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Surrey CCC have welcomed the proposed lifting of all social distancing measures on Monday June 21st – allowing for fans to fully return to the Kia Oval this summer.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all legal limits on social distancing could be removed on June 21st, subject to government data proving that four key tests are being passed.

Prior to that, the Prime Minister said that sporting events will be able to reopen with crowds on Monday May 17th, meaning that Surrey’s London Derby with Middlesex that is set to start three days later could mark the return of Surrey Members to the Kia Oval, with a capacity of 6,500 per day.

However, with the PM further announcing that zoos, theme parks and pub beer gardens would be able to reopen on Monday April 12th, Surrey CCC Chief Executive Richard Gould is hopeful of welcoming Members for the first home game of the summer – which starts against Leicestershire three days later, on Thursday April 15th.

Speaking this afternoon, Chief Executive Richard Gould said: “Everyone was waiting for what the government was going to say this afternoon and it seems like good news for cricket fans.

“With outdoor leisure attractions like Thorpe Park, London Zoo and pub beer gardens all allowed to reopen on Monday April 12th, we very much hope that we will be permitted to open up the Kia Oval to some Surrey Members for our first home game of the season, three days later.

“After this, we will continue with a phased reopening of the ground, working towards the government’s subsequent key dates of Monday May 17th and Monday June 21st, when we host a T20 match against Essex.”

Last week, Surrey CCC welcomed its 12,000th member for the 2021 summer, once again demonstrating the loyalty and passion demonstrated by Members and cricket fans.

The Kia Oval Test Match – scheduled between Thursday September 2nd and Monday September 6th – was the ground’s quickest ever sell out in November last year, with tickets only now available for the fifth day.

Tickets have also been in strong demand for the Vitality T20 Blast, with more than 13,000 sold since fixtures were announced at the start of the month.

Socially distanced crowds at the Kia Oval for Surrey’s friendly against Middlesex in July 2020

Last summer, the Kia Oval became the first sports ground in the country to partially reopen after the first lockdown, welcoming 1,000 fans to each day of the pre-season friendly between Surrey and Middlesex in late July.

The trials, conducted in association with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, Lambeth Council, Public Health England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport were considered a success, with the Club given further permission to host 2,500 fans for the Vitality Blast match between Surrey and Hampshire in early September.

The Government’s ‘Four Key Tests’

  1. The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan;
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment;
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions;
  4. New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.