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Canberra Today 24°/28° | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Canberra Raiders’ crowds set to mask harsh NRL restrictions

The panoramic view of Canberra Stadium.

THE ACT government has poured cold water over the threat that Canberra Raiders could be forced to play behind closed doors on Saturday.

To the extent that directions under ACT Health will not enforce fans to wear masks entering or sitting down outside at Canberra Stadium for the scheduled NRL match.

The only exception to covering up will be patrons attending the indoor corporate facilities or suites and the paid ground’s staff working on the day.

Authorities say the Canberra clash with Gold Coast is “still expected to take place” while no cases are recorded in the ACT.

This comes after the NSW government ordered a “full lockdown” last Saturday throughout the greater Sydney region and, consequently, games will be held in front of empty stands that will cost some NRL clubs reportedly more than $1 million after refunding sellouts.

“The ACT government are working closely with the NRL and teams to understand key plans and operations considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent change to the Public Health directions,” an ACT government spokesperson said.

Canberra Stadium’s COVID-19 safety plan includes “clean zones” for the players, additional cleaning, sanitising, infection control and allocated seating for spectators.

The NRL have introduced level 4 protocols, which governed the resumption of last season’s competition after the initial COVID-enforced suspension, that dictate players must remain at home unless training, playing or completing an essential household task and visitors are not permitted into their homes.

Ticket sales for the Canberra home game will close on Friday (July 2) at 6pm – 24 hours before gates open – over the need to possibly contact registered ticketholders.

No tickets are available at the venue on matchday that will “ensure the safety of everyone attending the match”.

“The health and safety of the community is of paramount importance and Venues Canberra will continue to work closely with the Office of the Chief Health Officer to ensure biosecurity measures are in place for the protection of fans, players and officials at the venue,” the spokesperson said.

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Andrew Mathieson

Andrew Mathieson

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