Saturday's Queries

We would like to address some of the concerns / queries from last weekend that have been brought to our attention.
What are the different zones?
Different coloured zones have been introduced across Scottish football by the Joint Response Group in line with Covid guidelines to ensure that games can be played safely. We have three zones; red, amber and green. The two key zones are red and amber.
The Red Zone - is the competition ‘bubble’ and refers to the area that only players, key staff and match officials who comply with Covid testing protocols can enter. The only exemption to this is the administration of first aid.
Amber Zone – This covers all areas of the stadium interior except for the Red Zone. These areas are occupied by non-essential staff and crowds where no social distancing is required. However, it is to be expected that baseline mitigations will remain in place which requires rigorous management of entry and exit points, movement and clear signage throughout the stadium interior; stands and concourse; pitch side interview areas.
These zones are determined by the governing bodies and are unlikely to change anytime soon.
The closure of the main stand?
The main stand is currently closed to spectators due to red zone areas occupying over 100 seats in the stand. This to cater for the 2m distancing of substitutes and unstripped players. Players must adhere to 2m distancing to avoid becoming close contacts should a player pick up COVID-19. This is the reason we are unable to sit the subs on the bench at this present time. It is also a significant reason why we cannot fill the remaining available spaces with fans.
The opening of the bottom bar
The bottom bar is also currently closed. This is due to us having to use the area for changing to maintain the 2m distancing of players. Although the two teams are split across the two changing areas within the Alpha Solway and BDS stands. The dressing rooms within the Alpha Solway stand are not big enough for the players to meet the required social distancing rules. Therefore, at present we are using, the home and away dressing rooms, the bottom bar, media room and referees’ room as changing facilities for our squad to ensure all players are as safe as possible and maintaining a 2m social distance while at the football club. This unfortunately results in the bottom bar being closed.
Transferring between Portland Road Terrace and BDS Stand
Due to the above Amber zone management and mitigation of Covid protocols we are not able to permit the free movement from one area to the other. In previous years we have enabled some managed movement between the stand and terracing that maintains spectator safety and security, unfortunately under the current guidelines general movement between areas is not possible.
Away fans in section 5 of the BDS
Such segregation is not new. In previous seasons, where there was no negative intelligence and numbers of away spectators were expected to be low, we have implemented a form of soft segregation. This provides for a dedicated area for away support but enables them to use shared facilities. This was implemented recently for both the fixtures against Broomhill and Arbroath. While we must factor in the red zone for the away team in the BDS stand, due to the numbers involved it isn’t viable for the club to have an unnecessary level of segregation.
As previously mentioned, we currently require significant additional onsite changing facilities. During this time the match officials changing area is located within the portacabin to the side of the control room and therefore this area of the stadium is a designated red zone. Anyone that is not a match official, player or part of the clubs testing regime is therefore prohibited from entering the area which means we are not able to allow any supporters to use the grey metal gate to exit the stadium.
We understand fans frustrations at some of the changes that we have had to implement but we hope that you all appreciate that decisions, most of which are outwith our control, have been taken with the safety and well-being of all those attending the game to the forefront of our minds.
We have taken steps to resolve the issues that we can control. The additional dugouts have been on order for a considerable time to which hopefully allow players to move back pitch side. This would hopefully remove the need for the red zone within the main stand and should therefore make it accessible to supporters again. Due to the wider issues with building supplies we have not yet received them, but we are in direct contact with our dugout supplier on a weekly basis getting updates on their progress.
We are currently in the process of recruiting three new staff members from the Kickstart Scheme to help in a variety of roles. Not only will this be of benefit to the club, it will offer youngsters the opportunity to work with the club in areas to develop working skills. One of these positions will be to assist the groundsman with maintenance of our four facilities.
We hope that the above addresses the questions you as supporters have. We like everyone else would like to be back to “normality” as soon as possible. Every one of us as individuals are experiencing unprecedented times. We as a club are still adapting and doing the best that we can to ensure we are following the guidelines laid out by the Government and Governing bodies whilst making sure that everyone attending our matches feels safe whilst continuing to play our part at minimising the spread of Covid 19.
As always we thank you for your support and patience. Mon the South.