Fully vaccinated fans to watch second Proteas TestThursday, June 17, 2021
GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC) — Fans in the region will return to cricket for the first time since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, when 400 full vaccinated spectators are allowed for each day of the second Test against South Africa starting at the Daren Sammy National Stadium here Friday.
The move is part of a pilot project initiated by the St Lucia government, in collaboration with Cricket West Indies and the St Lucia Cricket Association, and marks a major milestone for the sport which has been played behind closed doors over the last year-and-a-half, in keeping with the bio-secure bubbles created for each series.
Fans attending, however, must be over 18 years old and must have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on or before June 4. While admission will be free, persons will need to present valid proof of vaccination along with photo identification before receiving their ticket for entry.
“The Government of St Lucia has initiated this pilot project which will allow for the safe return of fans to watch international cricket for the first time in the West Indies since the start of the pandemic,” said CWI chief executive, Johnny Grave.
“We are happy to support the initiative by welcoming supporters into the stands for free to see their favourite West Indies team in action.
“A lot of detailed planning has gone into making this a reality and we thank the Government of St Lucia, the health officials, as well as the SLNCA who, together with CWI have worked tirelessly to ensure we can accommodate those fans fortunate enough to benefit from this opportunity.”
Only the Johnson Charles Stand will be utilised, with fans mandated to remain masked and socially distanced at all times throughout the day.
Vendors will not be allowed in the venue and therefore fans will be allowed to bring their food and non-alcoholic drinks. Fans who leave will not be allowed re-entry.
Sri Lanka's tour of the Caribbean earlier this year was the first international series hosted since the pandemic emerged in the region last year March, but was played without fans as part of the now familiar bio-secure arrangements.
The first Test last weekend was also played without fans.
As of Thursday, St Lucia had recorded 5,188 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began, but currently has only 74 active cases. The country has recorded 80 deaths.
Nearly 21,000 people have been fully vaccinated while nearly 30,000 have received the first dose of the vaccine.
Globally, fans have been slowly returning to the game as cricket authorities have coordinated with respective governments in various trials.
Earlier this month, the two-Test series between England and New Zealand saw up to 7,500 fans per day for the Lord's first Test and as many as 18 000 for the two opening days of the second Test at Edgbaston.
West Indies toured England for three Tests last July in the first series following the global cessation of cricket due to the pandemic, but all three matches were played behind closed doors.
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