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Coast's perfect day for the footy, but not so great for social distancing


The capacity at Melbourne Storm’s temporary home ground on the Sunshine Coast will be reduced by 1000 after concerns were raised by the NRL and Storm about social distancing.

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The parties were in contact with the Queensland government on Monday morning after vision of the stadium appeared to show a packed hill for their Sunday afternoon NRL win over Newcastle.

Under Queensland government rules, venues can be filled to 50 per cent capacity as they ease out of coronavirus restrictions.

The stadium’s crowd of 5437 fell well inside that mark, with the venue able to hold up to 12,500, and it was claimed there were only 2830 on the hill on Sunday.

The Queensland government said the number of overall fans permitted would in future be reduced to 5,250.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said there were five health officials at the ground to enforce social distancing but she said that a hill made it more difficult than a usual seated venue.

She said her body would review the situation as it would prove more difficult to contact-trace people who didn’t sit in allocated seating.

At NRL matches in NSW the restriction on the hill is one person per four square metres rather than a percentage of capacity, which is why grounds such as Kogarah Oval looked empty in comparison to Sunshine Coast Stadium.

“We do need to go and review that because it is hard to maintain social distancing when you’re sitting on the ground,” Young said on Monday.

“I saw people trying to do that, they were on separate rugs for separate household groups but we just have to have another look at that.

“They followed the rule but looking at it, because it’s not a traditional seated stadium with proper seats, I think it’s a bit harder to maintain that distance.”

“They’ll work through just how to make it a bit safer – that 50 per cent cap is better designed for where you’ve got formal seating.”

The Storm are due to play again at the ground on Saturday when they face Canterbury.


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