Traffic sign in Cambridge. Things have taken on a new meaning over the past few months.

With England’s 2020-21 Premier League season starting on September 12 and, if COVID cases remain around or below current levels, at least some spectators allowed in stadiums beginning on October 1, will American (and other) fans be able to travel to the UK to see games?

Here’s what we know, updated as of September 14, 2020. And here is more on the relationship between the pandemic and soccer in England.

What are the current restrictions regarding travel to the UK?

U.S. citizens are allowed to travel to the UK but face a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Details about what self-isolation entails can be found here. Note that a passenger locator form must be completed online and printed prior to arriving in the UK. All indications are that they will check to verify that you are self-isolating.

Per GOV.UK:

In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined £1,000. If you do not provide an accurate contact detail declaration – or do not update your contact detail form in the limited circumstances where you need to move from the accommodation where you’re self-isolating to another place to continue self-isolating – you can be fined up to £3,200.

Citizens of other countries may be exempt from the quarantine requirement. This website is updated daily and has the complete list of countries and territories that are part of the designated travel corridor.

Here is more information about the current UK border control process.

Do I have to be tested for COVID-19 prior to traveling to the UK?

Currently, there is no requirement for showing a negative test result on arrival in the UK.

Once I have completed the mandatory self-isolation, can I travel within the UK?

Yes, public transport is functioning throughout the country. Below are the links for commonly used services. Note, however, that local restrictions may be instituted or withdrawn at any time if there are outbreaks. Check this page for more information.

train liverpool manchester

National Railway Museum in York.

But can I go to games?

The current thinking from the UK government is that clubs can, starting in October, allow up to 30 percent capacity at stadiums for all sporting events. Even then, there are restrictions. You have to wear a mask, give your information for tracking purposes, etc. There are even reports that singing may be banned!

Also, with priority given to clubs’ season ticket holders, it is thought a good chance that away fans will be banned, potentially for the entire season.

In fact, lower leagues are already playing their 2020-21 season and letting in limited numbers of fans. Those are great games to attend — if you’re willing to jump through the hoops to be in the country!

What else can I do while I’m on vacation in the UK?

This FAQ page has a comprehensive list of what activities are allowed.

What happens if I purchase tickets to a game and then it is cancelled, postponed, etc. due to coronavirus?

If you purchased your tickets from the club or from a third party, contact them directly. If you bought from Groundhopper Guides, you’ll get a full refund as a credit toward future purchases through us, with no expiration date.

What happens when I return home from my trip?

Per CDC, as of September 14, 2020, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are no longer required to travel through a designated airport when returning home from overseas travel, nor will there be enhanced health screening upon entry. Instead, the government will focus on educating passengers on how to mitigate the spread of the virus and will give recommendations for self-monitoring and precautions to protect others.

So, in summary, yes, you can travel to the UK to watch soccer games! It’s all about whether it’s worth it to put in your 14-days quarantine and then have a harder-than-usual time getting into the game because of the 30 percent limit.

Besides the specific topics covered above, Groundhopper Guides recommends that you stay up to date with the latest news via the following sites:

U.S. Embassy in the UK – Information for U.S. citizens in the UK
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs – Country Information for the UK

In addition, here are the current travel restrictions for each of the EU’s Member States:
Re-open EU Select a country and then click on the various icons within the pop-up window to get more detailed information.

Finally, here’s where you can find more information about the coronavirus:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
GOV.UK
World Health Organization

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