In this update we would like to provide additional information to explain the progress in obtaining government approval to reopen parkrun in each state and territory:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
We have been working closely with the ACT Government and are delighted to confirm that The Chief Health Officer has granted an exemption that will allow parkrun events to reopen as an initial six-week trial commencing on 31 October. This will enable the Government, and parkrun HQ, to review the way our events are being delivered and a progress report provided to the government after the first four weeks.
The ACT Government requires phone numbers to be collected to assist with contact tracing. We have agreed that this will be done via the Check in CBR App, with a QR code that will be available at parkruns and via the social media channels of ACT events. Whilst it would not be reasonable to ask volunteers to check that every participant has scanned in every week, we do strongly encourage all participants to scan in. We currently provide QR codes and encourage participants to scan in at events across New Zealand, a system that has been working well so far.
New South Wales (NSW)
Under the current NSW Health COVID Safe Plan for community sport organisations, the participant limit is 500 people. Three of our events in NSW consistently average between 600 and 700 participants and as such we are unable to comply with this requirement. We have therefore requested an exemption.
Additionally, NSW Health requires all participants to be provided with hand sanitiser. Under our COVID-19 Framework, which is publicly available here, we commit to providing hand sanitiser to all volunteers. However, it is our belief that making additional sanitiser available to walkers and runners will lead to unnecessary queues and less physical distancing before and after the event. Our Framework describes in detail how our events will operate to reduce the time people spend in close proximity to each other, which includes encouraging walkers and runners to bring their own hand sanitiser. This is how all our events around the world that have reopened are operating.
We have therefore requested we reopen our events in NSW with this procedure in place.
Our proposal is currently being reviewed by the Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard.
Northern Territory (NT)
Our three parkruns in the NT continue to go from strength to strength since reopening. More than 1,700 walks, runs and volunteers have been recorded in just the first four weeks!
Queensland Health currently requires phone numbers to be collected for all participants and spectators to assist with contact tracing. This is not a straightforward process for three main reasons.
Firstly, between March 2019 and March 2020 when our events closed, 95,000 different people walked or ran at the 107 Queensland parkruns while 15,000 people volunteered. 65,000 of these people had registered with parkrun prior to March 2019, which gives an idea of the volume of people who are signed up with parkrun who would need to be contacted retrospectively.
Consequently, for parkrun to obtain phone numbers for all existing participants in Queensland alone, we would need to contact more than 100,000 people to ask them to log into their parkrun account and update their details, while also asking new registrants to do the same.
Secondly, if we did attempt to request this level of data, it is not clear what percentage of phone numbers we would need to collect to be compliant with Queensland Health’s requirements.
Finally, as borders begin to reopen, we must also consider there will be people taking part in Queensland parkruns who are from interstate and therefore we would not have their contact telephone number.
As a reference, Queensland Health has previously requested assistance with contact tracing following a measles outbreak near one of our events in 2019. We were able to comply with this request quickly and accurately using the contact information of participants that was available to us.
We are continuing to work with the Sport and Recreation Department, and the Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, to determine a practical solution.
Additionally, Queensland Health requires hand sanitiser to be provided to all participants in the same way as NSW Health. For the reasons set out in our New South Wales update above, we have requested our events reopen under the sanitising procedures detailed in our COVID-19 Framework.
South Australia (SA)
Since our last update, we have reached the point where we now believe that all 38 parkruns in South Australia comply with SA Health requirements. We have therefore sought written permission from the SA Government for parkrun to reopen.
From tomorrow, we are excited to be reopening the 15 existing parkruns in Tasmania and welcoming two new events over the coming weeks.
Melbourne and Regional Victoria continue to have restrictions on outdoor physical activity that do not allow parkrun to reopen at this time, we will however be ready to take all necessary steps to reopen in Victoria as soon as guidelines allow.
Western Australia (WA)
Under the current phase of restrictions in Western Australia, the Health Department requires our COVID Safe Plan to ensure that all participants – walkers, runners and volunteers – maintain a minimum of 1.5 metres physical distancing during the event at all times. This is something we are unable to comply with.
Therefore, as outlined in our previous updates, it is our intention to reopen events in WA when it moves to Phase 5 restrictions. This is currently due to happen on 24 October and we are working with event teams to reopen on that day unless the government announces that the date will change.
We will continue to provide 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 update.
Please can I also take this opportunity to reiterate that 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.
Thanks, as always, for your support and patience.
Territory Manager, parkrun Asia Pacific
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