Groundhopper Guides recently helped several American groundhoppers see a few Premier League games, and we asked them to report back on how it went with Covid restrictions. Here is a summary of their experiences.
Quotes have been edited for clarity. These reader reports are from games that took place in September, 2021.
Flying to England During Covid
George flew British Airways from the U.S. to Heathrow, which he said was “super easy. The Verifly app BA makes you download completely makes all the difference. Fastest check-in process I have ever experienced for an England-bound flight.”
Greg, who traveled from Washington, DC with his family reports that “In order to get our boarding passes, we had to show proof of vaccination for all eligible adults (not the kids under age 12) and proof of a negative COVID test taken within the previous 72 hours for all travelers, regardless of age. We had to show that again before boarding the plane.”
Arriving in England During Covid
George says, “Once we landed at Heathrow, the process through customs and walking out (e.g. spot bag checks) was even easier. Customs was empty. Five policemen merely eyed us as we left the last corridor. Nothing more.”
Of course, that’s just the airport experience. Depending on the requirements in effect when you travel, you may still need a test after arriving. Greg suggests doing that at Heathrow.
“Upon arrival in UK, we had to get tested within 48 hours at a valid UK site. There were cheaper options, but we opted to schedule tests right at the airport upon arrival. That was a good call, because once that was done we were free to go on with our vacation without worrying about getting to a place to get tested.”
Getting into Premier League Games During Covid
Matt summed this up nicely: “Proof of vaccination required, mask recommended, but almost nobody was wearing one inside the ground.”
“Liverpool (read their Covid FAQ) sent us a doc —the day prior to the match — to display upon entering Anfield in addition to our tickets. Hardly any fans were masked. Liverpool employees were mostly masked.”
At Newcastle, it was “normal entry. Nobody masked except some employees.”
Both groundhoppers who went to games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium said they had to show proof of vaccination. George relates that they “asked to see your CDC vaccination card. Then, once shown, it was easy entry. All Spurs employees were masked.”
Traveling in London During Covid
George had one tip to offer folks who are concerned about exposure to Covid.
“The post-match train on the Victoria Line was packed. Not one for the virus-fearful crowd. If you have masks/virus concerns, don’t take a post-match Tube trip.”
English Soccer During Covid: The Bottom Line
Greg says it’s really just a matter of a little more preparation on the front end:
“Just plan ahead and follow the rules,” he says. “It only takes a bit of extra planning and prep, and when folks see that you’re following the protocols you’re on your way with no hassles.”
Here is a list of each Premier League club’s Code of Conduct that includes their gameday protocols.