The NRL and police are reportedly investigating the packed crowd at Sunday’s clash between the Melbourne Storm and Newcastle Knights on the Sunshine Coast.
Photos and video emerged of thousands of people crammed onto the hill at Sunshine Coast stadium, just hours after Queensland’s Chief Health Officer urged everyone to keep up social distancing.
“It’s far, far more important to maintain that social distancing,” Dr Jeanette Young said when asked about whether Queenslanders should be wearing masks.
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“I strongly encourage people to stay 1.5 metres away from other people as much as possible, wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser often, and leave a location if it is crowded.
The photo of the massive crowd sparked outrage online, with dozens of people taking to social media to express their frustration at the apparent lack of social distancing.
“Very much looking forward to going back into lockdown in Queensland in two weeks when this “social distancing” comes back to bite us all. What’s doing there?” One person commented.
“Good to see social distancing on the hill,” commented another.
Channel 9 reporter Danny Weidler later tweeted that the NRL had launched an investigation into the incident.
“NRL are investigating the possible lack of social distancing at the Storm-Knights game in a ‘packed’ crowd,” Weidler wrote.
“They have requested a report from the stadium and the Storm. The images on social media have caught their attention.”
It’s understood police are also following up with stadium officials and Queensland Health to see if any rules were broken, however there were at least five COVID compliance officers on scene and it’s believed the capacity was less than 50 per cent.
The Melbourne Storm also released a statement overnight confirming they have asked Sunshine Coast Stadium to review its crowd management practices.
“Melbourne Storm have requested Sunshine Coast Stadium review its crowd management practices and capacity before the home game against Canterbury this Saturday,” they said.
“The stadium operates under a site specific COVID safe plan approved by Queensland Health and includes having Queensland Police in attendance.
“Today’s attendance of 5437 was inside the 50 per cent capacity approved by Queensland Health for sporting events of this nature in Queensland.”