SOMERSET County Cricket Club has made the "difficult decision to furlough a significant proportion of its staff" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief executive Gordon Hollins said that this would preserve jobs during "a difficult financial period for the club".

It is not yet known how this will affect the club's playing and coaching staff, in their preparations for county cricket's eventual return.

That will not be until May 28, at the earliest, with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) delaying the start of the professional season until that point.

The Somerset statement said: "The Cooper Associates County Ground has been closed to the public for over a week now, with staff operating from home where possible, in a bid to meet the needs of members, partners, customers and the staff themselves, as effectively as possible during this difficult time.

"As a direct result of this, Somerset CCC has taken the difficult decision to furlough a significant proportion of its staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In accordance with government advice, the club has been strictly adhering to suggested protocols and constantly re-evaluating these on a daily basis, in order to best support the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

"The well-being of our whole community remains at the forefront of our thinking and decision-making.

"The club will operate with this reduced staff through April, with regular reviews taking place beyond that."

Club CEO Hollins said: “By taking advantage of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we are able to preserve jobs at the County Ground during such a difficult financial period for the club.

"It also ensures that we will be in a strong position to face the opportunities and challenges that will lie ahead once we have overcome this pandemic.

“We understand that this will have an impact on our members and supporters, and can only apologise for the inconvenience that this will inevitably cause.

"We will endeavour to update you all as regularly as possible during this period and we ask for your patience in this regard.

“We continue to urge our members and supporters to keep on following the government guidelines.

"Stay at home, only travel in an emergency and continue to wash your hands thoroughly.

“By working together, we will beat this.”

Supporters can contact the club via or 01823 425301 (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm).

Somerset's announcement comes the day after the ECB pledged a £61 million package to help professional and recreational cricket withstand the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Funding of £61 million to help cricket get through coronavirus crisis

Around £40 million is to be made available immediately, though early release of three months' county partnership distributions to First-Class Counties and County Cricket Boards, two years' facilities distribution maintenance, and suspension of international staging fees.

Just over £20 million will be made available to the recreational game through a 'cricket club support loan scheme', grants and a 12-month loan repayment holiday.