Bristol: Around 15,000 football fans fill Ashton Gate Stadium as Covid passes come into force

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Around 15,000 football fans have attended Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol for the first time since the Government introduced Covid passes to tackle the surge in cases of Omicron.

Those with tickets to Bristol City's match with Huddersfield Town on Saturday December 18 were told to arrive at least an hour before kick off to make sure they could get through the various checks as part of new 'Plan B' requirements.

As well as the usual turnstiles, match attendees had to show marshalls a Covid pass - proof of double vaccination or a negative PCR/lateral flow test result within the past 48 hours.

Richard Gould, CEO of Bristol City Football Club, said: "You know that everyone within this environment has either had a negative lateral flow test or is double jabbed, so I don't think it gets much safer than that."

The passes act as certificates in England, with exemptions for those unable to get jabbed, under-18s and clinical trial participants.

England is the last nation in the UK to introduce the new ruling - Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland brought them in during the past couple of months.

Match attendees showing their Covid passes to marshalls.

As well as large venues like sports stadiums, they are now needed for entry into nightclubs, indoor events with more than 5,000 people, and outdoor settings with more than 4,000.

Bristol City's Championship game was one of the few not called off this weekend because of positive Covid test results.

Six of 10 scheduled Premiere League matches and 19 English Football League fixtures were cancelled because of club outbreaks.

It comes amidst rapidly rising cases of the Omicron variant, which the UK's devolved nations are due to discuss in a Cobra meeting over the weekend.

Tougher measures are needed, according to some experts, to slow down the spread of the new strain.

According to the BBC, leaked minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said scientists had told ministers tougher measures need to be brought in “very soon”.

Advisers had recommended moving to restrictions seen in step one and two of the roadmap out of lockdown in spring, which includes a ban on indoor mixing and indoor hospitality, the BBC has reported.