Covid-19 lockdown: Up to 10,000 fans could return to stadiums by mid-May

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Up to 10,000 fans could be back in stadiums by mid-May as part of the government’s plans to move England out of lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a four-part plan to lift the coronavirus lockdown.

Outdoor sports including football, golf and tennis will be allowed to resume in England from 29 March.

The plan to ease lockdown requires four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met.

“The turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate,” said Johnson.

In an address to the nation later on Monday, the Prime Minister stressed the roll-out of the UK’s vaccination programme had allowed the government to draw up this pathway, but that final decisions would be made “on data”.

Leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools can open from 12 April.

Venues such as gyms, tennis courts and golf courses have been closed across England since lockdown was announced on 4 January.

The government says it will run a series of ‘pilot’ events in April and the English Football League (EFL) said it would be “engaging” with the government over the potential for a small number of fans to attend the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on 25 April.

If the pilots are successful, “up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower” will be allowed in stadiums for sporting events, but not before 17 May.

That could mean the FA Cup final at Wembley on 15 May is played behind closed doors, as it was in August, although fans may be able to attend the conclusion of the Premier League, which is set to finish on 23 May.

The delayed Euro 2020 competition begins on 11 June with Wembley set to host seven matches, including the final on 11 July.

Wimbledon, which was cancelled in 2020 for the first time since the Second World War, is scheduled for 28 June to 11 July with Formula 1’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 18 July.

What will be allowed in England from 8 March?

  • Under-18s sport can take place at school as part of educational provision, or as part of wraparound care.
  • The stay-at-home restriction will continue but will be amended so people can leave home for recreation as well as exercise outdoors – with their own household, support or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household. Social distancing and other safe behaviours should be followed.

From 29 March

  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and outdoor swimming pools, can reopen. Formally organised outdoor sports – for adults and under 18s – can also restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits.

No earlier than 12 April

  • Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
  • All children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance. Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.

No earlier than 17 May

  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes.
  • Sports events indoors will be allowed up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, while outdoor events will have a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
  • There will be a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

No earlier than 21 June

  • Remove all legal limits on social contact.
  • Reopen the remaining closed settings and enable large events above the capacity restrictions (from no earlier than 17 May entry).

Agencies

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