The NRL has announced all clubs operating outside of Queensland must revert to original Apollo biosecurity protocols.
It follows the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney and fears that a spike in the infection rate may continue.
Biosecurity protocols put in place ahead of the competition’s May 28 restart were recently eased, allowing players greater freedom.
However, they will be back in force effective immediately.
Players and staff within team bubbles will not be allowed to attend venues including cafes, restaurants, pubs, beaches and golf courses to avoid community contact during the current spike in COVID-19 cases. Restrictions on home visitors will also return.
Clubs based in Queensland will remain under current protocols.
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys said the Commission had taken decisive action due to the rapidly changing COVID-19 landscape.
“We won’t take any risks with our players and the community. All our decisions are based on the data and we’ve said from the start, if the data changes then we will be proactive and take the necessary action required,” he said.
“We are enforcing the original protocols to ensure our players are not mixing with the general community. We are doing everything we can to keep the playing group healthy during this period.
“Our experts are continuing to monitor the data. We don’t make decisions based on emotion, we make them based on data. We hope it’s only a short spike in the infection rate, but the Commission has shown we will be agile and make the appropriate changes.”
Mr V’landys thanked the players and the clubs for their adherence to biosecurity protocols.
“I want to congratulate our players, staff and clubs who have been brilliant throughout the process. The players have done the right thing and when there has been a mistake clubs have been very quick to report any breach. That’s exactly how we wanted the process to work.”
Fans will continue to be able to attend matches for now, with limited crowds at venues continuing.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.