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Queensland Government approves return of fans to stadiums

Queensland Government approves return of fans to stadiums
June 17, 2020

Queensland’s major sporting venues will welcome back fans from this weekend, in a trial that will allow crowds of up to 2000 people to attend venues including The Gabba, Suncorp Stadium and Metricon Stadium.

Announced by Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles in Parliament today, the move results from each of the football codes submitting plans to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Announcing that the codes had requested 2,000 fans at venues as a trial, Deputy Premier Miles stated “we’re approving a staged approach to returning fans to major sporting events and crowd numbers will continue to be evaluated.

“Live sport is important for fans and the industry, so we were pleased Stadiums Queensland was able to provide a comprehensive, staged strategy that reduces risk by minimising congestion and contact.

“There will be a focus on extra cleaning and sanitisation and venues have demonstrated social distancing in their seating plans with segmented zones … and exits to reduce potential for virus spread.

“One of the benefits of events in stadia is that they are ticketed, which helps to enable tracing requirements if necessary.”

As a result of the change, the first fixture able to host fans will be the NRL clash between the Gold Coast Titans and St George-Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

In the AFL, the Brisbane Lions face off against the West Coast Eagles at the Gabba on Saturday evening, and the Suns take on Adelaide Crows at the Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Queensland Sports Minister Mick de Brenni said stadium operators would do everything they can to welcome patrons back with great care, to ensure the long-term goal of filling stadiums to full capacity, and getting stadium staff and the substantial supply chain, back to work.

Minister de Brenni advised “stadium cleaners, ushers, and venue managers are working hard to facilitate a safe return for fans, and they’ll especially focus on ensuring spectators have all the information and support they need in the lead up to and on game day itself.

“They’re implementing a ‘checkerboard’ approach to seat sales to limit the patrons in each row, with unavailable seats clearly indicated, with further lifting of crowd restrictions hinging on the success of this weekend's trials.

“To keep everyone safe, we’ll also up our cleaning of high traffic areas like hand-rails pre, during and post event and our staff will be wearing personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves throughout events.

“We’re really looking forward to having fans back and hope that patrons can help us demonstrate how it can be achieved safely and sensibly.”

Titans Chief Executive, Steve Mitchell welcomed the move, noting “(we are) delighted to be the first Queensland team to be back playing in front of our supporters this weekend.

"There's going to be a fair set of protocols when people come through. They're in line with the protocols that have been developed with our biosecurity experts and the Chief Medical Officer in Queensland so everyone will be getting temperature checks and it'll be great fun."

Minister de Brenni also said this weekend would mark halfway for Stage 2 for community sport, with non-contact training well underway at most clubs and Stage 3 and full competition just weeks away.

He added “we know that mums and dads, administrators and players are also keen to see greater flexibility at community sport and recreation clubs.

“We’ll be working with industry and the Chief Health Office to examine how this can happen in Stage 3.”

A variety of stadium activations like kick to kick and player autographs will also not be feasible while restrictions remain, to meet social distancing requirements ensure patron safety and comply with the biosecurity principles of the professional sports’ governing bodies.

In a related development, Village Roadshow has announced today that Sea World will reopen on 26th June.

Image: Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium will be Queensland's first venue able to host fans when it stages the NRL clash between the Gold Coast Titans and St George-Illawarra Dragons on Saturday (top) while the Gabba will see the Brisbane Lions face off against the West Coast Eagles on Saturday evening (below).

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