With 19 July 2021 marking a change in restrictions with regard to the Coronavirus, chief executive Nigel Clibbens gave us an update on what this means to the club.
“We’re delighted the Government has removed all capacity and social distancing restrictions at sports venues ahead of the start of the coming season,” he said. “I’m sure fans, like us, are now counting down the days until they can ‘Come Home’ and take up their usual place here with us at Brunton Park.
“As we said yesterday, our season ticket sales are encouraging and anticipation is building.
“We are now working hard behind the scenes as we make plans to welcome supporters back safely – starting with our friendlies and then the ‘You’re Coming Home’ celebration game against Colchester on 7 August.
“Please tell your family, tell you friends, get them all to join us as we start the new season.
“While many key Covid restrictions will end, the whole Test & Trace system, and the requirement to self-isolate if you are positive or a close contact, will not change until later in the year, so this is not a wholesale lifting of all covid-restrictions.
“The pandemic is not over and we are now entering a new phase with new challenges.”
“Cumbria’s Director of Public Health is urging caution,” he continued. “The infection is spreading at an extremely fast rate at the moment, particularly in younger age groups.
“The number of new cases is highest in the 19 to 29 age group, accounting for 38% of all cases. The number of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is also increasing, with 4,000 hospitalised and 550 in intensive care in England at present.
“That means, sadly, death rates are rising too. For the third week in a row Carlisle had the greatest number of new cases (+558 new cases) over the course of last week in Cumbria.
“The increasing numbers of infections is starting to have big impacts on employers, including health and emergency services, as those infected can’t work, and those required to then self-isolate as contacts can’t work either.
“This issue is growing with real-world consequences, so it still makes absolute sense to try to avoid getting infected or spreading the virus.
“We have seen this impact ourselves in recent weeks with players, staff and academy personnel affected and needing to self-isolate, even since the return to training. That is disruptive and remains a big concern.
“We have to protect our staff and players from catching the virus and the impact of having to self-isolate. We have all seen the impact on the team if this happens.
“We will remain vigilant in our preparations and continue to work together with relevant authorities to ensure we are ready for any bumps that come along.
“Despite many millions of people being vaccinated, there are still many millions in the population who have not received either one or both jabs. Recent local council information identified around 55,000 people without the protection offered by the vaccine.
"They remain at much higher risk of serious illness from Covid, even if they are young. This inevitably includes some of our staff, players and fans.
“Even with the vaccination there will be those in our communities, and fans of the club, who come to our games and who will remain at risk from Covid.
“Football is at the heart of the community, fans of this club are a group united together in support of the team, and we are all also part of a ‘wider football family’, and part of that local community we speak about so often too.
“We recognise the role we play and we want to do the right thing by that community. We all have a collective and personal responsibility to fellow fans and citizens to reduce the spread, and to be continually cautious.
“We ask all fans when coming to games, visiting the club, or going about their daily live to remember that many people remain vulnerable, and by doing the simple things – Hands, Face, Space - masks, hand washing, distance, fresh air - we can all help to protect everyone.”
In part two, on the official website on Wednesday afternoon, we will detail the specific arrangements we will have in place.