NRL stadiums prepare for post-covid return
The 2020 NRL season resumes on Thursday evening and the six host stadiums have become quarantine zones to ensure the season isn’t compromised.
The NRL is the first professional sporting code in Australian to return to action following the coronavirus outbreak, and venues must comply with the NRL's stringent list of rules and regulations, which formed part of the agreement with authorities as the code returns to action.
With stadiums’ operations without crowds in round two of the NRL provided an indicator of how game days will be different for venue staff, the beginning of round three will see far greater controls on who will go in and out of the ground, health and temperature checks for everyone and clearly defined ‘clean zones’ that will only be used by players and staff in the 50-strong biosecurity bubble at the various clubs.
Up to 250 people to be allowed inside Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night for the Broncos-Eels clash. This will include players, trainers and officials, while anybody deemed essential must be on a pre-submitted list.
Suggesting that even club chairmen will be watching from home, Suncorp Stadium General Manager, Alan Graham told The Brisbane Times “it’s definitely gone to another level.”
“Things have changed a lot since that last game, but it did give us a good platform to build on.”
“A lot of things were put in place for that game, but certainly we’ve been able to work in additional measures with the NRL, given they have very stringent measures to get the competition up and running and we have to meet those requirements.”
There will be no novelty factor about the lack of crowds this time, with media restricted to specific areas and unable to roam the empty stands for quirky camera shots.
Already, Suncorp Stadium staff and contractors are being temperature tested before they can enter the ground and that will be done on Thursday for anyone who needs to be inside the venue.
Staff have not been COVID tested but have been on alert for symptoms, while the NRL has not yet made the COVIDsafe app compulsory.
Graham advised “everyone coming into the venue will be temperature tested and we have already started that process for our staff and contractors.”
Suncorp Stadium has also been subjected to an intense cleaning regime with the venue essentially wiped clean every four hours, while seats that aren't even being used are pressure cleaned and disinfected.
On game day, the players and team staff will exit their buses at selected points, be temperature tested and then taken via arranged routes to dressing rooms that will have been sanitised, locked and only allowed to be opened by the teams once they arrive at the ground to prepare.