Covid 19 Delta Outbreak: Level 2 Event Change Means Ranfurly Shield Final Defense Could Draw Thousands

A large crowd at McLean Park in Napier in December 2020. Photo / Paul Taylor

A government rule change means thousands of fans could potentially flock to McLean Park in Napier on Saturday afternoon for Ranfurly Shield’s final defense of the Magpies of the season.

The government updated its restrictions on the number of people who can attend events in areas currently under Alert Level 2. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office today confirmed the change to Hawke’s Bay Today.

There is now no cap on the number of people allowed to participate in indoor and outdoor events as long as spectators and spectators stay within one meter of each other.

That’s a far cry from the old rule that only allowed 100 people per defined space, and could be the savior of many spring events across the country.

However, it is unclear whether the public will be allowed into McLean Park on Saturday, as the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union plans to make an announcement on Thursday on how many people it will allow in the ground.

“This is something that we are currently working on, there have been some recent changes to the guidelines that allow us to have a little more flexibility for participation, but it still means that we have to structure the head offices socially distanced, this which significantly reduces the number of seats available, “said a spokesperson for Hawke’s Bay Rugby.

“Once we complete this planning, we may have a limited number of tickets available for public sale.”

Fans are allowed to return to McLean Park.
Fans are allowed to return to McLean Park.

The government’s rule change went into effect today.

“There is no restriction on the number of people who can attend an event in a place, for example in a stadium, cinema or theater – as long as everyone can stay safely within 1 meter one. on the other, ”indicates the new restriction.

“This includes indoor and outdoor event facilities, as well as ticketed and non-ticketed events. “

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Department and the Covid-19 Group Cabinet confirmed the rule change.

“The capacity limit for the event facility of 100 people at alert level 2 was removed at 11:59 p.m. on October 5, 2021.

“The capacity of event facilities will now be limited by a 1m physical distancing rule.”

McLean Park has a capacity of over 19,000, which means that even under the new restrictions, a large crowd could potentially attend Saturday’s Ranfurly Shield game.

It is understood that every other row would have to be blocked off to meet the new rule and that people should sit a few seats apart.

Tasman has never won Ranfurly’s Shield and will travel to Napier to face the Hawke’s Bay Magpies – who currently hold the Shield – on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET.

Tasman fans even chartered three flights to take them directly from Nelson to Napier for the game – tickets selling out in 48 hours.

This includes more than 50 Tasman supporters who will arrive aboard Originair flights on Saturday.

The greater Tasman and Marlborough region has not seen a successful Shield Challenge for almost 50 years, when Marlborough last won it in 1973.

Tasman Rugby Union CEO Lyndon Bray said that 1973/74 Marlborough team captain Ramon Sutherland spoke to the players this week in a heated speech.

“He went from Blenheim to Nelson and addressed the team in an incredibly moving and passionate speech. It was something very special,” he said.

“Bringing him here would be amazing, but the first thing we have to focus on is getting the job done and respecting the fact that we’ll be playing a damn good team.”

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