Crowds of up to 40,000 will be allowed for NRL finals at Sydney stadiums

Sharks fans celebrate in 2016. Picture: John Veage
Sharks fans celebrate in 2016. Picture: John Veage

The NRL finals series will be played before big crowds in Sydney, with fans expected to wear a mask when they are not seated.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Thursday that, based on updated health advice, major sporting events at selected Sydney stadiums would be able to increase crowds from 25 to 50 per cent, to a maximum of 40,000, from October 1.

ANZ Stadium will be able to have up to 40,000 spectators, Bankwest Stadium 15,000 people and the SCG, 23,000.

Ms Berejiklian said Stadium Australia (ANZ Stadium) and Bankwest Stadium had supplied detailed COVIDSafe plans, which would allow the venues to host ticketed and seated-only events with increased crowds.

The SCG has also provided detailed plans and these are being reviewed by NSW Health.

Spectators will be expected to wear a mask when they were not seated, which includes travel on public transport to and from the venue, using stadium facilities and walking to and from their seats.

Strict COVIDSafe protocols will see spectators sit in different zones with different entry and exit zones, different hospitality areas and amenities to prevent mixing of spectators across zones and assist in contact tracing if an infectious person attends the event.

While spectators will be at a maximum of 50 per cent, staffing will be at 100 per cent to prevent crowding in common areas, such as in lines for food and beverages.

The one person per four metre square rule will continue to apply in many areas of the stadium. A unique chequerboard seating arrangement and ticket allocation process will ensure physical distancing of participants when seated.

Match winner: Andrew Fifita in the 2016 grand final. Picture: John Veage

Match winner: Andrew Fifita in the 2016 grand final. Picture: John Veage

Ms Berejiklian said the decision, which followed advice from NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, would help create jobs and stimulate the economy, key goals of the government's recovery plan.

"Our number one priority is the health and safety of the people of NSW, however it is no secret we're also focused on firing up the economy," she said.

"Safely allowing more fans at in-demand major sporting events will bring enjoyment, employment and help stimulate the NSW economy."

Dr Chant said the detailed COVIDSafe plans would ensure spectators were kept as safe as possible while attending stadiums.

"NSW Health has worked closely with other government agencies to review the COVID safety plans," she said.