With Government announcements opening up the possibility of the welcome return of supporters to football, the Club has been confirming what we will need to do to have spectators back in the Borough Sports Ground as soon as possible.
We have been in regular contact with the authorities during the last few months and 95% of the planning is complete, what we need now before we can announce some definite arrangements is to get our final plans, including the current capacity, signed off.
We will provide in-depth details as soon as we can but we thought that everyone would appreciate some indications of the measures we will be putting in place.
Regulations allow for up to 2,000 spectators at this time. But after taking into account the Covid protocols that must be put in place, our initial capacity will be significantly below that.
Everybody entering the stadium must have a match ticket, there will not be any tickets on sale at the turnstiles. It would greatly assist our procedures if spectators who have access to the NHS Track and Trace App have it downloaded on their phone in advance of coming to a game.
Season ticket holders will get absolute priority on match entry, but will still need to obtain a free match ticket in advance. This is so we can keep track of the numbers of people attending and also know how many tickets can go on general sale.
Match tickets will be coded for Gander Green Lane or Collingwood Road, in order to reduce the length of queues on entry, so please note which entrance you must use.
Please obey guidelines on social distancing including wearing face coverings.
At this time we do not plan to allow away supporters into matches, so other than Red Zone areas the whole stadium will be available. Numbers in the grandstand will be greatly restricted. We would also ask that spectators spread out around the stadium, stewards will be instructed to request that large groups of spectators stand further apart.
One of the basic principles already in place for matches is that all stadia are divided into Amber and Red Zones, with the Red Zone largely restricted to the essential matchday participants. The layout of our ground means that, initially, the east wing of the grandstand will not be open to paying spectators (restricted to players, staff etc). Similarly, this means that spectators using wheelchairs will unfortunately not be allowed pitch-side access.
The wearing of face coverings will be mandatory in the grandstand.
Smoking, incluidng vaping, will not be permitted anywhere inside the stadium.
None of the club's bars will be open. Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be available inside the stadium.
Extra toilets will be hired in.
Initially, car-park permits will not be valid. We are extremely sorry for this inconvenience but Covid rules mean that people are largely restricted to one person per car and so essential attendees take up more spaces than previously. Once we have had a chance to assess how many spare spaces are available, we will provide an update on car-park use. Please bear with us on this.
Lastly, just a plea for understanding. None of this is ideal, we would all like to go ahead with none of these measures being necessary, but we have no choice on acting to ensure everyone is safe and to minimise the risks of this virus continuing to thrive. So please follow the protocols and guidelines, any spectators who repeatedly refuse to follow the guidelines will be asked to leave the stadium and could be refused entry to subsequent matches.
The National League has called a meeting of clubs for Tuesday and we hope that we might be able to publish our definitive arrangements on our website later that day.