Sports venues across England celebrate return of fans - in pictures
Monday was the first day of UK government's third step in coronavirus recovery road map
Sports fans in England took the first steps towards a semblance of normalcy as venue across the country welcomed the public back to the stands on Monday.
Supporters were allowed to return – albeit in limited numbers – as coronavirus restrictions were eased further.
Bournemouth fans were among the first to benefit as up to 2,000 were admitted to the Vitality Stadium for their Championship play-off semi-final first leg against Brentford.
Another 4,500 supporters were at Barnsley for their play-off against Swansea later in the evening.
There were also a number of fixtures across both codes of rugby, as well as horse and greyhound race meetings, on the first day of the UK government's third step in the coronavirus recovery road map.
Under the new restrictions, larger outdoor venues can admit up to 10,000 spectators, while smaller outdoor venues will have capacities capped at 4,000 or 50 per cent, whichever is the lowest.
Fans need to follow rules regarding face-masks, online health checks and maintain social distance.
At Bournemouth, fans were greeted by a message on the scoreboard which read, 'Welcome back, we've missed you'.
Cherries players received rapturous applause from all four sides of the ground as they entered the field, while there were light-hearted jeers for the opposition followed by some mocking chants, the Press Association reported.
Horse racing welcomed back paying spectators at Redcar, Carlisle, Leicester and Windsor.
"It's grand, great, fantastic, wonderful," said North Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby while supervising his runners at Redcar.
"It's has been soulless going racing this past year, horrendous. I'm so pleased to see people back, it just feels like normal."
Rugby league had a busy programme on Monday night with five Super League matches – Hull can have 5,500 spectators, St Helens and Warrington 4,000 each, Castleford's capacity is 3,600 and Leigh are working to 2,000 - and two Championship games.
Published: May 18, 2021 08:45 AM