LONDON (AP) — Supporters are set to return to English Premier League games next week for the first time since March.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is allowing a return of spectators to sports stadiums as part of an easing of coronavirus restrictions when the national lockdown ends on Dec. 2.
A maximum of 4,000 fans will initially be allowed into venues in the areas with the lowest COVID-19 infection rates and up to 2,000 in the areas placed in the next tier of restrictions. The highest-risk areas still won’t be allowed fans.
Plans for the return of spectators in October were put on hold due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
The government will announce on Thursday which tiers English cities and regions will be placed into.
“We are able to get the turnstiles turning sooner than expected,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Monday, “taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest risk areas first. I’m confident that sports will take every step to ensure their fans are safe, and fans will play their part and look out for each other until we can safely get everyone back in.”
Britain has been Europe’s hardest-hit country during the pandemic, with 55,230 known deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test including another 206 in Monday’s daily update.
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