The Premier League will continue despite England’s new lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.
On Saturday evening, Johnson laid out plans to lock the country down in broadly similar terms to the UK-wide restrictions that were put in place in March to contain Covid-19. The initial lockdown slowed the spread of the virus to the point that most businesses were allowed to resume with a degree of normality, and football – having been paused for more than three months – returned behind closed doors.
The virus has since picked up pace again, however, and partial, regional restrictions had been reimposed all over the UK, before Johnson announced England will return to a full state of lockdown until at least 2 December.
There had been concerns that the Premier League would be forced to fall in line with the rest of the country, but the PM confirmed on Saturday that England’s top division will continue throughout.
“I can say yes to the Premier League, I think, with authority,” he said.
Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, then substantiated Johnson’s words in a series of tweets.
“The changes mean people should work from home where possible,” he wrote.
“But where this is not possible, travel to a place of work will be permitted. This includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors, film and tv production, telecoms workers.”
The Premier League has gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of players and staff, and although there have been a number of high-profile cases within the sport, it is broadly isolated from wider society. Everyone entering a stadium must provide proof of a negative test, while those who test positive must follow government guidance and self-isolate for 14 days.