Lancashire Cricket and Emirates Old Trafford have today reacted with excitement to yesterday’s news that attendance at sporting events and large-scale events will resume this summer.
During Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation yesterday afternoon, he announced that sporting events will be able to reopen with crowds of 25% capacity on Monday May 17 and large-scale events and performances will be able to go ahead with full capacity from Monday 21 June, subject to government data proving that four key tests are being passed.
The latest roadmap will have a significant impact for Lancashire Cricket, Emirates Old Trafford and on all the Club’s Members and supporters, clients, commercial partners and guests.
The proposed timeline would mean that supporters will be welcomed back to Emirates Old Trafford for the first time for Lancashire’s County Championship Roses clash against Yorkshire, starting on Thursday 27 May.
It would also mean that the Vitality Blast Roses Match at Emirates Old Trafford on Saturday 17 July is hoped to be played in front of a full house. Tickets for this iconic fixture went on general sale yesterday and are in high demand following significant roll-over from last year. Click here to secure your seat. As it stands, a restriction of 25% of total capacity will be in place for a number of Lancashire Lightning’s earlier home Vitality Blast fixtures.
Commenting on the latest government announcement, Lancashire Cricket CEO, Daniel Gidney, said: “It’s the moment that the whole nation has been waiting for – finally there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we are extremely excited that life can return to normal and live events will be back at Emirates Old Trafford. Yesterday’s announcement was fantastic news for cricket fans who will now be able to experience the thrill of watching some of the best cricketers on the planet play at our brilliant venue later this year.
“Whilst we work to the government’s key dates of Monday 17 May and Monday 21 June, we hope to be able to host Members at Emirates Old Trafford sooner as part of a government pilot programme to provide the data required to confirm the phased reintroduction of fans from 17 May. Our experience of successfully hosting behind-closed-door Test Matches last summer, allied to 17 acres we have on site, allows us to safely run large scale volume testing in April and we are hopeful that we can support the government with pilots.
“We believe that most of our Members will have had a vaccine then which can only help. In addition to this we are looking at developing an outdoor café bar to enable visitors to safely attend Emirates Old Trafford when large non-essential retail, zoos, theme parks and large pub gardens re-open on 12 April.
“It’s also a critical day for Emirates Old Trafford’s events business and we look forward to welcoming guests back for conferences, meetings and events from 17 May. We have a considerable number of events already scheduled for the second half of the year and we are delighted that our partners now have certainty these events will take place. We are working closely with the Meetings Industry Association (mia) to support their advanced plans for pilots in this space as well. The announcement will also offer confidence to clients and event bookers who have been waiting for the greenlight from the government before committing to their plans. We expect the 2021 Christmas party season to be extremely busy with businesses desperate to finally be able to bring large numbers of people together.
“We are delighted to have the return of live sport and events confirmed by the government. We’ve been ready to welcome guests back to Emirates Old Trafford since hosting 21 days of International cricket behind-closed-doors in a bio-secure bubble. The learning from this experience has been immense and we’ve looked to share this knowledge with the wider industry and our partners at every opportunity. We’re thrilled that we can now put our collective experience back in to practice ensuring we keep all future visitors to Emirates Old Trafford safe and secure at all times.