Watch how fans are back in England after six months

The dollar works less compared to most currencies

“I feel like I’m coming for the first time in my life.” This is how Englishman Sam Terry described the feeling of returning to the football match. Not for less. He has not entered the stadium since February of last year, before the outbreak of the pandemic. The student said, “It is indescribable, it is wonderful.” conditionBefore the Chelsea and Leicester match in the English Premier League. Last Tuesday, 8,000 Blues fans came to Stamford Bridge for the first time since December last year.

Gradually, those living in the UK are regaining some liberties, thanks to an effective vaccination campaign and a severe lockdown – the third – that has lasted for more than three months and is slowly being relaxed. This week, a symbolic phase of reopening began: Friends can now hug each other – that wasn’t allowed and we still hug each other with our elbows. Bars and restaurants are back in service indoors, and the football fan base has been able to return to the pitches in the Premier League. As this is the last week of the season, the league has reorganized the final rounds so that all clubs receive their home fans. At the moment, a maximum of 10 thousand people.

On the way to Chelsea Stadium, fans on the subway mingled with those returning from work. A familiar sight in game days in London, but something you haven’t seen in a long time. They were groups of friends and families with children. There was a boy holding a poster asking for a T-shirt for the idol Kanti.

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“We were so lucky that we got a ticket, we didn’t think that day would come so soon,” celebrated student Ben Vaughan, who returned to the field a year and three months later. “The feeling that things are back to normal, seeing people come in, it’s amazing.”

It is also a fresh start for those who make a living from football. Nine years ago, Gary Swales has been selling Chelsea scarves and flags outside the stadium. The reopening is an opportunity not only to restore income, but to try to overcome a personal tragedy. Swales lost his mother to COVID-19 in February. Before meeting us, he took out his mobile and showed me, emotionally, photos of her on her 60th birthday in 2020, alongside his young daughter.

“We have to try, it’s good to get back to work, and see some normalcy,” he said. “When everyone is vaccinated, maybe we can fill the stadiums again. We are counting on the tourists coming back here. The Premier League is a global league that everyone wants to see. If we can get that back, we have a chance.”

Nearby, Arthur Silva, the owner of a café frequented by Chelsea’s Brazilian players, has mixed feelings. “I am very happy, and at the same time worried about the variables (of coronavirus) and the increasing numbers of infections. I want everything to go well for everyone. I hope we will not have to close again,” the Brazilian, who has seen movement double in the past few days.

Even with a successful vaccination campaign promising to immunize all UK adults with the first dose by July, the country is once again experiencing a period of uncertainty with increasing cases of the Indian variant calling into question a full exit from lockdown. Meanwhile, authorities are trying to calculate the risks of each step of de-liquidation.

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In April and May, the British government implemented a pilot project in which three matches at Wembley were a test for the return of fans, including the FA Cup final last Saturday, when 21,000 fans saw the victory of Leicester in particular, Chelsea. If in those matches it was necessary to submit a negative covid-19 test to enter the stadium, this time at Stamford Bridge, the fan only had to show a statement confirming that he had not traveled abroad in the past six months or had symptoms from the coronavirus.

Inside, they needed to wear masks and there was social distancing. However, the rules did not dampen the cheering of the crowd. There was a sense of a rematch four days later before that. The Blues pushed, and they won by a score of two to one. “I’m high,” said student Sam Terry. “I’m definitely going to party at a bar.”

After more than a year of a pandemic and three lockdowns, Britons prefer, as they say here, to be “carefully optimistic” about the future. But tonight at least, Chelsea fans gave themselves the right to celebrate.

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About the Author: Lizzie Gray

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