AFTER a year of sacrifices, we all need a bit of festive cheer.
So it’s great to see the return of some of the things we love in the lead-up to Christmas.
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If we work together football clubs across the country will have fans back in stadiums this season[/caption]
National measures are thankfully coming to an end.
We committed to bring grassroots sport back as soon as possible – and from 2 December, kids will be grabbing their boot bags, and brave lido lovers digging out their swim hats after a month-long break.
People can get back in the gym, and in large parts of the country, sports fans will finally start hearing the satisfying click of the turnstiles.
We are making real progress, and it’s all thanks to your hard work. But we need one big winter push to carry us safely into the spring.
We are going back into regional tiers to control the virus and deliver some normality at Christmas.
To safeguard the gains we have made, we will move back into a regional, tiered approach from Wednesday.
Where coronavirus cases are still high, we need to apply the toughest measures to stop the spread, protect the NHS and save the lives of our loved ones.
I recognise how difficult this must be, particularly for those areas that have been under restrictions for so long, but we can’t undo the progress we have made.
We all want to see the back of these measures, and the government is doing everything it can to help these areas step down the tiers.
We’ll be reviewing the tiers every fortnight, and ploughing in extra help and community testing to Tier 3 areas.
If everyone plays their part, we’ll be able reduce transmission in these areas and move them down into a lower tier.
Look at Liverpool. People there have made a monumental effort to get cases down with support and community testing.
‘SADLY IT’S NOT OVER YET’
As a result, this week they’ll be moving into Tier 2. Fans will be able to get back into Anfield and Goodison Park.
I’d much rather get every fan back in – if only it was safe to do so. But in talking to sports bodies and leagues over recent weeks, we agreed that getting some fans in is better than nothing. It’s a welcome start.
It shows the doubters it can be done safely with careful planning by clubs, clear guidance from authorities and the cooperation of fans.
I’m confident that if we work together, clubs across the country will have fans back this season.
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In the months ahead, with the hope of a vaccine being rolled out, coupled with community testing, we’ll have a clear route to follow to get larger numbers together next spring.
We still have work to do, and sadly it’s not over yet.
But we’re making real progress towards normal life again. I for one am counting down the days.
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