Following the announcement that fans in tiers one and two would be able to return to stadiums in limited numbers from December 3rd we were very disappointed to find that N E Lincolnshire has been placed in Tier 3. Hopefully the numbers will keep falling and by the time of the next review we will be placed into Tier 2 which will mean that we will be able to allow fans in for the Scunthorpe game, although this will dependent on approval by the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG). Also it is important to point out that the first game back could be designated as a pilot event by SAG which could mean a capacity of 1,000. If this is the case the club will first of all ask if there are any season ticket holders unable to attend and then if the remaining number is above 1,000 (there are approx 1300 ST holders) a ballot will take place. We are hoping this will not be the case and as a minimum the first event can accommodate all ST holders. The meeting of the SAG, which includes fan representation through the SLO, is taking place on December 9th and so we will have a clear picture after that. The review of tiers by the government is taking place on December 16th and the Scunthorpe game is on the 19th and so time is very tight which is why we are working with the club assuming that we will be put into tier two. if not we will be ready for the next review 14 days later.

In the meantime for the behind closed door games, because we are in national lockdown and then Tier 3, we are no longer allowed to offer the chance for ST holders to be ball retrievers. This is a real shame as we know those lucky enough to have done it really enjoyed it, even when we lost.

When we are allowed supporters back into Blundell Park it will be a very different experience compared to pre-COVID times but still much better than watching from home. Here is an insight in what you can expect:

  • Anyone with COVID symptoms, those who are self isolating due to contact with others with symptoms or those living in a higher tier region should NOT travel to the ground.
  • You will be asked to arrive at the ground no later than 30minutes before kick off. Entry procedure will take longer than usual due to checks and social distancing requirements.
  • Outside the ground there will be a clearly marked queuing system in place marshalled by stewards.
  • When entering the stadium you will be required to wear a mask and your temperature will be taken. Anyone with a reading of 37.8C or above will not be allowed to enter.
  • A QR code for NHS app will be available at all points of entry and supporters will be encouraged to register their attendance. Hand gel dispensers will be at all entrances and around the ground for support use.
  •  Your card/ticket will be scanned at point of entry (cards will be issued shortly) and you will then go directly to your seat. There will be clear markings around the ground to show flow of supporter movement. Entrances and concourses with two way flow will be marked with green arrows whilst concourses and aisles that are not wide enough for two way flow will be marked with red arrows. Where it is necessary for two way flow but only one way is possible stewards will be deployed to manage the flow.
  • Initially, kiosks and bars in the ground will NOT be open. This is due to capacity of the concourses and the need to minimise the movement of supporters. This will be subject to ongoing review.
  •  It will be compulsory to wear your mask when moving around the ground. The policy whilst sat in your seat is not yet fully decided. EFL strongly recommend that they are worn at all times unless eating or drinking.
  • You must sit in your designated seat. The seating plan has been arranged so that supporters are two seats away from the next supporter bubble, it is vital that the integrity of this is maintained.
  • Unless going to the toilet supporters should remain in their seats at all times. This especially applies when celebrating a goal or reacting to a an incident such as a penalty when there is often a to rush to front to greet a player or get a better view.
  • After the final whistle supporters will be asked to remain in their seats until directed to leave by the stewards. This will be done by block and is not anticipated to take very long but is necessary so that social distancing can be maintained.

This is an overview of the main points. There will be a much more comprehensive guide available on the club’s website following the SAG and each supporter attending will be given a copy of the  Supporter COVID Policy (EFL call it Code of Conduct) and a stadium flow map.

If at some point our region moves down to Tier 1 you will have seen that the maximum capacity allowed will then move up to a maximum of 4,000 but this figure will NOT apply to us. The social distancing restrictions at Blundell Park will mean our capacity will be 2575 made up as follows:

McMenemy’s/Platinum/Boxes 101
Pontoon 522
Main 577
Young’s Upper 583
Young.s Lower 239
Osmond 573

As you can see attending a game will be very different experience until restrictions are lifted further. Even if we do not like or agree with some of these policies it is important that as fans we demonstrate we can stick to the rules and prove that football is a very safe event to attend. Hopefully this will then lead to further easing of restrictions.

In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at enquiries@marinerstrust.co.uk. If we don’t know the answer we will find it out for you.

UTMM