The government is preparing to reopen sports stadiums across the UK. While first trial events will take place in just 2 weeks, all stadiums could be open again only from October onwards.
Earlier today prime minister Boris Johnson has announced further restrictions are being eased, this time to revive the leisure and event industries across Britain. The next step will begin on August 1, when some leisure venues will be allowed to open.
“We will pilot larger gatherings in venues such as sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn,” Johnson said. “All of these measures, for August 1, should be done in a COVID-secure way.”
First test events were selected, the outcome of which could determine in what way football stadiums could reopen later on. The upcoming World Snooker Championship in Sheffield (Jul 31 – Aug 16), the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival (Aug 1) and two men's county cricket friendly matches (Jul 26-27) are set to be among the pilot events.
Should the situation remain under control, Johnson expects all stadiums to reopen from October onwards, although not in an unrestricted way. “From October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and allow conferences and other business events to recommence, again these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”
Reopening would be conditioned on organisers providing information and advice on safe behaviour for fans. Additional hygiene will be necessary, as well as ensuring social distancing to the extent possible.