Larne manager Tiernan Lynch has argued that Irish League fans should be allowed to make a safe return to stadiums now.
Supporters were disappointed to learn on Tuesday that they will not be allowed back into grounds until phase four of the NI Executive's five-step recovery plan.
And as Stormont's blueprint doesn't have a timetable, fans fear they may not be able to return to stadiums this season.
Under the current lockdown restrictions, classed as phase one, training and matches are only permitted for elite athletes - with no supporters in attendance.
Step four will see a limited number of spectators eligible to return to both outdoor and indoor events.
This will include all sports from Irish League and international football to Ulster Rugby and both inter-county and club GAA matches.
Step five will see increased numbers of spectators permitted to attend fixtures.
Progression through the steps depends on public health criteria being met, with the Executive's first review on March 16.
On the playing front there is encouraging news that outdoor competitive sport can resume without spectators in step two.
But the Irish Cup is already being affected with Championship clubs Queen's University, Newry City and H&W Welders withdrawing from the tournament which the Irish FA hope to start and finish in May.
The fans, however, are frustrated, knowing they will remain frozen out for some time.
Premiership clubs have demonstrated they can accommodate small numbers of spectators safely this season but there is now no prospect of supporters returning in the near future.
Larne boss Lynch says he doesn't agree with the decision to stop fans attending matches in a safe environment and wants to see some supporters re-admitted immediately.
"I don't understand why fans can't come to games now," argued Lynch. "They wanted the R number to drop down and it has been dropping.
"As long as it's done properly, the fans could be in stadiums now and we could gradually build on it. We should be looking at getting limited numbers through the doors now."
Lynch added: “This game is not the same without supporters. There’s a lot of health guidelines around the games which are necessary and that takes a toll on everyone but I’d like the fans back in as soon as possible.”
The one certainty in the months ahead is that the Irish Cup is going to have a very different look if it gets under way in May.
H&W Welders have become the third team, after fellow Championship sides Queen’s University and Newry City, to announce they will not be taking part in the competition.
The Irish FA are not expected to punish teams for withdrawing from the tournament and opposing sides in the Round of 32 draw will likely be given a bye into the next round.
Armagh City FC have written to the IFA to offer to take up a place in this season’s competition.
The current Premiership and Championship clubs made up 24 of this season’s original 32 participants, joined by the semi-finalists from last season’s Intermediate Cup (Dollingstown, Newington, St James’ Swifts and Belfast Celtic) and also PSNI, relegated from the Championship, and the PIL’s next top three based on last term’s table, Portstewart, Bangor and Banbridge Town.
Armagh were the very next team in line and so have volunteered their services to make up the numbers.
City said yesterday: “Club consulted with management and players last night and all were 100% behind a desire to participate in Irish Cup if the club is given the opportunity to do so.”