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The Darwin Triple Crown will be the first supercars event to go ahead with crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Northern Territory government welcoming interstate visitors despite growing concerns about the spread of the virus in Victoria.
NT Major Events director Tim Watsford said organisers had settled on a capacity restriction of 4,500 fans per day at the Hidden Valley raceway as part of a COVID-19 safety plan with NT Government health authorities.
“We usually have up to 30,000 to 40,000 people through here over the weekend, so there’s a significant reduction in people that are allowed in,” he said.
The race will be held on August 8 and 9.
NT Tourism Minister Lauren Moss said she welcomed tourists wanting to travel for the event, which falls after local border restrictions lift on July 17.
“We welcome people coming here to experience the Territory, it is the safest place in the country, it is a beautiful place, and we know that events are a big driver for people to come and visit us,” she said.
“Obviously, if you are in a hotspot, there is the expectation that you will not travel to the Territory, or you will travel to the Territory and undertake quarantine, as per our guidelines, and that will be in place for some time,” she said.
“It’s not lost on us that this will be the first major event that goes ahead after COVID-19, and we want to make sure that not only is it really enjoyable for spectators, but that it’s safe for spectators too.”
Mr Watsford said organisers would ensure that racing teams coming from those hotspots also followed the rules around mandatory quarantine.
“We’ve got some work to do with teams identified in and around those hotspots, absolutely,” he said.
“The track has been set up effectively like a hub, so regardless if borders are open or not, the teams, from a pit-lane perspective, will be isolated from the Territorian public.”
He said the situation in Victoria was being monitored closely, but that he was confident teams from Victoria would do whatever they could to compete at the event, even if that meant going into quarantine.
But he added that the event could still be cancelled, depending on what happened with coronavirus in the NT or elsewhere.
“If there is an outbreak or something along those lines, we’ll monitor the situation closely to ensure [that] the safety of our spectators and staff and Territorians [is] first and foremost.”
There will be no concerts or support categories at this year’s event.
People who already purchased tickets will have priority to repurchase new tickets, with general sales to start later in the week.