Following the publication of the detail of the latest UK Government advice on tackling the COVID-19 epidemic on Monday 11th May, the PE Board is issuing today new guidance for the playing of our sport. You can read this here.
Although the Government has eased certain restrictions allowing certain sporting activities including pétanque from Wednesday 13th May, we would like to stress that any decision to recommence playing has to be the individual decision of players taking into account personal and environmental risk factors.
The latest Government information on outdoor activities can be seen here.
We hope our members and their families keep safe and for those that do decide to play under the ‘Step 1’ lessening of restrictions, we hope that you enjoy yourselves but please take into account the best practice we have suggested. This is for your own protection and that of fellow players.
Action to date
On 13th March 2020, we responded quickly to our Government’s declared social distancing measures of 12th March by suspending all national competitions and events effective from 14th March.
Whilst recognising that PE’s affiliated Regions, Leagues and Clubs have their own autonomous decision-making structures, we also advised them at the time that we believed that they should also implement a similar suspension of playing activities. As far as we are aware, this suspension has been observed and we thank all our members and clubs for being part of the wider community response to the epidemic.
Impact of the epidemic
Unfortunately, the crisis has directly impacted our sport. We are aware that some of our members have contracted COVID-19 and we sadly lost Mark Barlow to the virus, a respected and much-loved player from our London Region.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mark’s friends and family. We are not aware of any other COVID-19 related deaths of our members and sincerely hope that our sport does not suffer any further losses.
We wish a speedy recovery to any of our members who are currently affected both now and in the future, although hopefully we are now seeing a steady fall in infections.
We are also very proud of our members who are keyworkers on the frontline of the battle against the virus. We have NHS workers, social care workers, teachers, nursery workers, local authority workers, housing workers, prison officers, police officers, distribution workers, shopworkers and public transport workers amongst us and we pay tribute to all their contributions during this difficult time. Thank you all for your work in our communities.
Looking ahead to further lessening of restrictions
It is difficult at this stage to give any precise date for getting get back to the ‘normal’ playing conditions and begin club, league, regional and national competitions as well as coaching, training and meetings. Many international tournaments have been postponed, although our European Confederation hopes that some may be able to take place in the last quarter of 2020.
At the moment all play is suspended apart from that allowed under the Government’s ‘Step 1’ lessening of restrictions. The situation remains under constant review and the PE Board is particularly focussed on the Inter-Regional Championships in September, working closely with our partners to assess the situation. We will discuss at the virtual Board Meeting scheduled for Saturday 16th May.
As things stand, the Government has indicated a date of no earlier than July 4th, 2020 for its ‘Step 3’ which is when the hospitality sector, public places and leisure facilities might be allowed to re-open (although on what basis remains unclear).
We still face an uncertain period and it is also possible that Government restrictions may be reapplied should there be increases in the virus transmission rate. The PE Board will do its best to monitor the situation and keep members informed. We will look at plans to recommence our sport, always bearing in mind the safety of our members.