Preston's Euro 2020 Fan Zone still on after new Covid guidance

Plans for Preston’s Flag Market to play host to hundreds of football fans who want to watch England’s opening Euro 2020 matches on a giant screen will be unaffected by Lancashire being declared a Covid “enhanced response area” this week.

By Paul Faulkner
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 9:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 10:02 pm

As part of the new status conferred on the county by the government, guidance was issued advising people to “minimise travel in and out of affected areas”.

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Organisers Preston BID say that most tickets for the event have been sold locally, but some people will be travelling from Blackpool – which is not part of the newly-classified enhanced area – as well as elsewhere in the North West, Yorkshire and even as far afield Brighton.

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Organisers of the Euro 2020 Fan Zone on Preston's Flag Market are supporting a call from Lancashire's public health boss for people to get a Covid test before they come

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands that the advice on limiting travel “in and out” treats the Lancashire County Council area as a whole, rather than the individual district council areas within it.

Under the new guidance, residents are also asked to exercise “particular caution” when meeting people from outside of their household or support bubble.

The first two group games against Croatia and Scotland on 13th and 18th June will be socially distanced affairs at which the more than 500 fans attending will be seated at tables, where they will be served with any drinks. At that point, some national Covid restrictions will remain in force – although on the current timetable, all legal restrictions could be lifted on 21st June, allowing standing at the pop-up venue for the final Group D game against the Czech Republic 24 hours later.

As the LDRS revealed last week, Lancashire’s director of public health Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi urged those attending the Fan Zone to take a rapid-result Covid test before they arrive in order to reduce the risk of it becoming a “super-spreader event”. He also warned anybody with symptoms to stay at home.

It is understood that the event organisers met with Dr. Karunanithi and Preston City Council officials following the announcement of the new enhanced area status on Tuesday – but no changes are planned as a result of the new guidance.

Preston BID manager Mark Whittle said: “On their advice, we will remind people that taking regular lateral flow tests is a good way to help stop the spread.”

Free lateral flow tests can be obtained at various sites across Lancashire, including a range of pharmacies and, in Preston, at the Guild Hall. Details can be found online by searching “lateral flow tests” or calling 119.

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