Maidstone United will open the 2020/21 season with a capacity of 1,255 – subject to approval.
Following extensive guidance and Covid-secure calculations from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), the Gallagher Stadium will be temporarily remodelled and split into three specific areas:
- Manchett Main Stand
- Genco Stand
- South Stand (Town End)
Each area will have its own entry point and spectators will have to remain in their area for the duration of the match, where all facilities will be available.
At the start of the season there will be no provision for away fans to come into the ground.
Season ticket holders will be guaranteed entry to the matches and will have priority on FA Cup and FA Trophy tickets.
Club chief executive Bill Williams said: “I cannot tell you the hours of work that has gone into reconfiguring the ground for this new world we find ourselves in.
“We’ve have gone through the SGSA’s guidance with a fine-tooth comb and I would like to thank Simon Daniel and John Harvey who’ve done so much work to get us to this point.
“I know it had to be done, it’s this or nothing but the consequences are far ranging. This restricted capacity puts us between 500 and 1,200 short on last season’s crowds and it goes against everything we’ve worked for since 2012.
“I can only apologise to those who are not able to come to games as they have done for the last eight years and ask for your understanding at this most challenging of times. As soon as we’re able to increase capacity we will make an announcement through the usual channels.
“I expect many clubs will go with no or limited away fans. On many alternate Saturdays to the first team, our excellent under 23 side will be playing matches at the Gallagher and I hope we can build on the number of fans who were coming to watch their fixtures.
“We want to do all we can to involve as many of you, as often as possible and the introduction of the Stones TV streaming service is just one of those ways.”
The club are assessing the most efficient and safe way to get Manchett Main Stand holders in or near their old seats and this ongoing process is expected to be concluded next week. Due to the limitation on numbers, the Manchett Main Stand is now sold out.
Ground season tickets are available to purchase online via the club’s website.
For matchdays, any Genco or South stand tickets left, after season ticket purchases, will be sold via the club’s online platform in advance only.
This will assist with Track and Trace requirements and to control capacity on matchdays. There will be no pay on the day option until further notice. It is envisaged that online sales will close at 10:00 on the morning of the matches or 17:00 for midweek games.
Bill said: “By purchasing a season ticket or an e-ticket, supporters will be asked to read and sign up to the new code of conduct, which has additional Covid-19 rules to be followed.
“We want to do all we can to offer a comfortable, safe and ultimately enjoyable time in these current circumstances. Please work with us to get through these next few months and I am sure, like me, you’re longing for the day for some semblance of normality can resume.”
New entry points and Covid-19 information, including guidance on face coverings, sanitiser and social distancing, will be explained within the season ticket pack or with the e-ticket.