The new COVID-19 rules in football stadiums and why Hartlepool United are likely to avoid them
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Supporters will need to supply proof of a double coronavirus vaccination or a negative lateral flow test in order to attend sporting events in England with crowds of over 10,000.
But as Hartlepool’s Suit Direct Stadium has a capacity of 7,865 and an average attendance of just over 5,000 – the current rules do not apply to them.
The same can be said for the majority of League Two clubs who have average attendances of well below 10,000 – the one exception being Bradford City, who Pools have already played this season.
The new rules are part of the government’s ‘plan B’ to try and tackle the spread of the Omicron variant
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the new rules will become mandatory from Wednesday, December 15.
In Wednesday’s Downing Street press conference, Johnson said: “We will make the NHS Covid pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.
“The NHS Covid pass can still be obtained with two doses but we will keep this under review as the boosters roll out.
“And having taken clinical advice since the emergence of Omicron, a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient.
“As we set out in Plan B, we will give businesses a week’s notice, so this will come into force in a week’s time, helping to keep these events and venues open at full capacity while giving everyone who attends them confidence that those around them have done the responsible thing to minimise risk to others.”
Following the Government’s announcement, an English Football League spokesperson said: “In light of the Government’s activation of Plan B Covid-19 mitigation measures, the EFL will continue to support those clubs that will be required to admit fans with Covid certification from Wednesday December 15 onwards.
“Despite challenging circumstances throughout the pandemic, EFL clubs have readily adapted to welcome fans safely and we know clubs have been preparing for this additional layer to their matchday operations to ensure supporters can continue to watch their team play with confidence over the winter period.”