Fans to Return to Stadiums Without COVID-19 Restrictions

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Despite the UK outbreak of the delta strain and the number of daily cases expected to rise to 50,000 later this month, the Government has decided to put an end to limits on crowd capacity and social distancing measures and allow fans to return to stadiums as of July 19, PM Boris Johnson announced at a Downing Street news conference on Monday, July 5.

The UK government is about to officially confirm Step 4 in the easing of restrictions next week. Starting from mid-July, sports supporters will no longer need to have mandatory vaccine certificates. The 1-metre-plus social distancing rule will no longer be obligatory, nor will wearing a face-covering to enter stadiums, race tracks, or even indoor venues.

The rules will positively affect live sports, enabling sports organisations to sell out tickets for big competitions. Thanks to successful vaccine rollout, coronavirus transmission has been curbed significantly, and fans will be able to attend and bet on horse racing events, rugby, and – to the joy of football betting sites everywhere – live matches.

The Premier League officials have expressed their support of the opening in a statement: “Fans have been hugely missed, so we welcome today’s announcement by the Government and are looking forward to full stadiums in the 2021/22 season. As we move towards a Government decision on Step 4 of the roadmap and beyond, we will continue to work with football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe.”

The PM also warned the nation that the virus is still circulating and that the lifting of the restrictions came not as an ending to the pandemic, but from balancing the risks: “The risks of the disease which the vaccines have reduced but very far from eliminated. And the risks of continuing with legally enforced restrictions that inevitably take their toll on people’s lives and livelihoods – on people’s health and mental health.”

In the face of rapidly rising cases driven by the delta variant, Boris Johnson closed his statement by urging sports fans and UK citizens in general to protect themselves and others by getting their jabs when their turn comes.