COVID-19 guidance as of 19th July 2021

HM government removed ALL restrictions on 19th July 2021. On the same day they published details of the control measures they suggest clubs and associations should consider implementing to control the risk of Covid 19 transmission.

Please find below the advice from HM Governments DCMS which should be considered when making your risk assessments;

You should ensure that people can participate in your sport safely. You should consider the best way to approach this for your sport, including by issuing guidance (if you are a NGB or sport provider), following any relevant guidance from the sport’s NGB, the sport provider or facility, or by choosing to make your own changes to operating models to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The key principles below should form the basis of any provided guidance.

1. Communications and guidance

You should consider how you can inform visitors of important information and any changes to processes in advance of the activity, for example on your website, when booking by phone or email, and in your digital marketing. You should consider how to do this in a way that works best for your sport or physical activity provision and is accessible to all, including those with disabilities.

For example, you could email registered participants in advance of a league starting to set out the operational information they should be aware of and safety measures you have chosen to put in place. Then include a brief reminder of any key points or steps they must take in your follow-up communications or social media engagement.

Your communication to participants should include the following points.

  • Self-assessment: Before attending any sporting activities, all participants, officials, volunteers and spectators should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste). If they, or anyone they live with, have one or more of these symptoms (even if they are mild), you should advise them not to attend any sporting activity, and to follow NHS guidance on testing and self-isolation.

  • Informed decisions: You should advise participants to consider their own health and circumstances (for example, if they are not yet double-vaccinated or they live with somebody vulnerable), so they can make an informed choice about whether they wish to participate. You should set out the safety measures you have put in place, and how you will mitigate any specific risks associated with your sporting activity. For example, you could advise participants that you are following your NGB’s guidance, and any safety measures you are putting in place.

  • Self-isolation: Clearly communicate to participants that they should not take part in your activity if they need to self-isolate, for example because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace; are required to isolate after travel; or because they are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell), even if these symptoms are mild. Advise them that if they, or anyone they live with, have one or more of these symptoms they should not attend, and should follow guidance on testing and self-isolation.

2. NHS Test and Trace

  • Sport providers are no longer required to collect participants’ contact details, or keep records of your staff and visitors.

  • However, you are advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for participants wishing to check in using the app, to support NHS Test and Trace. You do not have to ask participants to check in, or turn them away if they refuse.

  • If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who ask to check in but do not have the app.

 

3. Pre-participation safety measures

  • Consider whether you should ask participants to take a COVID-19 test before participating, where this is practical and possible. This can help to ensure your sport provision is as safe as possible, and reduce the risk of transmission.

  • You can also consider using the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission. The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they are at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity. It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

  • The NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS App, the NHS website, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Participants will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.

  • If you use the NHS COVID Pass, you should ensure that you comply with all relevant legal obligations and guidance, including on equalities. The Government will publish more guidance on using the NHS COVID Pass shortly.

  • Even when using the NHS COVID Pass, it is still important that you follow the rest of the guidance and put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue or event.

4. Hygiene

  • You should continue to follow good hygiene practices, to reduce the risk of transmission in sport environments. For example, you should not spit or rinse out your mouth on or around the playing area. You can find more information in the guidance on how to stay safe.

  • Water bottles or other refreshment containers should not be shared. Advise participants to bring their own water bottle or refreshment container, in a labelled or highly distinguishable container. If you are providing water or other beverages, ensure that these are provided to individuals and are not expected to be shared.

  • You should consider whether there are any changes you can make to your sport provision, to reduce the risk of transmission. For example, you could ask teams not to shake hands after the match.

5. Equipment

  • Organise your sport or physical activity sessions to avoid sharing equipment where it is possible and practical, particularly that used around the head and face. Where equipment needs to be shared, it should be cleaned between users.

  • You may wish to encourage teams to sanitise balls or other equipment at regular intervals, for example before and after each match, and in half-time or a suitable break in play.

6. Face coverings

  • Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings, to protect themselves and others. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.

  • If a sport facility or venue where your provision takes place recommends the use of face coverings (when not participating in sport or physical activity), ensure this is communicated to your staff and participants.

  • People should not generally wear a face covering while taking part in any strenuous activity or sport, unless they have been advised to do so by a physician.

7. Medical provision

  • Physios and other medical personnel should ensure that equipment and surfaces are frequently cleaned and disinfected, and maintain hygiene standards when treating participants.

  • Where close face-to-face contact is required, medical personnel may decide that they and patients should wear a face covering. This is particularly important when they are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose.

  • After contact with an injured participant, physios and other medical personnel should clean their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This applies in all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact.

  • Those working at a sport event should familiarise themselves with the guidance for first responders, in case of emergency situations.

8. Facility usage

  • Providers which work with or operate facilities should ensure they are familiar with the guidance for sport facilities below. This sets out information on ventilation and other important steps you can take to reduce transmission.

  • Where there is no facility operator (such as sport in a public park), the sport provider should review the guidance and consider following any relevant advice to reduce the risk of transmission.

9. Sporting events

  • If you are organising large grassroots sport events, or expect a significant number of spectators, you should review the guidance for events and attractions and follow any relevant measures to reduce the risk of transmission at your event.

  • You can also use the risk management template to help you plan your event.

Advice for specific sports and events

Contact combat sports

  • Contact combat sport activities can resume full contact training and competitions for adults and children both indoors and outdoors.

  • NGBs for contact combat sports should maintain COVID-specific guidance for participants on how to participate safely in your sport, which should be reviewed and updated as required to ensure that sport providers and participants are clear on the current advice and best practice. This guidance does not need to be reviewed by the government.

  • NGBs and sport providers should consider whether it is necessary to provide guidance on measures to reduce risk. For example, you could consider:

    • Advising those in supporting roles (e.g. holding pads) to wear face coverings, where this is possible and practical.

    • Advising participants to consider the number of different people they engage in full contact activity with.

    • Advising coaches or officials to limit the number of groups or facilities they work with.

  • You may also wish to set out the different ways people can participate, or for different types of activity. For example, if people do not wish to take part in full contact activity, it may be helpful to have a framework for the different ways of participating in your sport. The following framework may be helpful:

    • Non-contact training: training individually, no activity with others, including with equipment (such as pad work).

    • Equipment training: training with others, using handheld and wearable equipment (such as pad work).

    • Contact training: contact training which includes some direct physical contact between participants.

    • Full contact / competition.