‘Sense of uneasiness’ as mask-clad fans descend on Gabba
The eyes of Australian sports lovers are fixed on the Gabba today, however the real test is being undertaken is the management of the 18,000-strong crowd.
The hallowed sporting ground which normally can accommodate over 40,000 people has this week been a topic of hot discussion surrounding its announced COVID restrictions put in place by Queensland Health.
The 50 per cent capacity crowd flooded in this morning, greeted by large signs stating "NO MASK, NO ENTRY".
This includes wearing a mask when entering, exiting and moving about the Gabba stands, and ticket holders being allocated into "checkerboard" seating patterns to ensure the social distancing of groups.
A heavy police presence this morning surrounded the streets around the Gabba, with a number of security staff tasked with handing out masks and hand sanitiser at the gate before entrants scanned their tickets.
This was met in addition to a number of large signs and voiceovers telling spectators to keep their masks on if they were not in their seats, with fines applying if the direction was not followed.
Queensland's cricket faithful were mixed on whether the Test should have gone ahead due to recent events at Brisbane's Grand Chancellor Hotel, but gave high praise to how management and Cricket Australia had conducted communications.
Father and son cricket diehards Tim and Jake Willburrough felt uneasy about today's Test following last weekend's three-day lockdown, but especially after their original tickets were cancelled.
"As much as it's good to see (the cricket) live like normal, you do admit there is a sense of uneasiness with people," Mr Willburrough said.
"We originally got tickets when it was full capacity and when things were slashed we were worried the whole thing would be scrapped."
Travelling all the way from Toowoomba, Stephen Rabb, Sunny Ryan and their group of mates weren't too worried, however, heading to the Test decked head to toe in Hawaiian shirts, just considering themselves lucky to be able to attend.
"We saw how things were travelling last week, and you know how people have reacted in the past, we thought we'd make the trip for nothing." Mr Ryan said
"We're just happy to be able to make the game like this, and we'll all still be together." Mr Rabb added.
Originally published as 'Sense of uneasiness' as mask-clad fans descend on Gabba