Sports venues across England will be able to welcome spectators again from next Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed.
Boris Johnson told a press conference on Monday afternoon that the government was continuing its plan to take the third step of its coronavirus recovery roadmap, first presented on February 22.
“We will unlock the turnstiles at our sports stadiums subject to capacity limits,” Johnson said in his opening speech, as he detailed the continued easing of the lockdown in England.
Fans will be allowed to return to stadiums from next Monday as part of the lockdown exit plan
This means larger outdoor venues will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 spectators from next week.
The Premier League has pushed back its penultimate round of matches to May 18 and 19 so that each club can play a game in front of the fans before the end of the season on May 23.
The league confirmed last week that the matches will only be open to home fans.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “It will be great to see the fans again. They were sorely missed and the Premier League was not the same without them. Their presence will ensure a fantastic finale at the end of our season.
Although only a small number of home fans will be at our matches next week, it is an important step in our return to normalcy.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday theaters could accommodate up to 10,000 fans
“We will continue to work with the government and other authorities as our priority is to have vibrant stadiums – including away fans – from the start of next season. Only then will we return to the real Premier League. “
For smaller outdoor sites, capacity will be capped at 4000 or 50%, whichever is lower. The indoor venue cap will be 1,000 or 50%, whichever is lower.
The decision to ease restrictions comes as the country continues to benefit from an accelerated vaccination program and a drop in Covid-19-related deaths and hospitalizations.
The government hopes to allow venues to admit significantly more spectators from June 21, and it has set up an Events Research Program (ERP) to test different security measures in a series of events. sporting and cultural “pilot” events in order to achieve this.
The first ERP sporting event with spectators in attendance this year was the first day of the World Snooker Championship on April 17, with crowds at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield increasing as the tournament progressed, culminating in a packed house for the final on May 2 and 3.
Last month’s Carabao Cup final saw 4,000 fans attend Wembley as part of a pilot
The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton at Wembley on April 18 was the first outdoor sporting event to welcome spectators again, although it was limited to residents and key workers living locally at the stadium.
The following weekend’s Carabao Cup final was the first outdoor event attended by fans from the clubs involved. Manchester City and Tottenham were each able to offer tickets to 2,000 supporters.
There have been no major hiccups in the ERP so far, which continues on Saturday when 21,000 people are due to make it to the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester at Wembley, where Prince William is expected to be on place to present the trophy to the winners.
It was confirmed on Monday that the Duke of Cambridge and the FA president will attend the game.