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Up to 400 spectators at GAA games after change in ruling opens the doors for sporting fans

Spectators permitted at venues where 'access and social distancing' can be controlled

CORONAVIRUS: Change in ruling opens the doors for sporting fans

Sporting grounds could all be open to spectators this weekend

Up to 400 people, at certain GAA grounds, will be permitted at games from Friday, Ulster GAA have outlined.

It follows sn announcement from by the Stormont Executive on Thursday afternoon.

The decision is among changes to Covid-19 rules and restrictions allowing swimming pools, spas and community centres in Northern Ireland to open their doors from Friday.

It comes in perfect time for local GAA fans, as Derry club championships are set to commence this weekend, with four games in the senior hurling championship.

"Spectators at outdoor sporting events where access & social distancing can be controlled," tweeted Michelle O'Neill.

Ulster GAA, after consultation with the GAA nationally, have outlined the following guidelines.

Grounds hosting matches must adhere to the GAA and Executive protocols.

Those grounds with perimeter fencing with viewing access on all four sides there should be no more than 400 people present at a game, including essential match personnel.

In all other grounds the number of people attending a game, including essential match personnel, should be limited to a maximum of 250

In some cases, those with no perimeter fencing, the number might be lower.

"There is an onus on both the spectator and the organisers to ensure that all social distancing requirements are adhered to. This is currently two metres," outlined the statement from Ulster CEO Brian McEvoy.

"In line with GAA protocols, supporters are strongly advised to wear face coverings at games. Patrons are also encouraged to bring their own hand sanitiser.

"Clubs are reminded that dressing rooms and indoor facilities remain closed. It is also recommended that dugouts should not be used. If being used they can only be done so in accordance with the two metres social distancing regulations.

"There is an onus on all to adhere to the guidelines – by doing so we will help hasten the day where higher numbers of spectators will be able to attend our games in a safe and regulated matter."

Further guidance in relation to the use of designated venues, including county grounds, with additional safeguards for spectators will follow.

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