SPECTATORS are set to return to sports venues next month as coronavirus restrictions are eased in areas with lower infection rates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that outdoor and indoor venues in tier one and two areas would be allowed to admit spectators on a limited basis, but did not confirm what the capacity limits or percentages would be.

It has been reported that 4,000 spectators or 50 per cent capacity limits – whichever is lowest – would be place in tier one, dropping to 2,000 or 50 per cent for indoor venues.

In tier two, it has been reported it would be 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors, or 50 per cent capacity.

Decisions on which tiers specific areas will be placed into is expected later this week.

The news will be welcome to sports clubs at all levels.

Other than a handful of pilot events before this current period of lockdown, fans have not been allowed into elite football matches since the pandemic took hold in March.

The last Saints match with supporters came at St Mary's against Newcastle United on March 7, with all matches behind closed doors since.

Saints' first home match after the restrictions are set to be lifted is due to be against Sheffield United on December 12.

Johnson also said outdoor grassroots sports and indoor sports facilities like gyms would be able to reopen from next week.