Scotland to allow fans in stadia again


Scottish fans will return to stadiums Image: Celtic FC

Restrictions on large outdoor events in Scotland, including football matches and concerts, are to be lifted from January 17th, 2022.

The ‘BBC News’ stated that the move will allow fans to return to stadiums when the Scottish Premiership’s winter break ends.

It will also avoid Scotland’s Six Nations rugby matches having to be played behind closed doors at the 67,144-capacity Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland, next month.

The Scottish Premiership, known as the cinch Premiership for sponsorship reasons, is the top division of the Scottish Professional Football League, the league competition for men’s professional football clubs in Scotland.

A limit of 500 people at outdoor events has been in place since Boxing Day (December 26th marks Boxing Day – a national holiday in the United Kingdom. It’s usually a day for relaxing, spending time with family and eating Christmas leftovers, although some people do choose to hit the shops for the sales).

The ‘BBC News’ further stated that Premiership football teams started their winter break early after the crowd limit was imposed, with many fans believing the sport was unfairly singled out by the restrictions.

Large Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) events, including the famous street party in Edinburgh, were also canceled.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that the limit of 500 people would be removed from January 17th – which will allow the Scottish Premiership team Celtic Football Club’s match with its peer team Hibernian Football Club on that day to be played before a full crowd at the Celtic Park.

The Celtic Park is the home stadium of the Celtic Football Club in the Parkhead area of Glasgow, Scotland. With a capacity of 60,411, it is the largest football stadium in Scotland, and the eighth-largest stadium in the United Kingdom. It is also known as Parkhead or Paradise.

Event organizers will now have to check the vaccine certification of at least 50 percent of attendees, rather than the current 20 percent, or at least 1,000 people – whichever figure is higher.

From January 17th, the definition of “fully vaccinated” for the purpose of vaccine passports will include having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.

And the Government will also continue to consider whether the vaccine passport scheme should be extended to more venues.

Restrictions on indoor events and venues will remain in place until at least January 24th, when Sturgeon said she hoped to be able to lift them too.

The Scottish Licensed Traders Association said the industry had been left in limbo by the First Minister’s statement, and warned that any extension of the vaccine passport scheme would have a “major negative impact” on businesses.

People will also still be required to wear face coverings in indoor public places, to work from home when possible, and to only meet indoors in groups of up to three households.

The measures were imposed by the Scottish Government in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, with the First Minister saying there were now signs that the country was “starting to turn the corner” after a huge spike in cases.

Limits of 100 people were placed on indoor standing events or 200 if they were seated, while nightclubs had to close and pubs and restaurants had to bring back table service for alcohol and a one-meter distance between different groups of people.

But the latest Scottish Government COVID report showed that average daily cases in Scotland (2,824 per one million population in the week to January 6th) were higher than in England (2,615 per one million), which has fewer COVID restrictions.

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