The Prime Minister on Monday announced the government’s plans to ease the remaining restrictions on coronaviruses on social distancing later this month.
Crowds have either been kept out entirely or allowed in very small numbers since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK in March of last year. Test events with a greater attendance have been organized as part of a government program since April.
However, the government is convinced that the successful deployment of the vaccine has helped sever the link between infection rates and hospitalization and death rates from COVID-19.
A final decision on lifting the remaining restrictions in England on July 19 will be taken next Monday, but the intention is for the stadiums to operate at full capacity from that date.
Recent test events have tested the use of Covid certification – where bystanders must provide proof of a full vaccination, recent negative test, or existing immunity – but these so-called ‘vaccine passports’ don’t will now be no longer required for entry.
Johnson said at the Monday afternoon press conference: “We are going to move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions on how to deal with the virus.
“From the fourth step, we will remove all legal limits on the number of indoor and outdoor meetings. We will allow the reopening of all businesses, including nightclubs, we will lift the limit on named visitors to nursing homes and the number of people attending concerts, theater and sporting events. “
The decision to allow the reopening of sports venues without any restrictions ends a period when spectators have either been totally banned or limited to a small number.
A first attempt to reopen with sites up to a third of their normal capacity on October 1 last year was abandoned amid rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths as the country entered a second lockdown national a little over a month later.
Fans returned in very small numbers when the government instituted the regionalised tier system in early December, but again, a spike in cases and deaths led to its scrapping at the end of the month.
The government’s Events Research Program (ERP) started in April and is now in its third phase, and has sought ways to bring spectators back to venues in financially viable numbers.
The results of the first phase of the ERP were published on June 25. It concluded that there had been no significant outbreaks related to the nine sporting and cultural events featured in the first phase, and found only 28 positive cases related to the more than 58,000 people who participated in the events. tests. These events included the FA Cup semi-final, an FA Cup semi-final, the Carabao Cup final and the World Snooker Championship.
However, the report says the data should be treated with “extreme caution” due to the low return rate of participants’ PCR tests.
As of May 17, all sites in England have been allowed to admit spectators on a limited basis as part of the third stage of the Covid recovery roadmap. For outdoor venues with a capacity of 16,000 seats or more, the limit is 10,000 or 25% of the capacity, whichever is less.
For outdoor sites with less seating than that, the limit is 4000 or 50% of capacity, whichever is lower. For indoor sites, the limit is 1000 or 50% capacity, whichever is lower.
Monday’s news will be greeted positively by sports clubs and governing bodies across the country.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has previously said he hopes the stadiums will be at full capacity for the start of the 2021-22 season in mid-August, while at EFL level, the restoration of match income will have an extremely positive impact on the club’s finances. , who were devastated by the pandemic.
The Premier League returns on Friday August 13 as Arsenal travel to newly promoted Brentford.