Glasgow's Euro 2020 fan zone to open as planned after talks

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Glasgow greenImage source, PA Media

Glasgow's Euro 2020 fan zone is to open as planned on Friday without Covid temperature checks or mass testing.

Despite criticism, it is understood no changes are being made to the management of the Glasgow Green site.

The decision follows talks between Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, clinical advisers and Glasgow City Council.

Up to 3,000 fans will be allowed at any one time, social-distancing will be enforced and alcohol can only be purchased via table service.

Following the meeting, Mr Yousaf said every ticket holder would be asked - but not obliged - to use lateral flow testing kit and detailed the measures implemented to keep the event safe.

Review team

He said: "Planning has been meticulous to minimise the risks of transmission. The venue is outdoors with capacity for more than 25 times the number of tickets for each session, allowing for ample physical distancing.

"In addition, there are comprehensive stewarding, cleaning and contact tracing provisions in place and everyone attending will also be asked to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid lateral flow testing."

The cabinet secretary said that the situation would be monitored continually during the tournament and revealed he had set up a review team - made up of the government, city council and local public health staff - to provide continuous advice on the ability of the fan zone to operate safely.

He added that they had also discussed what further possible mitigations could be put in place without "inadvertently causing public health harm".

Health experts and hospitality leaders are among those who expressed concern about plans to let thousands of people watch matches on large screens.

But Mr Yousaf has on several occasions described both the fan zone and the games at Hampden as "low risk" events.

The tournament kicks off on Friday, with Glasgow one of 11 host cities.

Opposition MSPs have been pushing for those attending the fan zone to be subject to further Covid measures such as mass testing or temperature checks.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The fan zone is being set up on Glasgow Green

About 12,000 supporters will also gather in Hampden Park for four matches this month, taking the national stadium to 25% capacity.

Wembley Stadium in London is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result for entry to the Euros matches it is hosting.

On Tuesday Mr Yousaf was questioned in Holyrood over the controversial plans for the fan zone and he told MSPs it which would be monitored on an ongoing basis.

He added members of the public are encouraged to take a lateral flow test before going to the area, however it is not mandatory - as it was in England for the FA Cup final - due to issues around equality.

It comes amid an outcry about an inconsistency in approach from some sectors in level two areas still facing restrictions - including soft play centres, hospitality, the cruise industry and school sports days.