The much-anticipated increase in GIO Stadium Canberra capacity will see 6,000 spectators at both the Brumbies and Raiders games this weekend – and a team is working tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all possible.
From the moment spectators arrive at the stadium, Venues Canberra executive branch manager Matt Elkins said COVID-safe measures are put in place.
“What we have been focused on is how do we get people into and around the venue safely,” he said.
“We are asking people not to bring bags so you can come through the stadium really quickly without the intervention of the security guards.
“We are also asking people to take responsibility in going to your allocated row and bay and sit in your seat.”
All standing areas at the stadium have been sectioned off, as ticket holders are required to sit in their allocated seat except for when ordering food, drinks or visiting the toilets.
From the moment the last Brumbies player leaves the field on Saturday night until the Raiders gates open at midday Sunday, a team of cleaners, curators and caterers will be working overnight to turn it over.
Quayclean will look after cleaning and hygiene in the stadium across the weekend, with chief executive Mark Piwkowsai saying their procedures had ramped up dramatically for COVID-19.
“The level of clean now is a much different level to what it has been. A surface could be clean, but it could have bacteria on it,” he said.
“It’s not just about only cleaning the areas that are dirty, with a Coke stain on it or food; we have to clean everywhere.”
Quayclean look after all aspects of the stadium from public areas, toilets and players’ changerooms, wiping down all surfaces before applying a mist that works as a protective surface barrier.
This weekend is the first time since the pandemic that the stadium will hold 25% of its full capacity, despite the 6,000-crowd number first being flagged back in July.
Mr Elkins said the stadium has been prepared to run events with the larger crowd number since then.
“It’s something we have been working towards since July,” he said.
“Our compliance was really good with 3,000 spectators and we saw the community really complying in a positive way with us.
“Our plan has always been to work towards a 6,000-person crowd, so we believe we will see a really positive result.”
While many changes have been pegged for the event, Mr Elkins said one factor remains unchanged.
“What’s going to be the same is the great football that both the Brumbies and the Raiders put on,” he smiled.