Queensland Premier Rejects Fears AFL Final Could Spread COVID-19

September 2, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk rejected claims that hosting the AFL Grand Final could risk spreading COVID-19 in the state’s southeast.

The premier shrugged off the questions about the potential for community transmission—which is the primary reason the state’s border remains closed.

“It’s contained,” she said, referring to two recent clusters linked to various Queensland Corrective Services facilities in southwest Brisbane.

When asked by reporters in Cairns on Sept. 2 about reopening the Queensland border, the premier said: “There will be no changes for the month of September.”

The premier clarified for reporters that the chief health officer had provided no advice to reopen the border as yet. This decision will be reviewed again at the end of the month.

Brisbane’s Gabba stadium will host the Grand Final on Oct. 24, one week before the state election on Oct. 31.

Australia’s premier football league, the AFL, awarded Queensland the rights to host the Grand Final on Sept. 2.

More than 30,000 fans will be allowed into the stadium under COVID-Safe plans. It’s the first time a Grand Final will be held outside Victoria in 123 years.

The premier told reporters in Cairns on Sept. 2: “We know that it is just this once and it is to look after the AFL whilst Victoria is going through a very difficult time.”

“I want to thank the AFL, and especially the game’s fans in Victoria, for trusting Queensland with their most important event,” the premier said in a media release on Sept. 2.

“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we are determined to give everyone a Grand Final they’ll never forget.”

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the AFL Grand Final would be a welcome boost to the state.

“Very few industries have been as hard hit by COVID-19 as our tourism and events businesses, so to be able to host the AFL Grand Final in Queensland for the first time ever is a huge confidence boost,” she said.

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