NewsPE BoardLatest COVID-19 update issued by the PE Board

22nd September 202021
COVID post PE

Following today’s statement in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister, there are no changes to PE’s Play Safe Guidelines. Our affiliated clubs, leagues and regions can continue to play our sport outdoors provided that they follow our Guidelines.

Any individual, league, club or any other association playing our sport that is not affiliated to PE should follow Government regulations which do not allow outdoor gatherings of any more than 6 people to play sport or engage in recreation. When meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. This is against the law and the police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.

We ask all our members to remain vigilant and use our Guidelines to ensure the safest possible environment. We also draw everybody’s attention to the changed restrictions on the indoor use of clubhouse facilities. These are the responsibility of whoever manages clubhouses, but the latest position is that all visitors to clubhouses must wear face coverings except when seated at a table to eat or drink. It will also be table service only. It is clear that there are heightened risks indoors and we ask everyone to be aware of that.

PE nationally has one more event currently planned for 2020, namely the Mixed Doubles National Title at Gravesend on 11th October. Unless there is a further change to Government advice on the playing of outdoor sport organised by National Governing Bodies like PE, then our current intention is to proceed with this tournament. The PE Board will be reviewing how things went over the last National Titles (Singles and Doubles) weekend to see if there are any points we need to address.

Protect yourself, your family and fellow players by ensuring you follow PE’s Guidelines.

21 comments

  • Avatar
    Janet Rees - Brickendon Petanque Boules Club

    22nd September 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Our club is affiliated to Petanque England but not all our members are members of Petanque England. Can you clarify if all our members can play wether they are PE members or not. We obviously want to be doing the right thing Nd not falling foul of the law. Many thanks I look forward to your reply.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      22nd September 2020 at 11:02 pm

      You can only go over 6 players if the venue is Covid secure and all the risk assessments etc have been done and approved by the club / venue and issued to all the players and staff etc. You can then only go upto a max 30 people.

      Non members are obviously not insured by PE and anything that happens will be on the people who allowed them to play and they will be liable.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Peter Chambers

        23rd September 2020 at 5:33 pm

        With my PE hat on now, in a mixed PE member and non PE member, PE affiliated club, do we play in bubbles of up to 6 or can we run as a Mele (i.e. not in bubbles) as the club / venue covid arrangements and risk assessment are to PE return to play guideline standards.

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          23rd September 2020 at 7:23 pm

          As an affiliated club you are able to bring together up to 30 participants (including, players, spectators and officials). PE non-members can participate because the controlling organisation is an official PE club. The non-members are obviously not beneficiaries of our insurance cover so (COVID-19 conditions or not) there are the usual risks associated with non-insured people playing our sport.

          Reply

  • Avatar
    Steve Harrington

    23rd September 2020 at 11:23 am

    Our relatively new club is not yet affiliated to PE although we have many PE license holders within our membership. Our club is located at a parish council run leisure centre which has all the necessary compliance measures in place. Our club has it’s own risk assessment and we do not use the main building’s facilities. Having read yesterday’s government guidelines and Sport England’s previous statements, I would interpret that provided we follow government and Sport England advice, comply with our leisure centre’s requirements and follow our risk assessment and good practises therein, then the requirement be a PE affiliated club is not necessary to allow the greater attendance of up to 30 players. I appreciate the hard work PE are doing to comply and keep us safe, but isn’t the “must be PE affiliated” more relevant to insurance than Covid.
    If say you had a similar constraint of all football activity needing to be be FA affiliated than that would prevent 10 unrelated people playing 5-a-side on an outdoor pitch at a Covid secure, risk assessed leisure centre’s facility?

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      23rd September 2020 at 3:57 pm

      The position is clear, any petanque activity not organised under the aegis of PE by an affiliated club, league, region or nationally is deemed to be ‘informal’.

      The latest Government advice is: “When playing sports informally with people you don’t live with, you must limit the size of your group to 6. It is illegal to do so in a larger group and you may be fined.”

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Peter Chambers

    23rd September 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Our U3A group (not affiliated to PE) has been playing using 3 bubbles of up to 6 people with a vacant lane between each bubble following all the PE safe return to play guidlines including Risk Assessments etc. There is no mention of bubbles in the latest update so should there only be 1 bubble of up to 6 players for our group of 40 members?

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      23rd September 2020 at 3:39 pm

      The only information we have at the moment is set out in the Government Guidance which states:

      “When playing sports informally (where not organised by PE) with people you don’t live with, you must limit the size of your group to 6. It is illegal to do so in a larger group and you may be fined.”

      It could be argued that your approach does limit individual groups to 6 (assuming that they do not interact in any way), but we can only suggest that non-PE affiliated groups will need to make their own enquiries on this.

      We welcome group and individual membership of PE and we offer many benefits including insurance cover, coaching, advice and support.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Peter Chambers

        23rd September 2020 at 3:54 pm

        Thanks for that. Although this enquiry was about a U3A group I am also a PE member in the GWR region and a member of another affiliated club.

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          23rd September 2020 at 4:02 pm

          OK Peter, thanks for clarification. You are wearing two hats! We think it’s fantastic that the U3A have adopted our sport and hope in the future that U3A groups will consider PE affiliation.

          Reply

  • Avatar
    Steve Harrington

    23rd September 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Martin, Thanks for your replies. Obviously the reply causes us great concern that we don’t operate incorrectly, although we are effectively working the same way as Peter Chambers has described with regards to bubbles. Could you tell me which government document / press release / other contains the sentence “When playing sports informally…etc”, as I have not yet found it . I was under the impression that club sessions, melees and competitions within a club were not informal. The government guidance issued on 18th September stated “All events should ensure that they comply with the relevant national governing body safeguarding policies and Procedures and conduct a thorough risk assessment which should be included as part of the action plan.” I cannot see anything about a requirement to be an affiliated club.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      23rd September 2020 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Steve,

      At 3.15 in the latest guidance, which you can see here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do it states:

      “Adults can continue to take part in outdoor organised sport and licensed physical outdoor activity in groups of more than six, provided it is organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity; and/or involve someone who has received an official license to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance…..Other outdoor sports or licensed outdoor physical activities may also be permitted if this is formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation and following sports-governing body guidance.”

      It is possible to rely on the last sentence above where activities ‘may also be permitted if this is formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation following sports-governing body guidance.’ Note the use of the word ‘may’. I think the only way you can check that out is to approach the authorities to see if the activities carried out are considered formally organised and that you qualify as a ‘sports club or similar organisation.’

      Our affiliated clubs, leagues and regions because of their membership of the National Governing Body are part of the formal setup.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Paul Moody

        24th September 2020 at 11:04 am

        ‘provided it is organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or CHARITY’ The U3A is a charity.

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          24th September 2020 at 11:14 am

          I was unaware of the U3A’s charitable status. It would appear that this Guidance allows for that. The U3A has an established relationship with petanque and it’s clear that U3A people are familiar with PE’s Play Safe Guidance. I have to say that any random charity bringing together groups of more 6 to play our sport maybe for the first time may struggle to manage things safely. One of the many ambiguities of COVID Guidance.

          U3A people – enjoy playing and play safe!

          Reply

  • Avatar
    Steve Harrington

    24th September 2020 at 9:05 am

    thanks Martin for that clarification

    Reply

  • Avatar
    John Parsons

    24th September 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Martin

    The latest guidelines issued by PE were in July, can I safely assume that a lane seperation is still needed to play as quoted in the guidelines (below) or can it be restrung to a 2 metre seperation?

    • Mindful that the majority of playing venues used by our players and clubs are
    constrained in terms of space, we recommend that matches take place with a vacant
    lane between them as a precautionary measure to maintain social distancing.
    • If there is any doubt that a venue cannot respect social distancing and maintain a
    vacant lane between matches, then the venue should not be used. At club and
    league level, alternative venues should be used that can operate safely.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      24th September 2020 at 5:10 pm

      Hi John, a 2 metre separation between lanes is good.

      Reply

    • Avatar
      John Parsons

      24th September 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks Martin, but is 2 metres or a vacant lane just a recommendation by PE as in the first paragraph OR as in the second paragraph if a vacant lane is not possible then the venue should not be used?
      Many thanks

      Reply

      • Martin Hughes
        Martin Hughes

        25th September 2020 at 11:04 am

        John, the important thing is that players in matches next to each other should be separate by at least 2m or 1m where that is not possible. An easy way to do make that work is to have a vacant lane.

        Reply

  • Avatar
    Colin C

    25th September 2020 at 10:10 am

    Hi Martin, sorry to trouble you but can you possibly advise if the following is acceptable? We are a pub club so not affiliated to PE and have three pistes adjacent to each other, each 4m wide with dividing sleepers. We play in strict bubbles of 6 (3 bubbles) with no mixing between bubbles (we also have separate tables for bubbles to return to when not playing). Do you think this acceptable or is it up to the pub to decide? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      25th September 2020 at 10:59 am

      Hi Colin, no trouble.

      If you follow our Play Safe Guidelines all would appear to be in order. We advise in those Guidelines that there should be an empty pitch between pitches just to ensure the social distancing between different matches. Off pitch your table setup seems good.

      Reply

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