Right from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the suspension of parkrun events around the world, we made a commitment to the parkrun community to provide a weekly global update. This weekly communication covers all 22 parkrun territories and even on weeks where there have been no significant developments, we have honoured our commitment to provide as much insight and information as possible to the global parkrun family.
More recently, in Australia, as restrictions have continued to ease and events have reopened in the Northern Territory, we have provided fortnightly updates on Fridays, and we are committed to continuing these.
With around 700,000 registered parkrunners across Australia we appreciate that there are a wide variety of personal views on the various state and territory government guidelines designed to facilitate the return of community activities such as parkun.
It is important to say that while some of the publicly available information relating to government guidelines may seemingly suggest that parkrun can meet the criteria in certain states and territories, our responsibility is to ensure that every event satisfies every requirement, and that parkrun receives explicit government approval to reopen. This has been our position since the beginning of the pandemic.
In some jurisdictions we are currently unable to comply with various requirements such as participant limits, physical distancing, methods of contact tracing, and sanitisation. We continue to work closely with those governments to forge a path for parkrun to return safely and sustainably.
The status of each state and territory within Australia is therefore as follows:
Northern Territory (NT)
We were delighted to see parkrun return to the NT on 19 September.
Following confirmation from Sport and Recreation at the Department of Communities Tasmania, we are excited to confirm that parkrun events will reopen on 17 October under our COVID-19 framework.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Group gathering limits in the ACT have recently been revised and a COVID Safe Event Protocol has been developed to help organisers plan events with more than 100 people. We are currently working with the seven parkrun events in the ACT to prepare and submit the necessary documentation to the government.
New South Wales (NSW)
NSW Health updated its framework for community sport organisations on 24 September. Whilst a small number of our events will sometimes exceed the participant limit of 500 people, we have submitted our COVID-19 Framework to the Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, and are working with the government to understand if there is a way for all of our events in NSW to open.
Queensland Health has increased participant limits this week to 1000. Following extensive consultation with the Sport and Recreation Department we have now formally submitted our COVID-19 Framework to the Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young.
South Australia (SA)
We are working with all 38 events in South Australia to better understand how our events can comply with the current crowd density requirements in SA.
Melbourne and Regional Victoria continue to have restrictions on outdoor exercise that do not allow parkrun to reopen at this time.
Western Australia (WA)
As we have mentioned in previous updates, the tentative start date for Phase 5 of the WA COVID-19 roadmap is 24 October. We therefore provisionally intend to reopen events in WA on that day under our COVID-19 Framework. However, this date could come forward, or move backwards, depending on government announcements. We continue to work closely with parkrun Ambassadors and event teams in WA to ensure everything is in place for parkrun’s return.
Two weeks is the minimum notice we will give to volunteer teams prior to the reopening of events in any state and territory, so please be assured that we will provide confirmation in accordance with this timeframe.
Please can I also take this opportunity to assure the parkrun community in Australia that our small team of staff is working as hard as we can to reopen parkrun across Australia and the rest of the Asia Pacific region that we are responsible for.
Our weekly global update will continue to be shared every Wednesday morning and there will continue to be an Australian specific update every second Friday. In the event that there is a significant update to share in the interim, such as an announcement about parkrun returning in a state or territory, we will communicate this in an additional Friday update.
Thanks, as always, for your support and patience.
Territory Manager, parkrun Asia Pacific
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