Safety First Scores In Covid-19 Football Stadia Landscape
In Focus: Beaverswood
Football clubs will be wrestling with how to balance people’s safety and wellbeing with access and social interaction as sport returns to normality. Moreover, the impact of COVID-19 will be acutely felt when grounds reopen to admit fans. Jim Roberts, product manager of visual communications specialists Beaverswood, says owners and operators can employ some simple yet cost effective measures to minimise the risk.
As the UK feels its way out of COVID-19 lockdown, what can football clubs do to help minimise the risk? Like all employers, clubs have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest practicable level by taking preventative measures. They must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected.
In the context of the pandemic this means among other things, taking reasonable steps to continue to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people one to two metres apart wherever possible), use screens or barriers to separate people from each other and provide adequate personal protection equipment.
Simple, practical measures such as minimising the sharing of equipment and strong hand hygiene practices should be encouraged and enforced wherever possible. Physical contact with anyone outside of an immediate household is discouraged and people should try to avoid meeting in groups of six or more in busy or overcrowded areas – if it’s too busy, strict social distancing measures cannot be observed.
Signage and markings
Think ahead. Lay out signage and markings and implement one-way traffic flow at entry and exit points to safeguard those coming to and from the ground. Similarly, when it comes to workplaces and workstations in open office areas, use floor tape to indicate areas where people must socially distance. Where it will not be possible to shift workstations further apart, dividers will separate people from one another while also protecting staff and visitors in receptions and other common areas.
The use of relatively inexpensive high visibility floor stencil kits should also be considered to help facilitate the management of social distancing across UK stadia. These kits, which can be used in most interior and exterior areas including stadium stairwells, walkways, and car parks and at the approaches to turnstiles, can be used to rapidly mark out safe spaces and other important public information messages on the floor to warn or advise people.
While kick-starting football could be a controversial move, the fallout from the pandemic will continue and won’t be truly felt until games are once more played in front of fans. After all, it’s the match day crowds that generate intensified atmospheres, which permeate down to energise the players.
It’s also the fans who drive ticketing, merchandise and food and drink revenues. While it might be some time before this happens – the government has now indicated that it is probably going to be autumn at the earliest before this occurs – it’s important that clubs prepare now for when the gates are once again open.
Indeed, some Premier League football clubs are starting to implement anti-COVID-19 measures on the terraces, which are designed to keep people safe and help minimise the spread of the virus. This includes the use of highly visible seat markers, which can be fixed quickly and easily to chairs to provide advice to people about observing social distancing requirements during events. These simple but effective markers are available with elasticated cords, which secure around the seats, or as self-adhesive labels for securing directly onto a seat with a hard-plastic surface.
Common sense solutions
As the post COVID-19 landscape unfolds, it is critical football stadia remain protected and owners and managers do all within their capabilities to avoid the virus recurring. It’s important to recognise too that each workplace will be different. However, the adoption of essentially common sense, relatively low-cost measures, alongside good quality equipment, will contribute significantly to fighting risk.
Tailor your decision-making to meet your specific needs. The one-size fits all approach won’t always work in an environment where people’s safety and enjoyment remains paramount. Consider your requirements in terms of quality, reliability and performance. Think too how your supplier can add value in helping you understand the role that quality visual communications system play before, during and after kick-off time.