Sydney’s Mardi Gras goes ahead with restrictions

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Sydney, Australia, Mardi Gras

Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is going ahead but in a different format due to coronavirus restrictions.

It is being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where people can socially distance in their seats rather than on the traditional route down Oxford Street.

Up to 23,000 spectators are being allowed in the stands while the performers are on the pitch.

Organisers say this year’s parade will move away from the traditional large floats and instead focus on the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props.

Face masks are mandatory for participants and there are temperature checks and screening at entry points.

Meanwhile, LGBTQI rights protesters were given the green light to march down Oxford Street in a separate event before the parade.

Health officials in New South Wales state agreed to make an exception to the 500-person limit on public gatherings after organisers agreed to enhanced contact-tracing processes.

The marchers are protesting against social issues including transphobia, the mandatory detention of asylum-seekers and the criminalisation of sex work.

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