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Australia’s day it is never one of the dispute-free calendar dates.

But this year, while yes, January 26 is still a public holiday, an additional layer of tension is at stake given the continuing pressures of COVID-19 regulations.

Whether it is protest, mourning, commemoration or celebration, there will be restrictions on how you and yours can mark the day.

Below is our guide, updated at the time of publication, of what the different states and territories are planning for January 26.

However, people should monitor the restrictions and rules in their local area in the next two weeks.

Australia Day celebrations may look a little different this year, but most states keep going despite COVID-19. (Jamila Toderas)

An Invasion Day protest is scheduled for January 26 in Sydney, even though protests are limited to 500 people under current regulations.

In a press release, organizers said the oppression First Nations communities face was too urgent not to proceed with a mass protest demanding change, even if it violates regulations.

However, organizers have confirmed that they will have a COVID-19 safety plan, which includes the mandatory use of masks and social distancing.

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Melbourne last year to protest Australia Day and what the date means for indigenous peoples. (Chris Hopkins)

“Unlike COVID, the virus of colonial racism that came to these lands in 1788 cannot be defeated by self-isolation or quarantine,” said Elizabeth Jarrett, organizer of the rally and wife of Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Dunghutti.

“We have to unite and fight.”

Meanwhile, the New South Wales government is moving ahead with the day’s celebrations, but they will be restricted.

Tickets will be needed for the WugulOra morning ceremony and Australia Day Live event at Circular Quay, which will be closed to the general public beginning at 5pm on January 26.

The list of traditional Sydney Harbor events will not continue.

There are also restrictions on public and private gatherings in the state, which can be found here.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews recently warned people not to attend mass gatherings, either in support of or in protest of Australia’s Invasion Day.

“It’s not about what you’re meeting for, it’s about, are you meeting in a safe way?” Mr Andrews said.

“(The Invasion Day march) is not a sitting event and the judgment of the public health team, not politicians, could not be done safely.”

Afghan families celebrate Australia Day in Footscray Park on January 26, 2020. (Luis Enrique Ascui / Age)

However, a COVID-safe Invasion Day dawn service will be held, with tickets for attendees.

Outdoor gatherings in Melbourne are currently limited to 100 people, but waivers can be granted for public events as long as the organizers submit a COVID safe plan.

All attendees must be registered and must maintain social distance.

Events and awards ceremonies will take place across Queensland on January 26, although restrictions still exist in some parts of the state.

The current restrictions in Greater Brisbane will be eased on January 22.

Scenes like this from last year at Bondi Beach will no doubt be rarer in Australia this year. (Steven Siewert)

At this point, there are limits set for meetings, businesses, and venues, with face masks to use in most interior spaces.

Queensland’s Australia Day event catalog can be found here.

Western Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions are famous at a minimum, as long as you’re not trying to cross the border.

Residents are subject to the two square meter rule and there are capacity limits set for major locations in the state.

However, meetings and events will be held throughout the state; see here.

The Marshall government has a number of border restrictions and internal restrictions, including assembly limits, the two-square-meter rule, and restrictions on elderly care visits.

However, stand-up drinks and entertainment venues are open to the state, and South Australians have several options for Australia Day events.

Indigenous dancers at the Australia Day ceremony at the Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney on January 26, 2020. (Isabella Porras / Sydney Morning Herald)

Pop-rock band Birds of Tokyo is headlining the Aus Day In The Arena event in Adelaide, with limited tickets available to ensure the event is safe for COVID-19.

But the market and food events are still going on and no reservation is required.

Look what’s going on here.

The NT has, appropriately, some of the most relaxed COVID-19 guidelines in the country after being able to successfully restrict community spread.

Both commemorative and celebratory events will be held from Top End to Alice Springs and beyond on January 26.

Find out what’s in your area here.

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra and its surroundings also have some looser restrictions, but events of more than 200 people will need to make sure they are good to continue.

There are no limits to home gatherings, but people must maintain social distancing.

Kari Joshua Kalaw singers Halle Pierson at the Australia Day 2021 program announcement at the Sydney Opera House. January 13, 2021 Photo Louise Kennerley (Louise Kennerley)
Canberra on January 26, of course, is home to the Great Australian Picnic at Burley Griffin Lake, with a number of ticketed events available.
For everything else you can access, click here.

Extensive restrictions are placed on Tasmanians, for example, “only” 100 people can attend a private home at a time.

However, there are limits for business, outdoor gatherings, and the like, and it’s best to check what they are.
You can see what events are happening on Apple Isle here.

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