Ireland to trial plan for open stadiums

Leinster Rugby has submitted a detailed plan to the Irish government to assess the use of rapid antigen testing as a solution for the safe return of spectators to matches at the RDS Arena.

With matches in the PRO14 Rainbow Cup scheduled for the coming weeks, a trial match could take place as early as May this year.

Details of the comprehensive plans, which have approval from the Ireland Rugby Football Union, include:

  • Leinster would host a match where a pilot scheme for rapid antigen testing to detect Covid-19 would be trialled with a limited number of two-metre socially distanced spectators
  • Pre-match antigen testing would take place by appointment and on site at the RDS
  • The chosen rapid antigen testing system is EU approved and can successfully detect Covid-19 and all variants of concern
  • The antigen tests would complement existing Covid-19 guidelines already in place at the RDS Arena for staff and teams
  • Capacity for this proof-of-concept match at the RDS Arena will be capped at 2,000 spectators, just 11% of normal match-day capacity.

The antigen-testing centre would open on match day from 7am, with testing by appointment only through a secure mobile app.

Originating in Germany, the rapid antigen-testing system chosen to be deployed is on the EU-approved list of antigen tests and can successfully detect Covid-19 and all variants of concern.

Access to the RDS Arena to attend the match will be on the basis of each spectator receiving a negative antigen-test result.

Spectators with a negative result will be segregated into four separate RDS Arena zones of 500 people.

Each zone will have their own entry and exit points and facilities. Seating will be on the basis of two-metres social distancing between each pair and wearing of face masks will be compulsory.

For any spectator with a positive antigen result, a Covid-19 PCR test will be organised either at the RDS or using the current HSE testing system. That spectator and their companion will not be permitted entry to the match.

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