The government is planning to reduce the number of people that can attend sporting event pilots down to 1,000, as Covid-19 cases begin to rise again.

The changes come into effect today, 10 September. Among the events which will be affected by the 1,000 person cap will be the Rugby Union match between Gloucester and Harlequins, the League Two football match between Cambridge United and Carlisle United and a series of T20 cricket matches.

Other sport pilot events include horse racing at Warwick and Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, as well as speedway racing at Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich and basketball in Newcastle’s Eagles Community Arena.

The pilot events are for sport organisations and venue operators to understand the conditions, facilities and processes needed for the safe return of sport events during the pandemic.

They will include measures such as staggered entry and exit times, one way systems, additional handwashing and sanitising stations, screens or barriers to separate spectators where distancing is not possible, and encouraging spectators to avoid public transport.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “In light of increasing transmission rates, the Government is reviewing the proposed sports and business events pilots ahead of 1 October and we will unfortunately need to scale some back.

“We know fans and audiences are eager to return, and jobs depend on this too, so work continues around the clock on the moonshot project with the ambition of having audiences back much closer to normal by Christmas, if safe to do so.”

Lance Bradley, Chief Executive Officer of Gloucester Rugby, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been selected to host a pilot event to let fans back into Kingsholm Stadium on Monday. We believe that Gloucester Rugby fans are the most passionate in the country, and I know they’re desperate to watch our Club play live again. It should be a great advert not only for Gloucester Rugby, but for Premiership Rugby as a whole.”