The Covid-19 vaccination centre will remain at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield until September, it has been revealed.
Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd, which runs the stadium, had agreed an initial contract from December until April 30.
Huddersfield Hub can reveal the contract has now been extended until September 1, which means the centre will still be in operation when – as expected – fans return to the stadium for rugby league and football.
The first Huddersfield Giants game with fans is expected to be the clash with Wigan on Friday June 11. The new football season is due to start on August 7.
KSDL managing director Gareth Davies said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to have the vaccination centre here at the stadium. We have worked with the NHS since November and we had a contract from December through to the end of April.
“Back in November no-one knew what would happen but now the contract has been extended through the summer.”
The entire concourse of the Chadwick Lawrence Stand has been turned into a vaccination centre which can vaccinate up to 2,000 people a day. The set-up is temporary, however, and can easily be packed away.
The vaccination centre will not open on matchdays and the stand will be fully operational for supporters, apart from one kiosk out of four which will remain closed as it contains vaccine fridges.
The stadium also provides cleaning, stewarding and car park management for the vaccination centre and Mr Davies said the contract represented a “sensible” commercial arrangement.
“We are a community stadium and while we are a venue for concerts and events as well as football and rugby league, we are in unprecedented times and it’s exactly right that we serve our community in this way,” said Mr Davies.
Extending the contract with the NHS was done with the enthusiastic support of both Town and the Giants.
“The fact both clubs want fans back in the stadium meant they very much wanted to be part of the solution,” said Mr Davies.
News also broke this week that the Hella Mega Tour concert involving Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer had been put back another year.
The concert was planned for last summer but was postponed until June 26 this year. With countries around the world still battling the virus the global promoters put the tour back another year. The Huddersfield date is now Saturday June 25 2022.
The further postponement came as a relief to Mr Davies who said: “When there’s uncertainty there was always a risk it might not come back but now we have a date.
“Green Day are absolutely enormous, they are a world renowned super band and there are two nights in the whole of England. One is at the London Stadium – the former Olympic Stadium – and the other is here.
“The fact we might not have had the concert because of Covid would have been the greatest shame. While the delay is frustrating we can now get excited again.”
Mr Davies said the huge concerts sought by the stadium – such as the recent appearances by Little Mix and Take That – had a one or two-year lead time so there was no chance of a large-scale concert this summer.
Time would be needed too for a pitch refurb which could not take place last year.