Framework to Guide Progression Towards A Resumption Of Sport And Physical Recreation in NI.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the current guidelines on spectators at outdoor or indoor events?

A: Gatherings operated or organised by a responsible person

The thirty person limit does not apply to a gathering where that gathering has a recognised person responsible for organising or operating the gathering and it is organised or operated for cultural, entertainment, recreational, outdoor sports, social, community, educational, work, legal, religious or political purposes, or in an indoor sporting event or activity provided the arena in which it occurs is not capable of accommodating more than 5,000 spectators.

The person responsible when organising or operating the gathering must; (a) have carried out a risk assessment which meets the requirements of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000, whether or not that person is subject to those Regulations; and (b) take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, including implementing the preventive and protective measures identified in the risk assessment and comply with any relevant guidance issued by a Northern Ireland Government Department.

Q: What guidance exists on carrying out Risk Assessments?

A: Risk Assessments A risk assessment is a suitable and sufficient assessment, by an organiser, of risks to the health and safety of their employees and of any other persons arising out of or in connection with the conduct by them of an event, for the purpose of identifying the preventive and protective measures they may reasonably take to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. A risk assessment shall be by the person who makes it if— a) there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or b) there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates. In relation to employees under the age of 18, the organiser’s risk assessment must take account of their inexperience, lack of awareness of risks and immaturity.

Preventive and protective measures are to be based on these principles: · avoiding risks; · evaluating risks which cannot be avoided; · combating risks at source; · adapting to technical progress; · replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous; · giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures; and · giving appropriate instructions.

In summary a risk assessment consists of Identification of the risks which may contribute to transmission of the coronavirus; Identification of the measures needed to limit those risks by eliminating them where possible and minimising them as far as is reasonable where elimination is not possible.

Q: What is the latest guidance on face coverings indoors?

A: It is strongly recommended that a face covering is worn in all indoor public settings including those enclosed indoor areas and premises that are currently exempt and where social distancing of 2m or more cannot be maintained consistently. However note the exemption below:

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

g) in a place where aerobic exercise is the primary purpose of attendance.

Q: What Stage are we at in the Sport NI Framework?

A: The Executive has not been making announcements which directly align to the Framework. We have therefore decided to no longer reference the relaxations of restrictions in terms of the Framework, but will still give meaningful guidance based on how Department of Health guidelines translate into the Sporting environment.

Q: Can we get our Protocols Reviewed by The Expert Group?

A: Yes . While the Governing Body is responsible for the content of any individual sport’s protocols, you may wish to submit a draft for feedback. If you email them to returntosport@sportni.net ,we will submit them . The Group has limited capacity at present and it may take time to get feedback on the protocols.

Q: Can we conduct education/instruction sessions and/or committee meetings indoors?:

A; At present this is not permitted in the Department of Health Guidelines .

Q: Can Sport NI advise me on the content of protocols?

A: In the first instance its best to refer to your Governing Body who should by now have protocols in place. If you are drawing up protocols please refer to the Sport NI guidance at this LINK. We will do our best to advise on any issues not covered off within the NGB material. Reference to the current Department of Health Guidelines is also recommended.

Q: Can Sport NI help us fund equipment to deal with Covid-19 e.g. Sanitising equipment?

A : Where sports clubs are struggling with the financial impact of Coronavirus, the Sports Hardship Fund is the current channel available for funding. This covers rent, utility costs, ground maintenance or insurance. Other funding opportunities may become available in the coming months and will be publicised if approved.

Q: Will Sport NI be announcing further relaxations ?

A: Decisions on Coronavirus Restrictions are made by the Executive, following consultation with the Department of Health. Sport NI do not announce relaxations; we translate the relaxations into meaningful guidance to the various categories of sport, working with the Department for Communities.

Q: How can Sport NI further support the Return to Sport?

A: Sport NI has operated a Return to Sport Inbox service staffed by a dedicated team since late May. Almost 300 separate enquiries have been dealt with since then. We are working closely with the Sports Branch of the Department for Communities to feedback themes identified within these enquiries and anticipate emerging issues. Where appropriate these are also referred to the Expert Group for input.

Q: Is there any competitor limit at outdoor Sporting Events?

The limit of “essential participants only” is not quantified but should be considered in terms of full adherence to Governing Body protocols . Do not permit more competitors to take part than you believe could fully comply with all the requirements of your protocols.

Q Where can I get advice on reopening my small sports club/facility?

A In the first instance please consult your Governing Body’s website. You may also wish to reference the Sport NI Guidance on Reopening Sports facilities for further assistance..

Q:        Can Clubs or individual athletes/participants raise queries on the return to sport directly with Sport NI ?

A:        No –all enquiries must go directly to the sport’s Governing Body first and if unresolved can then be passed to Sport NI via the generic email address.

Q:        Can a Sport use time lines associated with their NGB in the UK or Ireland ?

A:       No. Sports must adhere to timelines set by the NI Executive

Q:        Who is responsible for the protocols a sport produces ?

A:        The National Governing Body of the Sport is responsible for the framework the Sport is implementing across participants.

Q:        Can Sport NI put our framework on their website ?

A:        Sports should promote their protocols via their own website / social media platforms

Q:        Can a Sport “sound out” proposals via existing contacts in Sport NI ?

A:        In order to ensure consistency of response, all queries regarding the framework must be submitted via the returntosport@sportni.net. email address. We will aim to provide a full response within 48 hrs.