The Premier League had been hoping to be able to begin next season with full stadiums after a season and a half of them largely standing empty, and it looks like those hopes might not have been in vain.
As per the latest guidance from the government, England are set to ease pandemic restrictions to practically nothing come July 19, including allowing for full capacity stadiums — without mask mandates or vaccine passports, even.
These proposed guidelines are subject to final review on July 12 based on “latest available data”. Given the latest surge in cases in the country thanks to the delta variant, that review could potentially delay the reopening date, though it sounds like the government wants to push ahead unless something drastic happens in the meantime.
As per the government’s Events Research Programme, limited data analysis following the test events that were held, such as the FA Cup final, has shown that “no substantial outbreaks” have come as a result of them.
“We’ll move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus. From step four we will remove all legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors. We will allow all businesses to reopen, including nightclubs, we will lift the limit on named visitors to care homes and the numbers of people attending concerts, theatre, and sports events.”
-PM Boris Johnson; source: Sky
The Premier League have welcomed this development, needless to say, though it remains to be seen if any restrictions will still be put in place (since the guidance does allow for individual events and companies to set their own mandates — we’ve seen such mandates enable full capacity crowds in Budapest for Euro 2020, for example).
“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 pandemic is not over yet, and this disease is likely here to stay. Vaccinations will help manage it, but it’s something we will have to keep dealing with for the foreseeable future, if not forever. The key is to be able to manage it, which hopefully we will be able to keep doing as economies and societies reopen.