Government publish 'return to action' guidance

Return to Bowling

The Government has today published the long-awaited guidance to enable bowling and other grassroots sports to return to action with effect from 29 March.

We now await the BCGBA to adapt this guidance to make it bowling specific and then say how they will implement and police it.

The full guidance can be found here

Below is an extract from that guidance for your information which includes the action that could be taken for non-compliance..

All sports and physical activity: guidance and key considerations

Guidance and approval

All organised sports providers should undertake a risk assessment for their sport at grassroots level and publish guidance on how to participate safely. The considerations and key principles that organised sports providers must take into account are set out below.

In addition, team sports and contact combat sports will need to have their action plans approved by the government before they can operate. They must follow the processes set out below in the team sport framework and the contact combat sport framework. Those NGBs and organisations which have had their guidance approved through these processes will be listed at the bottom of this page.

1. Action plan and risk assessment

All organised sports providers should undertake a risk assessment for their sport and determine the level of risk for their sport and how they can work to mitigate it. This process is designed to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission while taking part in sport and physical activity, and enabling participants to make an informed decision about their own risk. Risk assessments should be completed in line with guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

According to current evidence, COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces – usually those that are frequently touched. Airborne transmission also occurs and is particularly important indoors, in close proximity environments such as when participating in some sport, and in specific settings where certain procedures or sports treatments are performed.

Each action plan should include an assessment of the transmission risk within that sport or activity, based on three key variables:

  • Droplet and aerosol transmission: The risk associated with each action in an activity based on duration and proximity of participants. By using the framework, sports and activities can determine the risk of actions in their environment – anything, for example, from tackling, to bowling, to re-start – which will then determine the overall level of risk of taking part in that sport.

  • Fomite transmission: The risk associated with the handling and transfer of equipment in the sport.

  • Population: The number of participants likely to take part in the proposed activity plus known risk factors of participants with underlying health conditions or high risk groups who wish to participate Based on this overall risk profile some recreational sports will be lower risk than others and better suited to return to competitive play earlier with or without adaptation.

Organised sport providers should use their risk assessment to develop an action plan for safe participation, setting out the transmission risk of the relevant sport or activity, and demonstrating its mitigations, how it plans to operate, and any adaptations required. This includes any relevant modifications to limit higher-risk aspects of the sport/activity, and to adhere to other relevant measures. It should also consider how compliance with infection control measures will be achieved.

The sport-specific action plan must recognise that practice may need to be adapted or curtailed and this information communicated to participants swiftly, if the overall threat level or community prevalence of COVID-19 dictates, or if it becomes apparent that a specific sport carries a higher level of transmission risk. It should also set out how sport clubs and providers should collect information to support NHS Test and Trace.

2. Guidance

All organised sports providers, including NGBs, should publish guidance on how to participate safely, including any modifications required to the game. This should be made available on your website and distributed to clubs / leagues / providers so they can ensure they are following the latest guidance and taking appropriate measures.

Organised sport providers should update their guidance when needed to reflect any relevant changes to measures such as gathering limits.

Sports and activities in which people primarily compete as individuals (such as organised sport participation events, tennis or golf) do not need to submit their action plans to the government for approval.

Team sports and contact combat sports should have their guidance approved before they can operate. They must follow the processes set out below in the team sport framework and the contact combat sport framework. Those NGBs and organisations which have had their guidance approved will be listed at the bottom of this page.

Where a sport requires approval, the NGB’s or organised sports provider’s website should clearly set out that people should not participate in the sport until it has been approved. Once approval has been received, the guidance should be published (for example, on the relevant organisation’s website).

Organised sport providers that deliver NGB activities must ensure they follow the NGB’s sport-specific guidance and have the appropriate measures in place to offer their sport or activity safely. Each individual provider should undertake their own risk assessment, including ensuring that operators, organisers and volunteers are aware of modifications to game-play or activity structure. They should also write their own action plan to be distributed to all relevant personnel, including coaches and welfare officers.

3. Sanctions for non-compliance

Sporting activities are permitted despite wider restrictions on leisure activities because of the benefits of sport and physical activity for people’s physical and mental wellbeing. If people act irresponsibly when participating in sport (including off the pitch, and when socialising before and after any activity) they jeopardize public health and undermine the case for safe sport to take place.

National governing bodies and organised sport providers should ensure that clubs, leagues and providers are running activities safely, and should take action to address any issues. This includes putting in place additional measures or suspending players, teams, leagues or clubs which do not adhere to guidance.

If there are serious or consistent concerns with a particular sport which the NGB or organised sport provider cannot or does not address, approval may be revoked so that the sport cannot take place.

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