THE confirmation of a COVID-19 lockdown extension on Thursday morning for the Central West has thrown further doubt on whether regional and local winter sporting competitions will ever be able to wrap up their seasons.
As expected, the lockdown extension was announced during this NSW state government's daily press conference as daily cases continue to be seen in Bathurst and Orange.
NSW deputy premier John Barilaro confirmed that community sport will no longer be going ahead in the state until an 80 per cent double vaccination rate is reached.
Barilaro stated it might not be until early to mid November that such a figure is seen.
That means Group 10 Rugby League, along with Bathurst's local football and netball competitions, will be hard pressed to see any game time take place for the rest of the year.
That 80 per cent target also likely means that Bathurst Orange Inter District Cricket will have the start of their competition affected.
Barilaro, during Thursday afternoon's follow-up online regional press conference, said it's not feasible to bring community sport back before the double vaccination target is reached.
"We'd have ticketed events in what we'd call a very restricted and controlled environment. In community sports you're relying on volunteers. You have canteens and a range of activities that you have no ability to police," he said.
"You can't police spectators on the sideline so we tend to err on the side of caution. It's easier for us not to permit community sport during this lifting of restrictions in the regions or even at the 70 per cent mark. Yes, it's unfortunate, but it's about the balancing game.
"Community sport won't return and it won't return until technically we get to 80 per cent double vaccinations.
"Under the roadmap that we announced today, the 70 per cent roadmap, which is the NSW roadmap, it still prevents and precludes community sport coming back.
"Now, we haven't announced what happens at 80 per cent yet, we'll do that in the weeks ahead, but community sport will, in my mind, return when we get to 80 per cent double vaccination across the state.
"So between now and, possibly that could be early to mid November, there won't be any community sport."
Barilaro did confirm that if a local government area came out of lockdown then training would still be able to resume, although competitive games would still not be permitted.
Group 10 president Linore Zamparini said the committee would meet to discuss their options for the season.
"It is starting to get away from us but we'll have to discuss that tonight," he said on Thursday afternoon.
"We wanted a result. The clubs wanted a result. It would be great to get it but if it can't be then it can't be.
"It's tough on the clubs. That's who you feel for. They can't plan and they can't do anything.
"The other thing is that most of the clubs have paid their players, because the coaches would have been on a fee, and they don't have any opportunity to recoup that through the finals or a grand final."
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