Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden: I’m delighted we are able to get the turnstiles turning sooner than expected, taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest risk areas first
Supporters will be welcomed back into stadia and sports venues in limited numbers from 2 December, in a major boost for fans, professional sports clubs and elite sport events.
Organised grassroots sport is also allowed to resume from 2 December and gyms and leisure centres will be able to reopen across all tiers, benefitting the health and wellbeing of people across the country.
Elite sport clubs and events hosted outdoors in tier one locations will be able to welcome up to a maximum of 4,000 fans or 50 percent of stadium capacity - whatever is lower.
In tier two (high alert) locations the cap is set at 2,000 supporters or 50 percent of stadium capacity.
Indoor sporting events and fixtures in tiers one and two locations will be able to host a maximum of 1,000 fans or 50 percent of stadium capacity - whatever is lower.
However, in tier three locations, fans will not be permitted to attend elite sporting fixtures in line with hospitality venues and other large event venues being closed. Elite sport in tier three locations will still continue behind closed doors.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement: “This is a big step forward for sport. Bringing grassroots sport back was my number one priority so I’m pleased we are reopening sports and gyms in every tier, in recognition of the significant health benefits.
“I’m also delighted we are able to get the turnstiles turning sooner than expected, taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest risk areas first. I’m confident that sports will take every step to ensure their fans are safe, and fans will play their part and look out for each other until we can safely get everyone back in.”
Organised grassroots sport is allowed to resume from 2 December across all levels, providing social distancing remains in place, although there will be some restrictions on highest-risk activity in tier three areas. Spectators at non-elite sports will be able to attend events in line with Covid-secure guidance for each tier.
Indoor sport and physical activity will also resume, although there will be restrictions on some activities due to the higher transmission risk of coronavirus in an indoor setting. Restrictions will depend on the alert level that applies to your local area.
In tier one areas indoor sports can take place within the rule of six. This will mean people from different households could play 3 on 3 volleyball, or four people from different households could play doubles tennis or badminton. Group activities such as training sessions and exercise classes can take place in larger numbers, provided that people are in separate groups (up to six people) which do not mix.
In tier two areas, indoor sport can take place within households, and people can take part in group activity like exercise classes as long as there is no mixing between households. People can play certain sports which do not involve close proximity or physical contact against one person from another household, such as a singles tennis match or badminton match.
In tier three areas, indoor sport will be restricted to within your household only, and there should be no group activity such as exercise classes.
Further guidance will be published in due course.
A statement from The Football Association said: “We welcome the UK Government's announcement today and we are very pleased that organised sports, which include Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS], Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP] and competitive grassroots football, can look forward to resuming from 2 December 2020.
"We are also delighted to see the beginning of the safe return of fans in stadiums for elite sports events and confirmation that spectators at non-elite sports will be able to attend events in line with Covid-secure guidance for each tier.
"We will continue our ongoing dialogue with Government to clarify the details and next steps, and provide further updates in due course.”
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