Spectators’ return outlined in NI Executive’s lockdown exit plan

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The NI Executive have confirmed spectators will not be permitted to attend sporting events, both indoor and outdoor, until phase four of the lockdown exit plan.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill outlined the Pathway to Recovery plan to the Stormont Assembly yesterday after ministers had signed off on the strategy earlier in the day.

It focuses on nine key areas – retail, hospitality, education and young people, work, culture, heritage and entertainment, sports and leisure, travel and tourism, worship and ceremonies, home and community.

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Each will emerge from lockdown in stages. The stages are lockdown, cautious first steps, gradual easing, further easing, and preparing for the future.

Fans will be able to return in phase fourFans will be able to return in phase four
Fans will be able to return in phase four

The Executive says progression through the steps will be driven by data and not dates.

The return of fans to sporting events is scheduled for phase four with numbers in attendance limited until the final phase of the lockdown strategy.

Last week NI Football League chairman, Gerard Lawlor, said he hoped spectators would return to grounds around Easter.

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“Would there be a hope that we could get fans back around Easter, I would sincerely hope so, that we can see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

However, outdoor sports facilities will re-open for training and organised group activities in step two, including golf courses and tennis courts with gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools opening again in phase three.



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