Cricket Australia has handed down major fines to the Brisbane Heat, Chris Lynn, and Dan Lawrence for breaching Covid-19 protocols in Canberra on Saturday night.

The breach relates to Lynn and Lawrence socialising together in public. Players are permitted to dine in public, provided they are sitting outside but they are not permitted to have contact with the public. However, the pair sat inside without masks, stopped for a selfie with a fan, and caught a taxi back to the hotel which contravened the rules. It is the first significant breach of CA hub protocols this season.

Brisbane Heat have been fined A$50,000, with A$20,000 suspended for the remainder of the BBL season for breaching CA's Covid-19 directive to BBL teams.

Lynn and Lawrence have each been charged under section 2.23 of the Cricket Australia code of conduct, relating to conduct that "(c) is or could be harmful to the interests of cricket or (d) does or could bring the game of cricket into disrepute."

Both players have accepted a A$10,000 fine, with A$4,000 suspended for the remainder of the BBL season.

CA's head of integrity and security Sean Carroll said that while the breach was minor, the protocols could not be compromised.

"Medically, this particular breach was lower risk, but actions of this kind have the potential to compromise the integrity of and confidence in our bio-security protocols," he said.

"Potential Covid-19 hotspots and related impacts on State borders remain a challenge for the league and it is imperative that all protocols are adhered to, giving us the best opportunity to move around the country and execute the full schedule."

"While Australia's current Covid-19 infection rate remains low, we must ensure that appropriate measures are taken to reduce the possibility of any player, staff member, or official being connected to a declared hot spot. State/Territory Governments enforced isolation and restrictions for crossing borders for declared hot spots may impact the individuals involved, the team and potentially jeopardise the BBL season."

Lynn issued an apology on behalf of him and Lawrence. "I would like to say sorry to my team-mates, the club, and the Heat fans for being careless and not observing the protocols that were put in place to ensure the continuity of the competition.

"Having a photo with a fan at a licensed venue and travelling in a taxi seem pretty low risk but they were identified in our briefings as examples of things you couldn't do.

"I was probably lulled into a false sense of security that because everything has been improving around the country, we were getting closer to normal behaviour.

"But the rules, including avoiding close contact, are there to protect the BBL competition and all the players and teams and I do apologise sincerely to everyone for jeopardising that. I can speak on behalf of Dan as well to say that we were are both very regretful at making such a mistake in judgment.

"I appreciate all the efforts that went into enabling Dan and I to play last night and will ensure this doesn't happen again."

Both Lynn and Lawrence have tested negative for Covid-19 since their breach was discovered and were permitted to play in Monday night's game against the Sydney Thunder.

They had to prepare separately from the rest of the two teams and not take part in any close huddles or celebrations over the course of the game, as they were for the time being considered to be outside the strict bio-secure hub all BBL players are meant to be cocooned within for the balance of the tournament. Both players did their best to follow those rules during the match although it was difficult to achieve at times.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne