The latest lockdown in England is set end December 2, after which the country will follow a tier-based model for (partial) reopening of various businesses and easing of restrictions in social settings.
As announced earlier today, most of London will be in Tier 2, which means no indoor socialization, limited outdoor socialization, and pubs and bars can open only with meal service. Tier 2 does in theory allow up to 2000 spectators (or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less) to return to sporting events, including to Premier League matches in Tier 2 areas.
While there is some doubt whether it’s at all (economically and logistically) feasible to open and operate massive stadiums at such tiny per cent of capacity — anywhere from about 3% (Spurs) to 8% (Crystal Palace) — Chelsea’s official statement in response to the easing of the lockdown gives hope that we will indeed open the doors to those select lucky few who get to (and want to) go.
London’s tier 2 status means up to 2,000 supporters will be permitted to attend the home Premier League match against Leeds United on Saturday 5 December, subject to approval from the relevant local authorities. We are delighted some fans can return and look forward to a full stadium when the time is right.
In addition, home supporters will also be permitted at Chelsea Women’s WSL match against West Ham at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 6 December.
There is no need to contact the club for the details at this point. More information will be available soon and we will communicate this to our fans at the earliest opportunity.
While it’s unclear how exactly the logistics of this will be handled (season ticket holders first, on a lottery/rotation basis?), and just what areas of the stadium will or will not be open (one would imagine no concessions for example?), it’s a big step in the direction of “normalcy”, if we remember what that might feel like. It will be far from normal still, but perhaps better than nothing — assuming it doesn’t just create super-spreaders every weekend across the football grounds of England.