Covid-19 Match day Operations plan

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Covid-19 Match day Operations plan


This is an amendment to the match day operations plan at Hastings United Football Club, as recommended in the match day risk assessment (Covid 19) and by FA guidance issued 18/7/2020. This amendment is to allow spectators to view matches in all disciplines at the Pilot field and to achieve the following:

· Ensure Spectator safety

· Ensure playing staff and ground staff safety

· Ensuring food and drink outlets can operate safely

· Minimise the risk of infection

· Minimise the risk of cross infection

This document is part of the Hastings United Match day operations plan as an appendix entitled ‘COVID 19’, and is agreed by the board.

This policy will also cover operations at:

· The Pilot Bar

· HUSSC premises.

The New season has started with restriction on attendance limited to 400 spectators

The responsibilities for match day health and safety remain with the CEO, Billy Wood and Vice Chairman, Pat McCrossan.

This document has been updated following input from or consultation with the following:

· Joanne Nesbit – Events Director. -Pilot Bar (and HUSSC if brought into play).

· Chris Agutter, Andrew Brown and Dane Martin – Changing rooms, training and match operations – First team, under 23’s and youth

· Billy Wood – Boardroom Operations

· Billy Wood – Marketing

· Ben White – Academy

· Dave Russell and Patrick McCrossan – Stewarding and event safety

· Patrick McCrossan – Match day operations

· Hayley Clout – Club Shop, Mascot management and match day hospitality

· Neil Cornwall – Tea Bar and Food outlet

· Rob French – Turnstiles

· Simon Rudkins, Head Groundsman

It remains highly likely that in the early phase of ‘return to football’, that the club will be required to either

a) Play behind closed doors

b) Play with a reduced attendance to assist social distancing (most likely)

Therefore this policy must be updated as government policy changes. The Club must have a designated Covid officer (s) which will be Billy Wood, Joanne Nesbit and Patrick McCrossan. Overall accountability for Covid arrangements will be with Patrick McCrossan.

This Policy will concentrate on event management with spectators present in whatever numbers guidelines permit. Should games be played behind closed doors, then online streaming of matches and programmes will be managed by the CEO

1. Turnstile and Entry to the ground.

a) All four turnstiles will be opened and season ticket holders will be checked in separately at turnstile 1 by the gate. Lines will be painted on the tarmac outside to depict 1m and a steward will need to be posted outside to ensure this distance is maintained.

Tickets should be purchased online in advance and none shall be sold at the gate. This allows the club to maintain a contact list for Track and Trace.

In games with larger attendance the top turnstile can be opened at the discretion of the safety officer. This will separate supporters more and avoid a congregation outside the main gates. Spectators would then enter the ground by the steps adjacent to the Steve Smith Stand. Supporters will be advised of this if arrangements change and the top turnstile becomes operational

In matches where there are expected to be higher numbers of away spectators (or attendance over 600 has been approved by the government) then a ‘three entrance’ approach can be adopted with stewards marshalling spectators in by the Social Club. This decision can be taken by the Safety officer in advance of each game dependent on ticket sales. In addition to the front and top turnstile, an entry point at the HUSSC will ensure that opportunity for maximum distancing is reached. A steward will be posted here at all times when in operation

Should the reduced attendance figure allowed fall short of our usual match day average attendance, then further tickets may be sold for online streaming of the game but only once the full amount of tickets for the game are sold. Supporters unable to purchase match day tickets could be able to register interest in online viewing and then the club can decide if streaming in addition is viable.

Online viewing arrangements are a separate issue to match day management and will be managed by the CEO and board as necessary/in potential high capacity matches.

2. Ground Capacity

The ground capacity is currently registered at 4020

Current operational capacity for league games (not events) is as follows

Main Pavilion Stand, seated
Elphinstone Road Covered Terrace
Cole Warren Covered Terrace

This would then become much reduced for social distancing.

· The Pavilion stand will close alternate rows of seating and then close every other seat in the row to allow spacing. The seats that remain for spectators will be marked to avoid confusion. To allow social distancing of 1 metre, the capacity of the stand will be reduced to 186

· The capacity of the directors box will reduce to 12

· The Cole Warren Stand would reduce from 130 to 40

· The Elphinstone road stand – on the same principle of using alternative steps and spacing would reduce to approximately 60

· Standing in the Pilot Bar balcony will not be permitted as this is a clear congestion point – therefore 0

· Standing around the pitch perimeter would reduce by two thirds to allow for two meters distancing. This would be reduced to 102 to allow for extra space.

This would allow a maximum capacity of 400 (approx.) for all games as per current guidelines.

Extra security will be employed to ensure the one way bar system is followed and that queues in the ground are orderly and spaced

3. Movement around the ground

It is again not possible to dictate how supporters move around the ground, however – measures are in place to reduce ‘bunching’ and avoid high areas of footfall. Queue management is key and as such the following is recommended.

· Should capacity be increased above the current 400, then extra toilets (2) will be placed at the Cole Warren End of the ground by the grounds mans shed and by the Elphinstone road end. This will reduce queues at the front of the ground at half time

· Portable crowd barriers will be used to form a queue for the club shop and food bar, starting from the boardroom entrance direction

· The club shop will now be located in a contained unit with serving hatch adjacent to the food bar.. Crowd barriers will be placed to ensure any queues are separate

· The Pilot bar will restrict the number of people inside at once to 30 at tables of six persons maximum. Patrons will have table service and do not need to wear a mask whilst at their table. However, masks must be worn by all patrons whilst in the lower bar and not at their table. (With the bar balcony closed, there is room for a queue that starts at the Ramp entrance and departs by the Steve Smith stand steps, so that a ‘one way’ system is adopted for the purpose of allowing spectators to buy drinks and take them outside..

· Once in the Pilot Bar, there is a one way walkthrough to order drinks

· Spectators can also enter the lower bar by the steps to purchase drinks, but entry will be monitored so that capacity is not exceeded.

4. Toilets

As stated previously, if capacity above 400 is allowed, extra toilets are placed at the Cole Warren End of the ground by the grounds mans shed and at the steps end of the Elphinstone Road end. This will reduce queues at the front of the ground at half time

All toilets must have hand soap dispensers and hand gel and the entrance monitored to avoid overcrowding.

5. PA and Communications

There will be a maximum of two in the PA box. One on PA and one at the door end doing twitter. Likewise the match day control room can house two people maximum. One of these must be the safety officer/match day commander. The PA is a requirement of our safety certificate whether behind closed doors or not, so must be functional.

6. Pilot Bar

This will need to restrict the amount of people allowed in at one time to thirty patrons in tables of six maximum.

Access to the upper bar will be by a queue from the ramp entrance and into a one way system in the bar. Patrons will then exit via the Steve Smith end. Patrons purchasing drinks for takeout must wear masks when inside the bar area.

Seating in the lower bar will be reduced to ensure that the maximum of 30 people can be reached either seated or standing.

Both bars will be monitored by security

The pool table will be removed to avoid cross infection between patrons, balls and cues.
Plastic disposable glasses will be used at all times.
Spectators not entering the Pilot Bar but wishing to purchase a drink will be served from the upper bar via a one way queuing system that starts on the ramp and exits via the Steve Smith Stand end.. This not only ensures safe serving, but allows a one way queue to be established. This would also mean that the ramp could be used for those disabled patrons that are unable to use the stairs.
The Fire Exit at the function room end of the bar will be closed.
Payments will only be accepted by card. No cash will be accepted.
Certain drinks can be ‘pre poured prior to the half time whistle to avoid queuing.
Disabled toilet access to the Pilot bar will be via the one way system on the ramp
The Pilot bar will close at 5.30pm (3pm kick offs) but drinks will continue to be served to a tabled area in front of the balcony via the one way system.
Player’s food will be served in the boardroom for the home team and served directly from the catering outlet to the away team who can either sit outside and eat, take the meal back to their changing room, or onto their coach.

7. Food outlets

To manage queues, there will be barriers shepherding the queue from the director’s car park area approaching the hatchway. This will stop a clash with any toilet and bar queues.

In addition, the following measures apply:

· The menu will be reduced to quick cook items. Beef/Cheese Burger, sausage and chips only.

· Chips can be served from the lower tea bar by the tunnel.

· For games above 500 capacity, a franchise can be brought in (if deemed necessary) by the club. This will operate on a commission basis.

8. Changing rooms and tunnel area

The safety of our players and match officials as well as visiting teams is paramount.

The following measures will be taken on match day.

· The secretary’s office be used for extra changing space

· The board room toilet to be used as extra match day official changing area

· The teams must come out of the tunnel one at a time to avoid bunching.

· The technical areas be increased to allow space on the touchline and extra seating for substitutes. Only three people allowed on bench – others can sit in the stand or place seating on the cinder track near the dugout

· Players be allowed to attend in their kit rather than change at the ground pre match

· Player’s food only be served in the board room for the home team and dispensed from the tea bar to the away team as previously stated.

In addition, the FA guidelines state the following to apply

Every player and staff member should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend;
Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session; Hand sanitisers will be placed in all changing rooms, tunnel and dug out areas.
Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play; Disinfectant to be supplied and kept at the dugout area and a multi ball system apply during the game.
Goal celebrations should be avoided;
Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in matches and thoroughly afterwards.
Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities will be minimal with social distancing and a maximum of three players permitted in the shower at any one time.
Players should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together to a game in a vehicle
Clubs should keep a record of staff and players at a match, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace; ( This is achieved by our all ticket booking system)

9. Club shop

This will operate from a mobile unit in the directors parking area adjacent to the food bar.. Other considerations for supporters to use:

· Use a click and collect service from the Online shop where supporters can purchase and pick up from the shop on the day

· Use of the online shop where items can be posted in advance

10. Programme selling and 50/50

· To avoid congestion, programmes will be sold online prior to the game and remaining match day programmes kept to a minimum for sale on the day. These should be from the club shop. It is hoped to start this facility by 30th October 2020

· Online tickets can be sold in two options and prices– admission, or admission with a programme. The turnstile operators in each area could then give programmes out on admission

· The 50/50 tickets are sold from the newly placed Kiosk at the front of the ground. This allows the sellers protection via a window.

11. Board Room

· This will not be functional on match day and there will be no hospitality to away directors until further notice.

12. Mascots

· Only one mascot and two parents will be permitted during special measures.

· Mascots should not be placed in the tunnel until the final minute before the players come out and must walk ahead of the team. They cannot hold the players hands.

· Mascots cannot hold the players hand

· Post-match drinks should be considered in the Pilot bar

Pat McCrossan

Vice Chairman

Director – Health and Safety