27 August 2020

Sydney NRL fans urged to stay away as Canberra Stadium doubles capacity

| Dominic Giannini
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Canberra Stadium

The operating capacity of Canberra Stadium will be doubled to 3000 spectators for this weekend’s Raiders and Brumbies games. Photo: Region Media.

People from COVID-19 affected areas have been told to stay away from the ACT this weekend as Canberra Stadium’s operating capacity doubles to 3000 spectators ahead of the Raiders and Brumbies fixtures.

ACT Health says NRL fans travelling down from Western Sydney to watch the Dogs take on the Raiders on Sunday will represent a small proportion of spectators given Raiders and Brumbies members had first pick of the tickets. Remaining tickets went on sale to the public on Wednesday.

However a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Western Sydney, including the Bulldog’s base of Canterbury-Bankstown, have made the area subject to a NSW Health testing blitz.

“We have closely watched other jurisdictions that have opened their sporting venues up to larger crowds and have learned from their experiences,” an ACT Health spokesperson said.

“Venues Canberra is in regular contact with venues from other jurisdictions regarding the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

“ACT Health is confident Venues Canberra has undertaken thorough planning and risk assessment to provide a safe environment for spectators, staff and players to support an increase in spectator numbers.”

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The decision has been made ahead of the Super Rugby and NRL finals series, which begin on 12 September and 2 October respectively.

“ACT Health will continue to assess the situation and risks around allowing crowds into matches at [Canberra] Stadium with regard to evaluating future exemption requests for the venue,” the spokesperson said.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan in place at Canberra Stadium requires attendees to sit in an allocated seat at all times where possible, not bring bags to the event, and practise good hand and respiratory hygiene as well as physical distancing.

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High standards of cleaning, sanitisation, infection control, and physical distancing protocols will be in place and enforced at Canberra Stadium, ACT Health said.

“Visiting players, officials and staff have been given public health advice to limit interactions with staff and other patrons at their accommodation, and with the wider ACT community,” the spokesperson said.

“The same protocols as apply to all confirmed cases [including a player, official or staff], will be implemented, and ACT Health will work closely with all parties involved.

“Appropriate contact tracing will be undertaken to identify any close contacts of the confirmed case.”

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If they are that worried about people from Sydney attending then surely that is a sign that they shouldn’t have expanded capacity!

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