A group of community engagement officers will greet Swindon Town fans as they return today to the County Ground for their first home match since March.
The staff from the Council’s Live Well Hub will be on hand to remind people of the steps they need to take to keep coronavirus at bay, offer guidance around social distancing and hand out face masks to supporters before kick-off today (12 Dec).
The match against Fleetwood Town will be the first time Swindon fans have been allowed in to watch their heroes at their home ground since the match against Forest Green Rovers on 7 March. However, due to the Borough being a Tier 2 area, only 2,000 supporters will be in attendance.
The Council’s Licensing team, responsible for safety at sports grounds, has been working closely with the club’s staff to ensure that all the relevant procedures are in place to host the game.
Council staff have carried out a number of visits to the County Ground and been in regular contact with club officials throughout the pandemic to help the football club prepare its operational plan to enable spectators to safely return to the stadium.
Measures include one-way systems within the ground, staggered entry and managed seating arrangements to maintain social distancing. There will be additional toilet facilities and refreshments located outside the ground to minimise any use of concourses.
The Council has made it a priority over the last few months to ensure the legal safety certificate is finalised to enable fans to return.
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Town fans have waited a long time to watch their team at the County Ground and the match against Fleetwood will be a welcome relief for the 2,000 supporters who were lucky enough to get tickets.
“I hope they get to celebrate plenty of goals to lift us up the table and, if there are, I am sure the fans will be well behaved and adhere to the EFL’s guidance by remaining within their bubbles in the stand.
“We are delighted an agreed comprehensive Spectator Code of Conduct has been communicated to fans in advance of Saturday to ensure fans are fully aware of what is expected on the day. It is important that everyone who attends the game has a safe and enjoyable time and that means following the protocols and procedures that are in place to protect us all from COVID-19.
“Our Licensing team has worked closely with the football club to make sure everything is in place to enable the game to go ahead and our community engagement officers will be on hand to offer advice and guidance to those going to the match. It’s up to all of us to continue to play our part to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
Spectators attending Saturday’s game are reminded that there will be no parking at the County Ground car park for the match. Fans can park at St Joseph’s Catholic College in Ocotal Way for a charge of £5 per car on a first come, first served basis. The postcode for the parking is SN3 3LR.