?

Not in Victoria, there’s still a ban on camping in national parks there.

Camping in a state park or campground is still prohibited in Tasmania too, but is flagged in their second stage of easing restrictions that starts on June 15, and campgrounds in the ACT are also closed.

Campgrounds and caravan parks remain closed in NSW, unless you work or permanently live there.

Queenslanders are only allowed to go on day trips at the moment, but from June 12 camping in national and state parks will be back on, and people can travel up to 250km from home to do it.

But in South Australia, regional travel is allowed again and campgrounds and caravan parks are allowed to reopen, again with all the necessary social distancing.

A woman walking along a hiking track, with mountains and a lake nearby.
Some states and territories are allowing camping again, while others say it’s too soon.(Supplied: Ellie Keft/Instagram- ellielouhere)

Camping is also permitted in Western Australia in accordance with travel restrictions — there are still some intrastate borders in place in WA, and campers must observe the 10-person gathering limit.

Similarly in the Northern Territory, you can camp but you can’t enter restricted biosecurity zones, so it’s best to check what parks are open and the activities you can do there before you go.

Can my footy team train and play?

Organised training is allowed for sports teams in the Northern Territory, and playing team sports is expected to be allowed from June 5.

In Western Australia you can play non-contact sport with up to 20 people (some contact sport is expected return in their next phase).

Right now in Queensland up to 10 people can play non-contact sport outdoors, but from June 12, up to 20 people can gather for “non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport”.

Outdoor sports training is allowed in South Australia for up to 10 people, and competitive sport is flagged to resume from June 8, including indoor sport.

The ACT is allowing up to 10 people to participate in social sport, as long as it’s non-contact and outdoors, and up to 10 people can do non-contact training in Tasmania too.

In Victoria, sport can resume if it’s outside, non-competitive, everyone stays at least 1.5 metres apart and there’s no more than ten people in a group — so if you can’t modify your sport so there’s no contact, it’s not allowed.

New South Wales also says people must stay 1.5 metres apart outdoors, and no more than 10 people can gather.

A ball boy holds an NRL rugby league ball while wearing a pair of gloves.
Training for and playing contact sports is still off-limits in most states and territories.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

I want all my loved ones at my wedding. Is that allowed?

Depends how long your list of loved ones is.

Restrictions limiting attendance at weddings and funerals have been particularly tough, but these are slowly starting to relax in most states and territories.

The Northern Territory doesn’t specify a limit on outdoor weddings, and in Queensland the current 10-person limit is set to increase to 20 from June 12 and up to 100 from July 10.

Western Australian weddings can have up to 20 people inside or 30 people outside.

Ten guests can also attend a wedding in New South Wales right now, not including the couple, celebrant and photographer.

Victoria has a similar rule — 10 guests plus the couple and celebrant — same in Tasmania.

The ACT also has a 10-person rule for weddings — there, it includes the couple, but doesn’t include the celebrant and photographer.

South Australia also includes the couple in their 10-person limit, but not a celebrant or “necessary staff”.

A woman with a bridal couple on a beach, bride viewed from behind.
There are still restrictions on how many guests can attend weddings around Australia for now.(Supplied: Candice Bydder)

There’s various social distancing and hygiene conditions to holding weddings no matter where you are, so check with your venue first.

If you have guests who are interstate, don’t forget some states and territories still have strict border restrictions in place.

Guests may be forced to quarantine after crossing the border, or if they don’t have the appropriate exemptions they may not be allowed to cross at all.

When can my kids go back to dance class?

Or basketball practice, or swimming lessons, or orchestra… It all depends where they do their extracurricular activities, and how many people are in the group.

In Queensland, for example, from June 12, up to 20 people will be allowed at pools, community sports clubs, theatres, auditoriums, health clubs and yoga studios.

The Northern Territory has already opened studios again for dance classes and organised training for sports teams is back on too.

Outdoor sports training can go ahead in South Australia in small groups, and community halls and clubrooms can open, but they have to keep any indoor sporting facilities closed.

But in New South Wales dance halls are still closed, as are all indoor recreation facilities and indoor public pools.

Two boys, wearing blue and yellow uniforms, from the Natimuk United Football Club in Victoria's west
Slater and Deagan Perkin from the Natimuk United Football Club are looking forward to training.(ABC Wimmera: Sean Wales)

The ACT allows small groups to play and train for social sport and for swimming lessons to take place, but all indoor and outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of 10 people including children.

In Victoria, small group lessons at places like community centres “cannot resume at this time” and contact sport is off the table — but from Monday, new protocols will allow for some gathering-limited, socially distanced AFL and netball training to resume.

Tasmania says any indoor venue used for sport and recreation can’t open or operate, including those used for dance, cheer and gymnastics, but non-contact sports training is allowed in groups of 10.

In Western Australia up to 20 people can partake in fitness and non-contact sports, swim in public pools or gather at community facilities.

Can I go overseas?

Overseas travel still isn’t on the cards to be resuming anytime soon.

We’ve heard estimates about overseas travel not returning before 2021, and even that air travel might not fully go back to normal until 2023.

But for now, all overseas travel is currently banned and exceptions to the rule are few and far between.

Returning overseas traveller wearing face masks talk and hold their bags.
Overseas travel is banned, but some domestic travel is expected to resume soon.(AAP: Dan Peled)

There’s a chance we could be able to visit New Zealand before international borders completely reopen, but there’s no guarantees on that right now.

That dream overseas holiday will have to wait a little while longer.

The main thing to remember…

Every state and territory is rolling back their restrictions differently.

Within that, each business is coming up with their own plans to meet requirements based on their particular location, facilities, staff and style of operation.

National Cabinet is reviewing the progress of easing restrictions regularly, as are state and territory governments, so there is a chance that restrictions could remain in place or even be brought back if safety is at risk.

If you’re not sure about something, check your state or territory government’s website or contact the business directly to ask how they’re doing things.



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