Sydney Mardi Gras in restricted mode

This year the parade will not be free to attend, the first time in its 40 year history.

Sydney’s annual Mardi Gras celebration will look very different to previous years, but even in a global pandemic the city’s most colourful show must go on.

Here’s everything you need to know about the event on March 6, 2021:

Will there be a parade this year?

Due to concerns around crowd control and COVID-19 restrictions there will be no parade down Oxford Street to celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras festival.

Instead, more than 30,000 people will gather at the Sydney Cricket Ground for an official ticketed event with police issuing a warning to those planning to celebrate in the city.

The SCG parade will feature more than 5,000 people from over 100 LGBTQI+ community groups as well as a live performance from Rita Ora.

What are the coronavirus restrictions for Mardi Gras?

At the SCG, floats will not be permitted with parade entries limited to groups of 40.

The venues will also be capped at 75 per cent capacity with roughly 33,000 people expected to attend.

All attendees will have to undergo temperature checks on the way into the venue and social distancing marshals will be monitoring crowds for social distancing.

Performers backstage will also be required to wear a mask as will anyone taking public transport to and from the event.

Elsewhere around Sydney, private gathering caps remain at 50 people and restrictions around social distancing and the two-square metre are also in place at bars and pubs.

Dance floors remain closed around NSW.

Participants enjoying themselves ahead of the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Saturday, February 29, 2020. (AAP)

“This year’s parade will look significantly different to what we have seen previously,” Assistant Commissioner Gelina Talbot said.

“Our response will be a high visibility and mobile response across a footprint  including Sydney Cricket Ground, inside and outside, it includes Moore Park and the entertainment quarter, it will include Flinders Street and Oxford street and Hyde Park.”

Police will also be increasing their presence on public transport to ensure crowd control and the wearing of face masks.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic, we can’t be complacent,” Ms Tabolt said.

Participants take part in the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Saturday, February 29, 2020. (AAP)

Will there be other Mardi Gras events?

While the main Mardi Gras celebrations will be confined to the SCG, authorities said they expect most venues to be operating at capacity this weekend and urged anyone without a pre-booked event to celebrate at home.

“There are no street events and there will not be any lining up to get into venues,” Ms Tabolt said.

“Anyone found committing any social behaviour that is criminal, violence or offensive will be identified quickly and you will be removed. Our priority is the safety of the community coming out to celebrate Mardi Gras.”

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