Harrogate Town back to full capacity with season ticket sales soaring as Boris announces end of social distancing
Harrogate Town football club has hailed a double boost today - a return to full capacity at their stadium and a surge in demand for season tickets from supporters.
The club's managing director Garry Plant said "the match day thrill will be back" after hearing news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was sticking to his intention to scrap England’s Covid laws from July 19 with the laws on face masks and social distancing among the rules set to go.
Welcoming the return of full capacity crowds to the expanded EnviroVent Stadium which can now hold 5,000 fans, Mr Plant said: "The indication from the Government that we are on track for the relaxation of the Covid restrictions on 19 July is the news everyone has been waiting for.
"It’s hard to grasp that the ground will be filled with supporters and it’s the tonic the players and everyone at the club needed in preparation for the new season."
In more good news for Harrogate Town who enjoyed an impressive first season after winning promotion to the English Football League, Mr Plant said season ticket sales for matches at their Wetherby Road ground next season were already very healthy.
Mr Plant said: "Season ticket sales have been very encouraging as we break the 500 mark with enquiries rolling in each day.
"Today’s news can only boost supporter’s confidence and we are thrilled to be welcoming back Town supporters for the club’s second EFL season.
"It's great the match day thrill back for everyone."
Although restrictions in England are now set to be swept away on July 19, the Government is still advising everyone to be cautious as virus figures continue to rise.
Described by some as a gamble, last night's announcement saw the Prime Minister say it was now or never for grasping a return to normality.
Mr Johnson said he intended to allow all businesses – including nightclubs – to reopen and scrap limits on social gatherings and attendance at cultural and sporting events in two weeks’ time.
And he announced the end of hard and fast rules and the the end of the necessity for:
The rule of six
Indoor capacity limits
The requirement to work from home
Boris Johnson told the nation last night the final announcement on easing lockdown in England would be taken on July 12, before going on to set out the details of what the Government intended to do from the end of lockdown date on July 19.
He stressed that the pandemic was "far from over and won't be over by 19 July".
His overall message was that people must "learn to live with this virus" and "exercise judgement" for themselves.
Boris Johnson said he would be easing restrictions solely because of the success of the vaccine rollout and, he added, the original June 21 date for the final phase of the lockdown roadmap has been paused so that by July 19 the UK will have offered every adult a first dose with two-thirds having received both doses.
The Prime Minister added that, if a new variant emerged which current vaccines could not combat as effectively then the Government would "take whatever steps we need to do to protect the public."
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick had already flagged up on Sunday that England would, in fact, be moving to a period without legal restrictions with an emphasis on "personal responsibility", including on whether to wear face masks or not.
As yet, there has been no firm decision from the Government on remaining lockdown issues including self isolation, the rules in schools, or travel restrictions.
But more announcements are expected this week.
The Prime Minister was accused of being “reckless” by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as virus figures threatened to create a third wave of infections.
Some Labour mayors and trade unions said the rule changes were "hasty" and called for face masks to remain mandatory on public transport.
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