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Gillingham Football Club close offices and send staff home after Covid infections; League 1 match against Crewe at Priestfield later postponed

Gillingham have sent their office staff home and closed the stadium after a number of Covid cases were confirmed.

The Gills were due to host Crewe Alexandra this Saturday in League 1 but that game is now postponed.

Office staff at Priestfield stadium has been closed because of Covid
Office staff at Priestfield stadium has been closed because of Covid

A club statement said: “Given a number of positive Covid tests this morning amongst staff members, the chairman has decided that, in the interests of safety of all personnel, the stadium should be closed immediately and staff asked to return to their homes.”

Shortly after that statement came the news that Saturday's game was off, with a number of players also reporting positive Covid results.

Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming recently missed out because of Covid, as did Rhys Bennett. The high numbers of positive cases now being confirmed have already had an impact in football with top-flight clubs including Manchester United and Tottenham postponing games.

Watford's game against Burnley on Wednesday night was called off because of infections. Closer to home Maidstone United's weekend game is off after opponents Maidenhead pulled out because of an outbreak at the Berkshire club.

Crewe already had one player out with Covid and another in isolation after being in close contact with someone who had tested positive. They were planning on travelling to Kent in two coaches in an attempt to help with social distancing.

More on the Gills;

Gillingham’s home games at Priestfield won’t be impacted by the new Plan B restrictions as their attendances fall well below the 10,000 mark which would require Covid certificates to be produced before entry. Some EFL clubs have capped capacity to 9,999.

The club have asked supporters to wear masks in certain areas, however.

An earlier statement said: “Under new government, and SGSA (Sports Ground Safety Authority) guidelines, at this moment in time, due to the fact MEMS Priestfield Stadium is not currently welcoming the necessary threshold figure, we are not obliged to implement the majority of Covid Plan B restrictions. This means those attending the venue will not need to show proof of double vaccination, or perform an antigen test before arrival.

"Likewise, hospitality areas at the stadium, at this present moment, have less than the required attendance threshold of implementing plan B. This applies for events too, such as weddings and private functions etc, however appropriate guidance will be supplied on a case by case basis dependent on the area that is booked, the nature of the event, and amount of people expected.

"However, we are going to advise all guests to wear face coverings (unless exempt) until they are either dining or have taken their seats. We are going to inform all club staff it is advisable to wear a face covering whilst in covered/indoor areas, and also undertake regular antigen tests.

"Similarly, we would advise supporters who are attending the stadium to wear a face covering until they are in their assigned seats. However, at this moment, it is not a requirement.

"Red and purple zone restrictions remain in force. Hand sanitisers will be available around the ground and indoor areas will be as well ventilated as possible. If you feel unwell, please do not attend a fixture unless you have returned a negative lateral flow test.”

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