A number of sporting associations across Central Highlands have discussed their plans to reopen.
A number of sporting associations across Central Highlands have discussed their plans to reopen.

Sporting clubs discuss plans to reopen

MANY sporting clubs across the region will remain closed despite recently eased restrictions allowing non-contact community sport.

Stage two of the state’s plan to ease restrictions was moved forward to June 1 and allows gatherings of up to 20 people at a range of venues and will include non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport.

Emerald Academy of Dance director Jane Davis said she was excited to welcome all the young dancers back to the studio.

The dance studio has been operating online while coronavirus restrictions have been in place, although Ms Davis said the students had been getting tired of the reduced social interactions.

“We have been online at reduced capacity with the kids and they’ve been getting really weary with no face-to-face contact,” she said.

“But to some degree it has been really good for us because the students have had access to a lot of teachers outside of Emerald.”

Ms Davis said the students had also been enrolled into an online 16-week program based in Melbourne, which they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

The Emerald-based dance company will reopen on Monday, June 8, abiding by coronavirus health and hygiene requirements.

Classes will be limited to 20 people, including teachers, which Ms Davis said was similar to the club’s usual numbers.

“It will be nice to have them all back,” she said.

While some clubs are eager to reopen as soon as possible, it hasn’t been feasible for others.

Clermont Netball Association president Kirsty Appleton said the announcement didn’t change anything at the club, that was still trying to meet all other coronavirus requirements, including having a safety co-ordinator.

“For small community clubs, where you’re already short on staff, it makes it difficult,” she said.

Ms Appleton said the club was planning to open in line with Stage 3 of the Road map to Recovery to allow more players but would only reopen if there was enough community interest.

Players are still required to pay full season fees for insurance purposes, even though they will only play a half season without the guarantee of inter-town competitions.

“We’re really heavily dependant on expressions of interest and if we have that interest we will definitely do what we can to make that happen,” Ms Appleton said.

“(The eased restrictions) are great but at the same time there’s still so many restrictions in place and unknowns.”

She said summer sports would probably be most excited, with the potential to host a full season later in the year.

Many residents, business owners and sporting groups were excited to hear the news, although Dysart’s CQ Dance Academy owner Katie Griffiths wished they were given more notice.

The dance studio will also hold off reopening until Term 3 to make sure everything is up to scratch and in line with government and health requirements.

“We have to restructure all the classes, mark out the flooring, but it has to be viable,” she said.

“It was just thrown upon us and it’s frustrating more than anything because we’ve been planning towards Term 3.”

Ms Griffiths said she was looking forward to having students dancing again and would work towards to the end of year concert, if it’s allowed to go ahead.

“It will be good if we can and sad if we can’t because that’s what they all look forward to,” she said.

The golf clubs will continue operating, Emerald Archery Club won’t open for the public until at least next month, Emerald Bowls Club and Blackwater Junior Motorcross Club committees will meet this week to discuss plans of reopening.

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