The Hunter Women's Chronicle is returning from Wednesday, June 17.

The Hunter Women’s Chronicle is proud to announce we will finally be restarting publishing operations, 12 weeks after the ongoing COVID-19 situation forced us to temporarily close doors while Newcastle and Hunter sports were suspended.

When the Chronicle confirmed it would be temporarily halting publication in early March, we declared we were eagerly awaiting the day teams and players could return to training, fields, courts, and clubhouses. That time is upon us.

As confirmed by the NSW Government in their latest COVID-19 status update, current state restrictions allow outdoor sporting competitions “where no more than 20 people in total are gathered.” This includes players, referees, coaches, and spectators.

Women’s sport in Newcastle and the Hunter will slowly return over the coming weeks.

These small-gathering restrictions are expected to be lifted further from July 1, according to the Acting Minister for Sports Geoff Lee, who spoke to Nine Radio about the ongoing NSW coronavirus on Wednesday, June 10.

“All community sports will return from July 1 and everybody can play, it’s game on for the whole community, whether it’s under 18 over 18 competition,” Lee said.

“We have reduced the spread of COVID-19 to the point where further restrictions can be lifted. It is only because communities have followed the strict social distancing guidelines that this announcement is possible.”

Women’s sport across the Hunter is in the process of finalising re-start dates for top-level competitions.

State premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the changes, but warned all sporting bodies bringing sport back in New South Wales next month would have to proceed carefully with “enormous caution” in the opening stages.

“We know that just a few cases in the community, a few cases that go unchecked can cause a spike, can cause a breakout and can cause grief for people,” Ms Berejiklian said.

What does this mean for the Chronicle?

In regards to our publishing, we will slowly be returning to a “new normal” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSW Government has reported just four new cases of the coronavirus from 62,669 (full stats available here).

We do ask that you forgive our content schedule as we get rolling again. It has been four months since the Chronicle last published a news article, match report, or feature piece on players, teams, and leagues. We are striving to return to the award-winning ways we had established ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there will be rust to shake off.

AFL Hunter Central Coast Women’s have already confirmed a start date early next month.

Everyone involved with the Chronicle is excited to be back covering women’s sports in the Hunter. National sporting codes are returning around Australia ⁠— now it’s time for our local games to return too!

We also appreciate your patience with our hiatus. I understand it’s likely been a difficult time for many, but we’re coming through to the other side.

If you are still interested in learning more about the COVID-19 coronavirus, and how to manage its spread, make sure you read the NSW Gov’s official health guide. We still have a ways to go yet to fully manage the pandemic.

Finally, if you have a story you want to share, be it about a player, competition, league, or anything in women’s sport, do not hesitate to reach out. I personally can be contacted at isaac.mcintyre@womenschronicle.com.au.

Thank you.

— Isaac McIntyre, founding editor of the Women’s Chronicle