Crowd restrictions lifted in Scotland ahead of Six Nations

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Scotland have received a boost after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that restrictions on crowds at outdoor sporting events will be lifted on January 17.

The news means rugby supporters can return to stadia from next Monday onwards having effectively been shut out since December 26, after a limit of 500 was imposed three weeks ago in a bid to deal with a surge of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

In a decision driven by the Government’s “cautious optimism” over the way things have evolved since the measures were first put in place, Sturgeon gave the green light for Murrayfield to be able to hold a full house when Scotland host England and France in the Six Nations.

Limit at large-scale outdoor events lifted

Speaking in her statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Sturgeon said: “I can confirm today that the attendance limit of 500 at large-scale outdoor events will be lifted from Monday, January 17.

“That means, for example, that spectators will be permitted again at major outdoor sporting events, including football fixtures scheduled for early next week and the forthcoming Six Nations rugby matches.”

It was also confirmed that Covid certification will now only be valid with a booster, and that clubs are obliged to check the status of at least 50 per cent of attendees.

Sturgeon said: “The Covid certification scheme will remain in place for these (cinch Premiership and Six Nations matches) and other events and venues previously covered, but with two important changes.

“Firstly, our guidance will now stipulate that the organisers of large events of 1000 or more people should check the certification status of at least 50 per cent of attendees, rather than the current 20 per cent, or at least 1000 people, whichever figure is highest.

“And secondly, from Monday, the requirement to be fully vaccinated for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.

“It will still be possible to gain admission to events and venues covered by the certification scheme by providing proof of a recent negative lateral flow test.”

EPCR hoping for modification of French quarantine rules

Meanwhile, European rugby chiefs are seeking a modification of French quarantine rules that could threaten Champions Cup and Challenge Cup games this weekend.

Bath, Sale Sharks and Scarlets are due to play matches in France against La Rochelle, Clermont Auvergne and Bordeaux-Begles respectively on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, in the second tier competition, Newcastle Falcons are scheduled to visit Biarritz on Friday.

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