'Keep your Covid sense' warning to England fans meeting for Euro 2020 match - including in Preston city centre
Central Lancashire’s contingent of expectant England fans is being urged not to forget basic Covid precautions during this weekend’s football furore.
People meeting up to watch the Euro 2020 quarter final match against Ukraine are being advised to take a free lateral flow test beforehand – while anybody heading to the Fan Zone on Preston’s Flag Market is reminded that proof of a negative test is a requirement of entry to the ticket-only event.
Rapid-result lateral flow tests are available to collect from pharmacies across the county and can also be carried out under supervision at specialist sites, including one in the Fishergate Shopping Centre. A full list is available by searching online for “lateral flow tests, Lancashire”.
While a negative result is not a guarantee that someone is Covid-free, it is hoped that the tests will help identify infections in people without symptoms who may be gathering as football fever grips the nation.
Anybody who is displaying symptoms should book a PCR test and, crucially, should only leave home to take the test – not to watch the match with fellow fans.
England supporters are also being urged by public health officials in Lancashire to limit any close-quarter celebrations to those within their own household.
Current Covid restrictions mean people must not meet indoors in groups of more than six people or two individual households.
Gatherings of more than 30 are not permitted outdoors, except at organised events such as the Fan Zone which are permitted to run at 50 percent of capacity. The event – which sold out in minutes on Wednesday – will once again be a table-seated affair.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, said rising Covid case rates in many parts of Lancashire meant it was important for people not to take their “eye off the ball”.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves during the Euros, especially when England are winning – because it gives the whole nation a lift at a time when we desperately need one.
“But please make sure you use your Covid sense by getting tested before you socialise with friends, by wearing your face mask when you’re moving around in a pub, sanitising your hands regularly and by keeping your distance from people outside your household.
“The last thing we would want is to make the current situation worse. Throughout the pandemic, we have shown what we can achieve by working as a team – so please continue to play your part to keep Lancashire safe,” Dr. Karunanithi added.
Preston Fan Zone ticket holders will have to produce their negative test result either as a printed document or in an email or text message on their phone – so they are being reminded to ensure that their device is charged.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing Michael Green said that the country – and the county – is “still buzzing” after Tuesday’s second round victory over Germany.
“Lots of you are already making plans for Saturday and it is so important that you include getting tested as part of those plans and remember to keep a safe distance from people outside your household.
“That way you can go and meet up with friends, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done your bit to make it as safe as possible.
“If you are unlucky enough to test positive, then please do the right thing and show your support by staying at home and isolating. Let’s not score an own goal at this stage.
“I’ll be tuning in again on Saturday to cheer on England in their attempt to bring football home – and I hope we will all enjoy the match,” County Cllr Green said.