Sports venues are set to return to full capacity from July 19 as the majority of coronavirus restrictions end.
On Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to return to near-normality in a fortnight’s time, with compulsory measures such as social distancing to be removed. A final decision on lifting restrictions will be taken next Monday (July 12).
It is expected that fans will not need “passports” to attend events, though individual sports or venues could still impose their own requirements. Currently, at pilot events such as the Euro 2020 matches played at Wembley, fans are required to show either proof of double vaccination or a negative Covid test from within the past 48 hours.
The news means football stadiums will be full for the start of the new Premier League season next month, while several major summer sporting events, such as England’s five-match Test series against India and racing’s Glorious Goodwood meeting, can take place in front of full capacity crowds.
The Women’s Open at Carnoustie and the ECB’s new franchise cricket tournament The Hundred are other events set to benefit.
The Government’s pilot scheme has already seen fans return to numerous sporting events, including the FA Cup final, the World Snooker Championship and England’s Test series against New Zealand, mostly at reduced capacities.
Crowds have also been back at Wimbledon - which was cancelled outright because of the pandemic last year - and the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals at SW19 will be played in front of full houses on Centre Court and Court One this week.
This month’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone will see the largest crowd in attendance at a sporting event in the UK since the pandemic began, with the track set to welcome around 140,000 fans.