Football fans to return to stadiums next month as lockdown restrictions eased
Football fans will be able to return to stadiums next month as lockdown rules are eased.
The relaxing of certain measures announced on Thursday night comes in time for snooker enthusiasts to attend the World Championship at the Crucible.
An approved list of pilot events scheduled for the coming weeks also includes certain rugby matches and racing at Goodwood.
Capacity will be capped and attendees called on not to sing or shout in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Premier League season is set to begin on 12 September and trials to permit some fans to attend will begin later that month, before a large-scale rollout in October.
Announcing the easing of restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "At every stage I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional.
“Today we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed.
“However, as I have always said, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus.”
Football fans must sign a code of behaviour stating they will not attend matches if they have symptoms of the virus or have been exposed to someone who has.
There will also be strict crowd management in operation, with one-way systems, socially-distanced seating and staggered arrival and departure times
Hand washing and sanitising stations will also be set up at participating venues, none of which are in the North East, where there are still tighter lockdown measures in place.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden credited the easing of restrictions to Britain's efforts to bring the infection rate down.
He added: "The nation's hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19 secure leisure businesses.
"We must all continue to stay alert but today's welcome news means these organisations can finally get going safely, and we can enjoy more of the things we love as a nation.
"I have no doubt that they will work incredibly hard to keep their fans, patrons, and customers safe."
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