Return to Sport

Welcome to the Return to Sport webpage, for all the latest updates and relevant information please see below.


 From 15th September 2021: 

Updated Covid 19 Guidance

Now that the majority of restrictions previously in place regarding Covid-19 have been relaxed, we want to summarise our guidance regarding the remaining regulations and how they may impact on members of the sports and recreation community. We recognise the great amount of good work done previously by clubs and organisations on reducing Covid transmission and want to ensure the benefit is not lost by relaxing the mitigation measures that reflect the Health messaging for continued vigilance.

 

Key Areas of Responsibilities

There are still a number of key areas of responsibilities which anyone organising events should comply with across a number of headings:

  • Where Risk Assessments are required, ensure they are relevant to the full range of activities planned to take place, owned and understood by all members of the organising authority, and the mitigating actions are fully and properly enforced.
  • Ensure all required records for all those attending indoor events are fully and accurately completed, and held for the required period.
  • Face coverings and social distancing are still required in certain circumstances and this should be enforced.
  • Where a club or organisation has indoor premises serving food and/or alcohol, they should ensure that all social distancing and mask wearing regulations which may apply are communicated, understood and enforced.

We have extracted the most relevant passages from the current Health regulations below – we have included any sections covering activities likely to occur within premises in the sports sector.

 

Face Coverings

It is now mandatory to wear a face covering:

  • in museums, galleries, cinemas, cultural and heritage sites, libraries, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas when not involved in an aerobic activity, snooker and pool halls, auction houses, estate agents, theatres, concert halls, conference facilities and comedy clubs and other leisure facilities.
  • in hospitality settings, such as cafes, restaurants, public houses, bars and venues that sell or provide food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) and to which the public have or are permitted access, unless seated at a table;

 

Places and premises where the Face Coverings Regulations explicitly do not require face coverings to be mandatory

  • in a place where aerobic exercise is the primary purpose of attendance;
  • when seated at a table in hospitality settings, such as cafes, restaurants, public houses, bars and venues that sell or provide food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) and to which the public have or are permitted access;

 

Indoor Gatherings – Visitor Information

There is no limit on the number of people that can gather indoors. The maximum number of people that can gather indoors will be determined by a risk assessment that must be carried out by the person responsible for organising or operating the gathering. The responsible person must take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

A person responsible for:

  • an indoor attraction including an amusement arcade, a bingo hall, a museum, a gallery or a cinema;
  • an indoor sports or exercise facility including a soft play area, a leisure centre, a swimming or diving pool, a gym, an equestrian centre, a venue relating to motor sport or an activity centre, must comply with the requirements relating to Visitor and Attendee Information

 

Requirements in relation to Visitor and Attendee Information

A person responsible for:

  • premises which are specified in an occasional licence granted under article 30 of the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and which are wholly or mainly outdoors.
  • carrying on a business of selling or providing food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) for consumption on the premises;
  • an indoor swimming or diving pool;
  • an indoor sports or exercise facility including a soft play area, a leisure centre, a gym, an equestrian centre, a venue relating to motor sport or an activity centre;

 

Is required to:

  • obtain visitor information either in advance or at the time of a visit. This consists of: a. the name and telephone number of each person aged 16 years or above visiting the premises; and b. the date and time of arrival. o record the visitor information in a filing system; and,
  • retain visitor information for a period of 21 days beginning with the date on which the visit occurred. The organiser or operator must destroy visitor information as soon as reasonably practicable after the 21 day period unless there is another basis outside these regulations on which the details may lawfully be retained. The visitor information must be provided to a relevant person as soon as reasonably practicable but in any event within 24 hours of a request, if so requested by that person.

 

Requirements in relation to social distancing

A person responsible for the organisation or operation of a relevant place or relevant hospitality venue must take reasonable measures to ensure that employees or visitors to such a place (but not including persons dancing at an event to celebrate a wedding or a civil partnership), comply with social distancing measures at all times. “Social distance” means one metre in a relevant hospitality venue and in a relevant place.

 

A “Relevant Place” is:

(a) the indoor premises of a business or a members’ club which sells or provides food or drink (whether or not including intoxicating liquor) for consumption on the premises and which is permitted to operate in accordance with restrictions on licenced and unlicenced premises but not including premises which are specified in an occasional licence granted under article 30 of the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order 1996; and which are wholly or mainly outdoors; (

The responsible person is required to:

  • provide information to employees and visitors on how to minimise the risk of exposure to and the spread of coronavirus;
  • ensure all employees and visitors maintain social distancing indoors (unless members of the same household or a party seated at the same table or persons dancing at an event to celebrate a marriage or civil partnership). This can be achieved by altering the layout of a relevant place including those parts to which visitors do not customarily have access, managing and controlling the use of points of access and egress, shared facilities (such as toilets) and managing and controlling the means of moving from one part of a relevant place or relevant hospitality venue to another;
  • that a relevant place or relevant hospitality venue is regularly cleaned, hygiene is maintained and in particular points or places which are likely to be used frequently by employees and visitors (such as entry barriers and gates and card terminals) are regularly sanitised.;

 

Where it is not reasonably practicable for social distancing to be maintained, social distancing measures require a relevant person to take reasonable steps to ensure that—

 

  • (a) any close face to face contact is limited between persons;
  • (b) barriers or screens are installed and maintained;
  • (c) personal protective equipment is used where appropriate and in such a case is made readily available

 

Outdoor Gatherings

The maximum number of people who may gather outdoors is also determined by a risk assessment carried out by the person responsible for the gathering. The responsible person must take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. A risk assessment is not required if 30 people or less are attending the outdoor gathering

 

Other Key Areas for Consideration

There are a number of areas not explicitly covered by regulations which should be considered when running sporting ecvents.

  • Travel to and from sporting events

When sharing transport eg private car when travelling to and from venues, it is important to maintain a flow of clean air though the vehicle. Ideally by opening windows back and front.

 

  • Sanitisation/Ventilation stores and Changing Areas

 Take all reasonable steps to ensure sanitiser provision continues and adequate ventilation arrangements are in place.  Ensure that proper circulation arrangements are in place and continue to be observed to minimise the risk of transmission. Encourage players to minimise the time spent in shower/changing areas and that these are frequently cleaned. Sanitisation of all shared equipment after use is recommended.

 

  • Record keeping

It is advisable to keep full records of all those participating in training and matches, including coaches and ancillary staff. There are Apps available for this purpose.

 

  • Managing Cases of Infection

Clubs and organisations should ensure they have clear protocols in place both within their own structure and with their Governing Body to ensure a rapid response to any Covid cases, enabling timely appropriate action and communication. Governing Bodies should by now have guidance in place and nominated individuals available who can provide guidance.