Fans back in stadiums from next month. Who saw that coming?
Most people tuned into the Prime Minister’s update to find out how many households could mix over the festive period.
Then came the bolt out of the blue, an early Christmas present you might say, that in Tier 1 and 2 areas, supporters will be allowed after this lockdown ends a week tomorrow.
According to the government’s website: ‘Elite sport clubs and events hosted outdoors in tier one locations will be able to welcome up to a maximum of 4,000 fans or 50 per cent of stadium capacity – whatever is lower.
‘In tier two (high alert) locations the cap is set at 2,000 supporters or 50 percent of stadium capacity.’
Maidstone went into lockdown under Tier 1 but sources suggest we might exit it in Tier 2 because of the increasing cases locally, particularly in our neighbouring borough of Swale.
Whether at Tier 1 or 2, it could allow us to open our gates to near average attendance levels. I didn’t think I’d be saying that this season.
I should at this point sound a note of caution. It won’t be a return to business as usual.
Until such time as a vaccine has been approved and administered to a sufficient percentage of the population, there will still be the need to wear face coverings, sanitise our hands regularly and keep a social distance.
Having said that, I am sure, in fact I know, you’ll all be on board with those measures if it gets you back in your seat or on the terraces.
We have a ‘Covid-secure’ plan in place and that is with the local authorities for sign off. We will review that in light of yesterday’s announcement and work with the members of the Safety Advisory Group to get sign off.
Let’s see what comes from the Football Association in the next day or so and, more importantly, what tier Maidstone will be in from 2nd December.
For the first time in a long time, I feel we’re close to getting our fans, the lifeblood of our club, back to the Gallagher Stadium.
I’ve missed you all, even you Shaky, but in your case, social distancing will remain in place forever more!
I will update you later this week when we know a little more.
Come on you Stones!!