The decision to not take part in Sunday's round of the Central West Regional League was not an easy one to make for Dubbo Netball Association (DNA) officials but it's one they stand by in what has been described as "unprecedented" times.
The risk around the COVID-19 outbreak led to the decision to not make the trip to Orange on Sunday, while DNA president Karen Weekes admitted the start of the local season could also be impacted.
The Dubbo club was set to take two sides to the day's play at Orange while a host of coaches and managers, umpires, and family and friends were also going to be there.
Weekes had no immediate concerns for those who would have been going but said the risk of being exposed in any large group of people was too great.
At Friday's Council of Australian Governments meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other officials had been advised non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people should not go ahead from Monday, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
"It was a really hard decision but between our players and officials we have people working in disability services, education, and health as well as their own businesses and whilst we were not concerned for people's immediate health repercussions, we were worried if someone did became a carrier or had to go into the 14 days isolation what impact that would have on the community," Weekes said.
"It was better to take a community-wide view."
Western NSW Local Health District had confirmed on Friday three people in Orange had tested positive to the coronavirus but they were all in self-isolation.
Weekes and the DNA board met on Saturday while there had been communication with Netball NSW officials before and during that meeting.
Netball NSW left the running of tournaments or carnivals up to respective associations around the state and Weekes said that, along with the decisions made by various other sporting bodies, led the DNA's decision.
The Western Junior League basketball tournament scheduled to be played at Bathurst on the weekend was cancelled while various community events around the region were modified or abandoned altogether.
"We followed the lead of things like the Western Junior League and the advice of if it was non-essential travel then don't go," she said.
Weekes said no decision has been made on the Central West Regional League finals which will be played in the coming weeks but admitted if the games were behind closed doors in Orange with less people on hand Dubbo sides would be much more likely to attend.
DNA officials were already set to meet on Monday evening to discuss the upcoming local season, which will start in May, but concerns around COVID-19 have been added to the agenda.
"We'll be looking at it because our registrations have been done and we've added six senior teams," Weekes said.
"We're continuing to grow and membership has increased so at the courts on a Saturday our numbers would exceed 500.
"We'll take on advice from Netball NSW and health authorities."
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