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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/elite-sport-return-to-competition-safe-return-of-spectators
This guidance, in conjunction with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority’s (SGSA) technical guidance SG02, supports the return of spectators to sports competitions in the COVID tiering system in effect from 00:01 on 2 December, Given this return will lead to the movement and congregation of relatively large numbers of people, Event organisers are expected to meet their responsibilities in delivering safe, controlled events, in line with national and local public health directions.
The tiering system permits the following spectator numbers. These must be validated against the SGSA guidance (Green Guide 6 and SG02) on calculating safe capacities in any specific venue.
|Tier 1 region||Tier 2 region||Tier 3 and 4 regions|
|Indoors: 1000* spectators or 50% venue capacity, whichever is lower||Indoors: 1000* spectators or 50% venue capacity, whichever is lower||No spectators|
|Unlawful for people to mix in groups exceeding 6 unless from the same household/support bubble||Unlawful for people to mix in groups of any size other than their household/bubble||No spectators|
|Outdoors: 4000* spectators or 50% venue capacity, whichever is lower||Outdoors: 2000* spectators or 50% venue capacity, whichever is lower||No spectators|
|Unlawful for people to mix in groups exceeding 6 unless from the same household/support bubble||Unlawful for people to mix in groups exceeding 6 unless from the same household/support bubble||No spectators|
*Capacity cap relates to spectators only, as defined in the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.
Exceptions - any government-endorsed test events will be subject to different arrangements and capacity calculations.
Core responsibilities of event organisers and spectators in upholding public health principles
Beyond the fundamental responsibility of using all relevant operational expertise to deliver a safe event in the regular sense (in accordance with established SGSA guidance, Event organisers have an additional responsibility to do so in full accordance with COVID public health principles. Given the nature of sports events, these principles map logically against the spectator journey which Event Organisers are already highly adept at planning for. This guidance document goes into more detail, but this summary provides an at-a-glance guide to core responsibilities. These elements are also subject to further work by the Sports Technology and Innovation Group designed to refine protocols and seek innovative ways to safely increase Competition Venue capacities.
Core responsibility 1 – ticketing and capacity
● Capacity cap in line with tier restrictions and the venue’s revised safe capacity as calculated using SGSA’s guidance SG02, plus any other determination by relevant local authority bodies (including the Safety Advisory Group)
● Social distancing in seating plans, observed at 2m or 1m+ where the additional mitigations outlined in this guidance are implemented. Family groups / households can be seated without social distancing. There is some flexibility in seating / standing layouts adopted by the venue as long as final configuration is in line with distancing guidance.
● In non-seated venues/areas, additional protocols and physical measures should be in place to maintain a zonal arrangement to avoid groups of spectators mixing
● No travelling away fans, for Competition Venues hosting opposing sides. This is to significantly reduce impacts on transport and the movement of populations between regions.
● Mandatory capture of contact details of Track and Trace purposes, so any individual or group attending can be traced back through the booking system. Clear zoning of venues may support accurate tracing, such a zonal QR codes for different venue areas.
● Spectators should be advised to undertake their own health risk assessment, considering if travelling to, and attending, such an event, is appropriate. This should include following relevant guidance and regulations on travel both domestically and internationally. For example journeys should not be made from tier 3 and 4 areas to attend events hosted elsewhere. Age and vulnerability of the spectator should be taken into account. Spectators should not attend if self-isolating, if contacted by Test and Trace to self-isolate or if they have COVID symptoms.
Core responsibility 2 – Pre-event communications and build up
● Test events have shown high levels of compliance from spectators. To build on this, organisers should issue codes of conduct to spectators before the event, mandating for example, strict compliance with social distancing, providing details for Track and Trace, use of the NHS COVID-19 app, responsible use of alcohol, and observing all direction by stewards and from venue signage.
● Most fundamentally, symptomatic people or those who have been instructed to self-isolate, must self-declare and be refused a ticket at point of sale where timely, or, if those factors arise/continue after a ticket purchase, advised that they are prohibited from making the journey to the venue or entering it. Regular messaging to fans and a spectator code of conduct could, for example, support this messaging.
● It should be made clear that any breaches will be treated extremely seriously and result in sanctions, including expulsion, bans, or reporting to the police. Everyone has a responsibility to ensure events happen safely and are permitted to continue.
● Comprehensive staff briefing and training will be key in ensuring that everyone knows their role and responsibility on the day and works effectively and safely together. All the usual operational communications systems should be deployed to uphold public health requirements as well as standard safety good practice.
● All available customer communications channels should be used to ensure spectators know what to expect at an event, and what is expected from them. The environment will feel quite different to start with, but with clear and consistent messaging, spectators and staff alike should easily adapt to the new requirements and enjoy their experience.
Core responsibility 3 – Safe travel to venue
● Spectators should be reminded of the safer transport guidance. They should be actively encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, plan their journey in advance to avoid busy routes and times, sanitise their hands regularly, wear a face covering unless exempt, and make space when travelling.
● Event Organisers should make spectators aware, before they travel, of the latest Safer Travel guidance, including highlighting the mandatory requirement to wear a face covering including explaining who is exempt, and advice on travel between tiers.
● It is imperative that Event Organisers assess the comparative demands that the event places on public transport and engage early and fully with transport providers to ensure sufficient and safe capacity is available.
● All local Safety Advisory Groups (SAG) must have transport representation. This is to ensure they can advise on any adaptations required in order to, for example, protect social distancing, avoid crowding on platforms and at ticket barriers, and provide sufficient time for safe plans to be drawn up. Where the SAG believes there is insufficient capacity to serve the event, the venue should consider providing additional private transport options or limiting ticket sales.
● Local Transport Authorities must have been fully consulted before a final decision is taken to proceed with an event.
● Careful planning and liaison will be required if multiple events require the same transport capacity. This will particularly be the case in large metropolitan areas. Organisers should be open to any essential adaptations as advised in consultation with local Transport Authorities, including revisiting fixture/scheduling plans if necessary.
Core responsibility 4 – Last mile and entry
● It is vital to avoid ‘pinch points’ and crowd congestion given the potential adverse impact on social distancing and reduced transport capacity. Event Organisers have experience in managing these matters, and given the capacity caps, these should be straightforward to address using effective operational planning and live monitoring, but nothing should be left to chance. Plans should be in place to intervene rapidly with action should inadvertent crowding occur.
● Staggering spectator arrival times should be very actively encouraged. This will help control crowd flow at entry and in internal concourses. Extra thought should be put into ways of mitigating surges just before start time / kick off / first race etc. These may include opening gates earlier, providing extra entertainment content on the pitch/course, and big screens etc. Providing pre-event refreshments may assist in line with hospitality guidance. Restricting entry immediately before kickoff may support earlier arrivals but only where safe to do so.
● Face coverings should be mandated indoors and in all covered communal / covered areas including on entry and in concourses, queues, toilets etc. Given the higher risk of transmission associated with singing and shouting, event organisers should remind spectators of this and strongly therefore encourage the use of face coverings in all outdoor spectator settings, including seats/standing points. They are mandatory in all indoor sports venues, in line with wider guidance on indoor spectator events. Singing and shouting is to be discouraged at indoor sports events.
● Ticket holders will be required to confirm on entry that contact details of everyone entering under their booking (if in a group) were correct when submitted and any further information will be provided if required for Track and Trace purposes.
● Health screening on entry will be a matter for the venue. But any screening activity must be designed to uphold social distancing and avoid bottlenecks.
Core responsibility 5 – inside the venue
● Careful planning of crowd flow required as ever, with particular attention paid to any additional requirement for SG02 compliant systems to uphold social distancing
● Consideration of how spectators are directed to their seats, with close proximity face-to-face encounters avoided wherever possible
● Additional facilities, such as hand washing and sanitiser stations, should be provided for spectators, particularly at entry and exit points to the competition venue and in seating/standing areas.
● Special arrangements for areas where queues naturally arise e.g. refreshments, toilets, programme / racecard sales points etc. Important to avoid any queueing activity that would undermine social distancing, particularly at peak times such as half time, between races etc. Momentary breaches as people pass through zones are excluded but should be kept to a minimum.
● Food, drink, and retail concessions can continue to operate subject to SD capacity assessment and following regulations relevant to the venue’s tier of regulations (see below)
● Local authorities may consider whether restrictions on neighbouring licensed premises before/after events would be a necessary additional mitigation
● Venue planning should specifically address how they intend to follow relevant regulations on any alcohol sales in line with hospitality guidance across the entirety of their footprint, and how it may interact with other mitigations in place
● Indoor venues need to take extra care in ensuring adequate ventilation, and uphold wider BEIS good practice on making a venue COVID-secure
● All of the above should be supported by clear and widespread signage to help with customer understanding and compliance
● Staff should be clear about their role in helping to uphold the public health requirements, and should have the confidence to advise spectators respectfully of their responsibilities. As per pre-event customer communications, spectators should be made aware of sanctions in the case of non-compliance.
● If emergency services are present at the venue, all protocols must incorporate any specific operational requirements they may have
● Consider using communications channels at events to promote wider public health messaging
Core responsibility 6 – Departure: Venue, Zone Ex and post-event
● The avoidance of a ‘surge’ moment at the end of the event is vitally important, both in terms of avoiding egress crowding and reducing pressure on transport infrastructure. Event organisers will have a variety of ways of addressing this, with phased exit of blocks / stands and post-event entertainment just a few of the options. The key thing is advance scenario planning and live monitoring of the situation to head off any potential bottlenecks in real time, and capacity planning in line with SG02.
● Effective transport planning is fundamental for the post-event period. Local transport authorities should be satisfied with agreed plans to channel passengers from venues to transport hubs.
● Encourage socially responsible behaviour after the event, reminding spectators that observing public health restrictions within the venue alone will not be enough in helping to reduce the risk of Covid transmission. Indeed, event organisers need ticket holders to uphold their responsibilities on the entire end-to-end customer journey.
● Actively mitigate against end of event transport planning issues
The following guidance provides a set of minimum standards to progress from Stage Four: Return to Cross Border Competition – No Spectators (RTCBC) to Stage Five: Return to Competition – Safe Return of Spectators (RTCSRS). The guidance allows for spectators to return to competition in a controlled and socially distanced (SD) way at reduced capacity in competition venues.
Further updates to this guidance may be published before full unrestricted competition with spectators is permitted. Accordingly, competition delivery partners (the competition organiser and the competition venue operator) should periodically check gov.uk for further updates.
The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) has published Supplementary Guidance to the Green Guide (SG02 - Planning for Social Distancing at Sports Grounds) which provides further detailed information on the implementation of this guidance, particularly at outdoor competition venues.
The suite of elite and professional sport guidance has been produced by a working group of leading Chief Medical Officers and partner organisation representatives across Olympic, Paralympic, professional sports and regulatory authorities on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
All existing government and Public Health England (PHE) guidance continues to apply and takes precedence over any other standards (specified by international competition organisers, international federations or governments) unless otherwise specified. This guidance does not constitute legal advice or replace any government or PHE advice; nor does it provide any commentary or advice on health-related issues. Competition delivery partners and other user groups should seek independent advice prior to implementing or participating in any RTCSRS plan.
Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For advice for Competitions hosted in other parts of the UK (outside England), please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government.
Further to Stages 1-4, the safe return of spectators to sports events necessitates significant engagement with local authorities, Safety Advisory Groups, policing and first responders, and other partner bodies. This should remain best practice, specifically how the event interacts with the local areas, and in emergency response to events underway.
All definitions in Stages One to Four continue to apply, with the following additions:
Competition – spectators present: Competition exclusively involving Elite Athletes, hosted within the UK, where cross border travel (from outside the UK and Ireland) is permitted for individuals essential to the delivery of the Competition. Spectators can attend the Competition if the standards within this guidance are met.
Green Guide: The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds is UK government-authorised guidance on spectator safety at sports grounds, written by the SGSA. It is specifically applicable to all sports grounds which are designated by the UK government Secretary of State, but also provides best practice guidance more broadly across all sport competition venues.
Local authority: The organisation that is responsible for the public services and facilities in the area where the Competition is hosted. Their responsibilities may include issuing and enforcing safety certificates in respect of a sports ground under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and/or the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987.
Safety Advisory Group (SAG): The vital forum through which the Local Authority and other agencies may develop a coordinated approach to safety at one or more competition venues, while each exercising its own responsibilities. It will provide specialist advice to the local authority and the competition delivery partners and may include appropriate members of the local authority (including traffic planning), the police, the fire service, the ambulance service, the building authority, first aid and public health..
Spectator: Any individual in attendance inside the competition venue who is not accredited by the Competition Organiser to participate in and/or deliver the competition. Accredited User Groups are defined in more detail in the Stage Three guidance.
Zone Ex: The external zone (also known as ‘the last mile’) which lies immediately beyond the outer perimeter of the sports ground, consisting of a network of routes or areas, often leading to transport hubs, and whose management is considered key to the safe and secure arrival and departure of spectators.
The addition of spectators into the competition environment will increase the number of people travelling to and from and circulating within the competition venue. Accordingly, it is critical that competition delivery partners ensure that SD guidelines (currently 2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) must be maintained throughout the competition venue by all user groups, including spectators, wherever possible. Where the SD guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, competition delivery partners should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the competition to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission. Examples might include restrictions on how catering is provided, pre-booking/pre-purchase of tickets only (no walk up admission) and any zonal breakdown of venue capacity limitations.
It is critical that every competition is individually risk assessed to determine whether RTCSRS can proceed.
All competition venues will vary in their design, layout and competition configuration and this should be considered when calculating the SD capacity of a competition venue, along with any national restrictions with regard to tiers for example.
The risk assessment and mitigation processes established by competition delivery partners as part of Stages Three and Four should be implemented for Stage Five, with an additional focus on assessing Spectator safety and management risks and developing appropriate mitigations. Where risk and mitigation plans are already in place (for Stages Three and Four), competition delivery partners should build on these, and revise where necessary, to meet the additional requirements of spectators.
As with previous stages, the roles and responsibilities, command, control and coordination arrangements between the competition delivery partners should be agreed at the outset, particularly those that relate to spectator safety and management. Roles and responsibilities should also be agreed with the local authority and public transport operators, including, where applicable, the role of the local authority and SAG in certifying or providing a general safety certificate for competition to take place. While the respective local authority may issue a safety certificate permitting competition, responsibility for the safety of spectators at the competition venue always rests with the competition delivery partners. Further information on regulatory requirements is provided in the Regulatory Control section of this guidance.
As in Stages Three and Four, the following key principles continue to apply:
• UK government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 (as amended) should be followed
• The guidance applies to both outdoor and indoor competition venues
• Competition delivery partners should be given the opportunity to ‘opt in’ to the inclusion of Spectators and should not proceed unless competition delivery partners are completely satisfied that RTCSRS can be safely implemented
• Competition delivery partners should continue to follow the principle that only individuals essential to the delivery of the competition and associated spectator services should be accredited by the competition organiser
Assessment to determine safe RTCSRS
Three assessments have been devised to assist competition delivery partners to determine whether RTCSRS can safely proceed, and to enable Spectators to assess whether they should attend competition. Competition delivery partners should agree roles and responsibilities at the outset, and this should include agreeing the organisation that will undertake assessments two and three.
Assessment one (to be performed by the spectator)
Competition delivery partners should provide spectators with information on the steps that will be implemented to minimise the risk to spectators, including any modifications to the competition venue. Spectators must agree, at point of ticket purchase, to a spectator code of behaviour obliging them to:
declare that they will not attend the competition if they display any COVID-19 symptoms and/or are required to self-isolate
adhere to requirements stipulated by the competition delivery partners regarding social distancing and the movements and behaviours of spectators, and
provide names and contact details for each ticketed individual within their booking to assist with NHS test and trace requirements
Spectators should assess the risk associated with attending the competition, both at the point of ticket purchase, and on the day of the competition, relative to their own personal circumstances, age, group size and makeup, health status and susceptibility to infection. Individuals who have been advised to isolate should not attend competition, and those at higher risk of infection (which may include, but not be limited to, individuals classified as a clinically extremely vulnerable person or a clinically vulnerable person) should assess if it is appropriate for them to attend.
Assessment Two (to be performed by competition delivery partners)
The competition delivery partners must liaise with the Safety Advisory Group, local authority and local PHE representatives before each competition to understand the prevailing risk environment and assess if the competition can be safely hosted. Consideration should be given to the LTLA (Lower Tier local authority) Prevalence rate or tier, any local lockdown protocols which may be in place and the origin and travel arrangements of attending Spectators, including away and international fans.
Assessment Three (to be performed by the competition venue operator)
The competition venue operator must assess the revised capacity of the competition venue (working, where required, in conjunction with the local authority). Revised capacity assessment will be based on any tier restriction, the competition venue’s existing safe capacity, with adjustments made to ensure that SD can be achieved by assessing:
the revised entry capacity
the revised holding capacity in seated/standing areas
capacity to maintain social distancing between household groups and individuals
capacity to facilitate socially distanced movement inside each area or zone (including concourses, staircases, toilets, concessions, etc), and
the revised exit/emergency exit capacity
Consideration will also need to be given to:
the acceptable number of passengers on public transport to and from the competition venue
the frequency of service and capacity of public transport hubs
the size, location and design of the competition venue
parking facilities, bike routes, walking routes
the environment within the Zone Ex area, particularly hospitality venues
the likelihood of public gatherings outside the competition venue, and
mitigating measures implemented by the venue operator.
The competition organiser should note that the competition venue capacity will be significantly reduced from normal safe capacity and this, along with adaptations required by this and any other related public health guidance, should be a key consideration in decisions around staging an event.
As noted, the SGSA has published detailed guidance on calculating the revised safe capacity of competition venues, based on UK government/PHE SD requirements. Competition delivery partners should consult the Supplementary Guidance to the Green Guide (SG02 - Planning for Social Distancing at Sports Grounds) for detailed information on how to perform this calculation.
The following section provides a set of minimum operating standards and guidance for competition delivery partners to consider across some of the key areas of competition Delivery. This is split into the following sections:
● Management / operational considerations, particularly ability to manage and enforce social distancing
● Zone Ex and spectator journey including transport
● Regulatory control
Competition delivery partners will be required to modify existing competition venue and competition related policies, procedures and operational practices to ensure that they are fit for purpose and appropriately accommodate SD, health, safety and hygiene requirements. It is critical that competition venues are correctly configured to accommodate the required SD protocols in advance of any competition taking place.
Competition delivery partners should continue to develop the risk assessment and mitigation planning process implemented in the Stage Three and Four Guidance. All spectator services and activities should be risk assessed by the lead COVID-19 Officer at the outset of competition planning, to understand if SD can be implemented safely - and if so, what changes are required. Where SD cannot be maintained, the competition delivery partners should consider whether that activity needs to continue. If the activity is deemed essential, but SD is difficult to implement, risk mitigation strategies should be put in place, wherever possible, to minimise the risk of transmission.
It should be noted that the practical implications of implementing SD requirements throughout competition venues may be operationally challenging. It is therefore important that risk assessments are completed early in the competition planning process.
Management responsibilities/operational considerations
Ticketing of seated and standing areas
Seating and standing areas should maintain SD wherever possible and reduce the movement of spectators between seats/areas. Key principles include:
● Seating should be allocated wherever possible and seat plans should be managed through the competition ticketing system
● Where allocated seating is not possible, seating or standing plans should be developed which maintain SD, with clear demarcation of the seats or standing areas which spectators can and cannot use
● Seated spectators should remain in seats registered to their contact details at the point of sale
● Spectators should be seated as individuals or where tickets were purchased in a group, within that group. Group ticket purchases should follow social distancing guidelines for seeing family and friends in regards to number of people in a group, and number of households in a group, appropriate to indoor and outdoor settings
● All individuals and groups within seated or standing areas should maintain current SD with other individuals and/or other groups.. SD not required for households/bubbles, in seating arrangements or any other context
● Seating and space for spectators with disabilities should comply with SD arrangements and have due regard to accessibility responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.
Face coverings should be mandated indoors and in all covered communal / covered areas including on entry and in concourses, queues, toilets etc. Given the higher risk of transmission associated with singing and shouting, event organisers should remind spectators of this and strongly therefore encourage the use of face coverings in all outdoor spectator settings, including seats/standing points. They are mandatory in all indoor sports venues, in line with wider guidance on indoor spectator events. Singing and shouting is to be discouraged at indoor sports events.
Singing and shouting
COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Singing, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols.
If singing is expected to take place, spectators should be reminded of the risks. The cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.
Based on public health advice for indoor performances,even where face coverings are mandated, crowds at indoor events should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including singing, shouting and chanting.
Event organisers should make spectators aware of these risks and encourage them to follow the guidance wherever possible.
NHS Test and Trace
The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. Competition delivery partners must follow all relevant guidance to assist this service. Competition delivery partners must ensure that any spectator data, including data collected at the ticket purchasing stage, is processed in a manner that is compliant with relevant data protection legislation and that any data collected from spectators should not include medical data, unless this has been considered within a data impact assessment and will be processed and stored in a compliant manner.
Good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, should be emphasised during the Competition. Additional facilities, such as hand washing and sanitiser stations, should be provided for spectators - particularly at entry and exits points to the competition venue and in seating/standing areas.
The cleaning standards required in the Stages Three and Four guidance should continue to be followed. In addition, the following should be considered as part of the competition planning:
● spectator areas, including seating, concourse areas and toilets, should be cleaned more frequently than normal, including between each competition session, with attention paid to high touch point surfaces such as doors, door handles, seat arms and handrails and taps
● One-way systems should be implemented for toilet facilities wherever possible to allow for SD
● Hand drying facilities should be provided in toilets – either paper towels or electrical dryers – and soap dispensers should be changed or cleaned as frequently as possible
● Additional waste facilities, including closed bins, should be provided along with more frequent rubbish collection
● Competition sessions should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake thorough cleaning of spectator areas between sessions
● Signage should be installed in all spectator areas and toilets to enforce SD, hygiene standards and good handwashing techniques
Catering and retail concessions
Event organisers should follow wider hospitality and retail guidance appropriate to their intended provision, and regulations and guidance for the tier of restrictions within which they will be operating.
Neither regulations nor guidance alter that already in place in the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol, etc) Act 1985.
In tier 1 and 2: sports stadia will be exempt from having to provide table service to spectators who intend to sit to consume their food or drink (including alcohol). This should be limited to only those with tickets and those who are planning to return to their seat. Venues should take steps to reduce queues for ordering, ensuring social distancing is maintained at all times.
In tier 2: sports stadia are exempt from only serving alcohol with a substantial meal to spectators who intend to sit in the auditorium to consume their drink. This should be limited only to customers with tickets and those who intend to return to their seat.
In tiers 1 and 2: hospitality services within sports venues must take last orders at 10pm, and close at 11pm. These venues may stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude events that start before 10pm.
The competition delivery partners should prepare a risk assessment and mitigation strategy for the preparation, handling, purchase and consumption of all food and drink, and operation of other retail concessions such as programmes, merchandise and betting. They should consider, but not be limited to:
● Hygiene requirements for all catering, retail and other concessions
● Enforcement of SD during queuing for service
● Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other when SD cannot be maintained
● Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
● Discouraging non-essential trips by staff within competition venues by using radios and other electronic devices to communicate
● Providing contactless cash operations and adjusting location of card readers to SD guidance
● Any equipment or PPE required for staff
● The ability to revise operations where possible, e.g. providing increased catering collection points throughout the competition venue to pick up pre-ordered food and drinks or implementing ‘in-seat’ delivery services
● Removal of all buffet catering services
● The provision of an education programme for catering and concessions staff
● Consideration of providing competition programmes in a digital format and online merchandising facilities
● Prohibiting the use of sampling and distributing promotional materials wherever possible
The signage plan for the competition should be developed to include spectator areas and should consider, but not be limited to:
● Signage and floor markings both inside and outside the entire competition venue to enforce SD, seating plans, one-way systems and queuing requirements. Signage should be positioned at all potential pinch points and areas where queues will normally fall
● Signage to enforce hygiene requirements, particularly handwashing, in all spectator areas
● Signage to confirm key messaging for spectators, including common COVID-19 symptoms and the process for spectators to follow should they become symptomatic at the competition venue
● Signage confirming the maximum capacity in any spectator areas
● Signage to support Track and Trace implementation such as venue specific QR codes
● For any enclosed and indoor areas, particular attention should be given to ventilation and sufficient circulation space around equipment and people
● Ventilation systems should be serviced and adjusted to ensure that ventilation levels do not reduce
● Advice on air conditioning systems, particularly where these serve multiple buildings, should be sought from heating ventilation and air conditioning engineers or advisors
● Natural ventilation systems such as doors (excluding fire doors) and windows should be used wherever possible to increase ventilation in enclosed spaces.
Circulation within crowd management plan
The competition delivery partners should develop a crowd management plan for the competition and ensure, where relevant, that the SAG and the local authority are fully engaged in its approval. The crowd management plan should consider, but not be limited to:
● The revised capacity of the competition venue
● The impact of SD requirements on queuing systems and crowd flows
● Control of entry and exit:
– Extending gate opening times to spread the arrival of spectators over a longer time period and reduce queuing times. Previous analysis on demographic and arrival patterns of spectators will provide insight into potential spectator flow
– Rescheduling of competition session times to minimise the likelihood of public gatherings and overcrowding on public transport, and maximise the potential competition venue capacity
– Competition delivery partners should consider the cumulative impact of many Competition venues re-opening in a small area. This means working with Local Authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations. These could include staggering entry times with other local competition venues and businesses and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas
– Space used outside the competition venue for queuing should be available and safe. Outside queues should be managed safely to make sure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or present additional security risks
– The competition delivery partners must work with the local authority to mitigate the impact of queues on public spaces and traffic. Queueing in close proximity and adjacent to roads and vehicle thoroughfares and unsecured open spaces should be avoided wherever possible. Where this is not possible, vehicle mitigation plans should be put in place as part of the competition security planning
– Competition venues should consider providing additional entry and exit points to reduce congestion and queuing
– Consideration of implementing assigned gates and/or timed entry to reduce queues
– Consideration of technology that could minimise queuing times and facilitate contactless access upon entry and exit - this could include the use of digital ticketing
– Consideration of any spectator screening requirements (security and/or medical) on entry to the competition venue and the impact on queueing times
– The welfare of stewarding personnel overseeing entry and exit and close contact security screening processes, with consideration of staff rotation, contactless security equipment, avoiding face to face contact and PPE requirements
– Implement a controlled exit process and communicate this to spectators in advance and during the competition
● Implementing one-way, or SG02 compliant, systems wherever possible inside the competition venue to prevent congestion and allow for SD
● Ensure that spectator flow within the competition venue is integrated into the zoning and accreditation systems and minimise cross-over of spectators with other User Groups
● Risk assess the use of lifts and stairways. Reduce the maximum occupancy for lifts and provide hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts. Encourage the use of stairs wherever possible and consider restricting the use of lifts – ensure those with accessibility requirements have access to lifts
● Consider any impact on equality and accessibility standards and make alterations where required to comply with the law and best practice
● Emergency planning, including emergency exit protocols for the competition venue, should be updated to include consideration of the revised competition venue capacity and the requirement for SD wherever possible. DIstancing may be relaxed for emergency exit.
● Consider any implications of bad weather on spectator movement and put plans in place to manage spectators seeking shelter in covered areas
● Assess the stewarding requirements to support SD enforcement across all areas in the competition venue. Extra stewarding may be required at pinch points where queues will normally form, outside the competition venue and in the seating areas
● Where SD is difficult to maintain (e.g. spectator movement in and out of seating areas), spectators should be encouraged to avoid face to face contact when passing each other
● Competition delivery partners should retain the right to remove and exclude any individuals from the competition venue if they fail to comply with the terms and conditions associated with their ticket. This may include where their actions breach any health and safety protocols (COVID-19 related or otherwise).
Zone Ex and spectator journey
The competition delivery partners should develop the transport management plan for the competition to ensure integration of spectator considerations. They should also ensure, where relevant, that the SAG / local authority / public transport providers are fully engaged in its approval. Local transport authorities must be consulted before a decision on an event staging is taken. The transport management plan should consider, but not be limited to:
● The capacity of local public transport systems (service frequency and transport hub size/configuration), including a requirement to liaise with local and national transport providers to increase service frequency, where needed
● The requirement for additional car/bike parking at the competition venue
● Integration with the spectator communications plan to provide spectators with options to walk, run or cycle to the competition venue and communicate any local environmental initiatives
● Liaison with relevant Local Authorities and businesses to arrange and manage one-way travel routes, where possible, between transport hubs and the competition venue to increase spectator safety, SD implementation and minimise public gatherings outside the event footprint, such as in visiting local pubs and other businesses in line with wider public health guidance relevant to gatherings and to those sectors.
A spectator communications strategy should be developed to provide clear guidance to assist spectators to plan a safe journey to the competition venue and meet all requirements of the competition delivery partners while at the competition. Competition delivery partners should recognise that spectator confidence may need to be built over time and that a strategy should be developed to communicate the interventions that have been made by the competition Organiser to mitigate the risk of transmission to spectators. Any messaging should be communicated before arrival at the competition, for example by email when purchasing tickets, follow up emails and the competition website, app and social media channels.
The spectator communications strategy should consider, but not be limited to, the following:
● A spectator code of behaviour which obliges spectators to confirm, at the point of ticket purchase, that they will comply with the requirements in the code
● Providing spectators with a reminder to ‘opt-in’ to attendance after careful consideration of the associated risks and their own vulnerability status. Further reminders could be provided on the day of competition to ensure spectators have considered any symptoms they may have before travelling to the competition venue
● Providing spectators with information on the restrictions within seating and standing areas in the competition venue. Spectators will be seated as individuals or in group bookings, and group bookings can only be made for individuals within the same household or permitted bubble
● Guidance on face coverings (as outlined above).
● Transport options to and from the competition venue (including walking and cycling routes)
● Advising spectators to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue
● Car/bike parking facilities on arrival at the competition venue
● SD arrangements & sanctions at the competition venue
● The services that will be provided for spectators inside the competition venue and any restrictions to these
● The arrangements for seating areas within the competition venue
● The process to enter and exit the competition venue, including information on dedicated gates, timed entry by appointment, queuing protocols and controlled exit
● Any considerations or restrictions for spectators with accessibility requirements
● Reminding spectators who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow SD guidance
● Hygiene protocols
● Restrictions for individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance for individuals who have been asked to self-isolate
● Medical facilities and COVID-19 protocols within the competition venue
● Allowed and restricted items, which may differ from previous competition or competition venue protocols
● Advice on public gathering outside of the competition venue (before and after the competition)
● Any wider public health guidance in a spectator’s approach to their whole event day: e.g. in transport choices; in any other business visited such as pubs, restaurants, local shops and consumer services. Competition delivery partners should also consider if there is a requirement to engage spectators in any consultation process before RTCSRS.
As required in Stages Three and Four, the competition delivery partners should appoint a COVID-19 medical officer, who will oversee all medical planning for the competition. For Stage Five, spectator medical requirements should be added, including consideration of:
● Spectator medical operational requirements
● Ambulance provision to comply with Spectator number requirements
● COVID-19 protocols for spectators and the communication of these
● Any requirement for additional isolation rooms
● Screening for spectators before attending the competition venue – this could form part of the spectator code of contact and be reinforced by competition day spectator comms and signage at entrances to the competition venue reminding spectators to stay at home if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms
● PPE requirements
● Hygiene protocols in medical care
● Minimising burden on the NHS
There is no single approach to regulating competitions and ensuring reasonable safety in relation to COVID-19; however, it is anticipated that competition Organisers will voluntarily reflect the protocols in this guidance within the rules of their competitions and require competition venue operators to confirm their adherence to them.
Additionally, SGSA has published policy guidance on how the existing sports grounds safety regulatory framework in England and Wales will apply in the context of the new COVID-19 biosecurity protocols.
General health and safety requirements
The admission of spectators will introduce additional requirements on venue operators contained within the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 including, for example, a duty to reduce health and safety risks, including those associated with potential COVID-19 exposure, ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ for all those using the competition venue. Enforcement of health and safety law rests primarily with Local Authorities.
General safety certificates
The admission of spectators will in many cases also introduce additional requirements contained within the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 through powers conferred by the Secretary of State on Local Authorities. If a sports ground has been designated under the 1975 Act, it may be an offence to admit spectators if no safety certificate has been issued in respect of that sports ground.Local Authorities to issue a General Safety Certificate to designated sports grounds with potential capacities (that is, before any reduction to take account of SD) of more than 10,000, or more than 5,000 in the case of Premier (PL) and English Football League (EFL) grounds[footnote 1]
General Safety Certificates will contain a number of conditions that are framed around the admission of spectators, including the safe capacity of the competition venue, and existing certificates may require significant amendment. Discretion rests with the local authority to include such terms and conditions in the General Safety Certificate as necessary or expedient to ensure reasonable safety at the competition venue, which could include conditions directed at matters covered in this guidance. For competition venues subject to General Safety Certificates, competition venue operators should consult their certifying authority at the earliest opportunity..The LA must decide what amendments if any, will be required to the General Safety Certificate The Operations Manual appended to the General Safety Certificate should provide more detail on arrangements for making the competition venue COVID-19 secure and will cover other non COVID-19 risks which will need to be revised in line with the new operating plans.
Powers vested in Local Authorities also extend to the closure of competition venues under emergency conditions when matters of safety give cause for concern. Local authorities also have a power of entry to competition venues which are subject to safety certification which may need to be factored into any planning.
Specific requirements for football under the Football Spectators Act 1989 can be found in the Supplementary Guidance to the Green Guide (SG02 - Planning for Social Distancing at Sports Grounds).
The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987 extends the provisions for local authority safety certification to include covered stands with accommodation for more than 500 spectators in sports grounds not designated under the 1975 Act. These are known as ‘regulated stands’. Essentially, the 1987 Act extends the safety certification regime to include some individual stands at smaller Competition Venues, but not those Competition Venues as a whole. ↩