Throughout these unprecedented times, our commitment is to return to rugby in a safe and controlled environment at Kingspan Stadium. Our priority will always be the safety and well-being of our Supporters, Staff and Players.
Working closely with the IRFU, Northern Ireland Executive and Belfast City Council, Ulster Rugby has developed COVID-19 protocols for stadium operations; reduced capacity ticket sales and health screening.
Here is an overview of what we are doing at Ulster Rugby to reduce the risk of COVID-19, and what you as fans, can do to help us…
WHAT WE ARE DOING
The stadium is deep-cleaned and disinfected pre and post-match in key areas such as changing rooms, medical rooms and concession areas.
A cleaning crew is deployed throughout match day to clean and disinfect high touchpoint areas around the stadium, such as door handles, lift buttons and handrails.
Hand Sanitisation Stations
Automated hand sanitising units are fitted to each socially distanced turnstile for supporter use on entry to the stadium. Dispensing units are also placed at the entrance to each Stand before lift and toilet access. Corporate Boxes and Premium areas are supplied with hand sanitiser pumps; and all restroom areas are fitted with hand sanitiser units.
Supporters are asked to avail of these hand sanitising stations at every opportunity. All visitors are also encouraged to wash their hands as often as possible with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Supporters and staff are welcome to carry their own personal hand sanitiser.
Ulster Rugby’s official Hygiene Partner, Pursan manufactured all products currently in use at the stadium. Made in Northern Ireland to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, Pursan is a 70% alcohol-based hand cleanser, made with the highest-grade alcohol.
Since the beginning of the 2020/21 season, the wearing of face masks has been mandatory on entry and inside Kingspan Stadium. All staff, media, supporters and even substitute players, must wear a face mask.
Anyone with first or second level contact with the playing squad (Red & Amber Zone Personnel) must wear a medical grade IIR face mask.
Evidence from NI Direct suggests that when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances. Face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19). Please continue to wear a mask when in the stadium to protect your fellow supporters (exceptions include: when consuming food and drink or if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ not to).
Please visit NI Direct for more information » www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-face-coverings.
Dedicated Entry Points, Zones and Exiting
To reduce the risk of close contact and cross contamination, the stadium has been divided into colour-coded zones. Each zone has a specific entry time and set of turnstiles to enter through to avoid the risk of mass gathering at customer touchpoints.
Each zone has its own set of toilets, medical provision and concession units. All match goers will receive a Match Day Guide via email with specific details, please read it carefully before travelling to the stadium.
Supporters in the Blue Zone (Family Stand &Terrace) and Green Zone (Grandstand) will enter through the Onslow Parade Turnstiles and exit via Gate C and D respectively.
Supporters in the Purple Zone (Memorial Stand & Terrace) and Yellow Zone (Premium Stand & East Terrace) will enter through the Mount Merrion Avenue Turnstiles and exit through Gate E and F respectively.
Egress will be managed in phases via the PA system and Big Screen. Please remain seated until instructed to exit the stadium.
Current government guidelines state that you should maintain a social distance of at least 2m (6ft) between you and anyone outside of your household, to minimise your exposure to the virus and reduce the risk of spreading infection.
Following guidance from the Sports Ground Safety Authority, the stadium bowl has been mapped at a social distance for seating and standing pods.
Signage is in place around the stadium and every other toilet facility, hand dryer and sink has been closed to support social distancing.
COVID-19 Marshals are in place to monitor social distancing around the stadium; in concession and restroom queues and on egress.
Staff Health Screening and Temperature Checks
In line with IRFU protocols, only essential staff are permitted in the stadium to deliver a match. All essential staff must complete a health screen 72 hours in advance of the game, again on the morning of the match and only once they have passed a temperature check on arrival at the stadium (reading below 37.8 degrees), are they allowed to proceed to their working area.
Over the counter ticket sales are currently suspended, ticketing transactions should all be completed online. The Food Village and Kukri Shop are operating card payments only.
The ATM is currently not in use.
A smaller menu of best-selling takeaway items has been introduced to increase the speed of service in the Food Village. Items are pre-prepared and packaged, with disposable cutlery and individual condiment packets. Masks and gloves are worn by staff and sanitiser is readily available. Concession queues are managed by stewards to ensure a 2m social distance is maintained.
In line with social distancing, the current capacity of the Kukri shop is eight persons. Entry is managed by both staff and signage. In line with stadium zoning, the main Kukri store serves both the Yellow and Purple zones and the pop-up shop in the Family Stand Quarter serves the Blue and Green zones.
A new store layout promotes a one-way system and exit is to the left through the Line-Out Bar. Customers are kindly asked to limit their handling of merchandise; however, stock rotation is frequent and returned goods are quarantined for at least 72 hours.
By introducing clear and concise sanctions, Ulster Rugby can be transparent with those attending matches. It is the responsibility of us all to take this virus seriously, and do everything in our power to protect those around us.
If anyone; staff member, player or supporter is in breach of any Stadium Regulation or COVID-19 protocol, they will be subject to disciplinary measures as outlined below.
• Cases of a COVID-19 breach will be reviewed on an individual basis – sanctions range from a written warning to indefinite suspension
• For more information visit Sanctions
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If Experiencing Symptoms – Stay at Home
Do not attend a game if you are:
• Experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
• If you have been in close contact with anyone confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 or is displaying COVID-like symptoms
• If you are self-isolating
Spectators should assess the risk associated with attending, at the time of ticket purchase and on the day of the game, relative to their personal circumstances, health and susceptibility of infection. If you become ill and cannot attend the game, contact the Ticket Office on email@example.com and they can advise you on transferring your tickets.
If you become ill on entry or during the game, report immediately to your nearest St. John Ambulance or the Isolation Room in the Premium Stand under-croft.
To ensure the environment remains controlled, the stadium bowl has been mapped using a 2m social distance between seats currently sold in ticket pods of two people (a pair). There is no social distancing among supporters seated together in a pod. Each seated pod has five seats and two rows of social distance from other pods. Each standing pod in a Terrace location has a ‘SUFTUM Here’ marker to ensure social distancing is maintained. The marker should be positioned in the middle of the pair.
Pods must consist of members of the same household or support bubble, with whom you are comfortable NOT maintaining a social distance.
Only mobile digital tickets or print at home tickets are accepted at this time. All tickets must be scanned through a contactless turnstile on entry.
Code of Conduct
Before travelling to the stadium, familiarise yourself with the Spectator Code of Conduct and Educational Videos, which are specific to the fixture you are attending. Keep a close eye on social media channels for the latest game updates.
When purchasing a ticket, you are agreeing to adhere to all COVID-19 health guidelines and stadium regulations. Those that do not, will be subject to disciplinary measures as outlined in Sanctions.
Be accountable for your actions and that of your ticket pod. If you are concerned about the actions of others, you can discreetly contact the Incident Hotline by texting 07790 200200.
Please be patient and understand that these are unprecedented times. A more controlled environment with increased policy and procedure is what has allowed us to continue to host matches and we are grateful to the NI Executive and Belfast City Council for their guidance and support to date.
For general COVID-19 public health advice, visit » nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus.