NRL fans can expect close interrogation at Queensland’s border before being allowed to enter the state to see Canberra take on Melbourne in Friday night’s match at Suncorp Stadium.
Police have put supporters on notice after the Raiders defeated the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground to advance to the preliminary final against the Storm.
Anyone who attended the Raiders game at the SCG, which is within a Queensland Health COVID-19 hot spot, will be refused entry into Queensland, says Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski.
He warned that police will do everything in their powers to ascertain the movements of fans over the past week.
“Anyone who has been in a declared hotspot such as Sydney and planning to breach border directions by travelling to Queensland should be warned that they may be turned around and could be fined,” he said.
“While police require travellers to declare if they have recently travelled to a hotspot, we also use available information and intelligence to verify that their declaration is honest.”
In the past two months more than 170 people have either been fined or served with court notices for breaching Queensland’s Border Direction.
“We are taking these measures to ensure we reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in Queensland and we are asking everyone to follow the rules carefully,” he said.
Canberrans can enter Queensland but only by air while Victorians are not welcome at all with police issuing the same warning to AFL fans from Sydney or Melbourne who attempt to enter the state.
Since August 8, 306 travellers have been refused entry at Queensland airports while 5774 vehicles have been turned around at the road border.
Raiders fans may be turned away at the border but Melbourne transport operators did not need to quarantine or apply for a border pass to drop-off strips of hallowed MCG turf at the Gabba.
Under Queensland Health’s freight exemption rules, Victorian transport workers can drive straight through border checkpoints without an issue.
The freight company collected the turf on Wednesday and was expected to arrive at the Gabba on Thursday.
The announcement that a 3m by 1m section of MCG turf will travel by road from Victoria, where the state is basically in lockdown, through NSW a declared COVID hotspot drew harsh criticism online.
The fact drivers do not have to quarantine, despite not only coming from Victoria but also passing through NSW which is a declared COVID hot spot, is in stark contrast to a man who had major brain surgery in Sydney and was forced into hotel quarantine.
Gary Ralph and his wife Wendy were finally allowed to isolate at home but only pressure came to bear on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young.
Victorians are banned from entering Queensland while all but the Northern Rivers region of NSW is also a declared COVID hotspot, according to Queensland Health.
A Queensland Health representative said no exemptions relating to a turf transfer into Queensland have been issued but they were free to enter under a nationwide transport agreement.
“There is a nationally agreed freight protocol that allows for the transport of goods to continue during the pandemic,” the QH representative told NCA NewsWire.
“The staff required for the transport will not be remaining in Queensland after the transfer is complete.”
A team of people across Victoria and Queensland, including grass curators, transport experts and horticulturalists, have come together to make the move possible.
The winner of Saturday night’s Brisbane Lions and Geelong preliminary final at the Gabba and the victor of the Port Adelaide and Richmond showdown at Adelaide Oval will playoff for the title on October 24.