This is the twelfth update that the PE Board has issued during the COVID-19 epidemic and it responds to the latest changes to Government Guidance which have brought in a revised ‘Tier’ system of geographical restrictions.
The new tiered system will come into operation from the beginning of Wednesday 2nd December, at 00.01 am.
The key point to understand for our members is that regardless of the tier in which your area is placed, our players, clubs and leagues can begin playing again and we are lifting the suspension of formal play that came into operation on 5th November.
There are no restrictions on the number of players that can gather outside to play our sport at club venues, but the numbers that can be safely accommodated should be subject to a risk assessment. Our clubs/venues can apply the risk assessments that were in place prior to the 5th November lockdown, unless circumstances have changed.
Our Play Safe Guidelines fully apply once again in terms of recommended practices and measures to ensure that everybody’s safety is maximised. It is recommended that our members refamiliarise themselves with those Guidelines before formal play starts again.
While there are no restrictions on numbers gathering to play in any of the three tiers subject to risk assessments and observance of our Play Safe Guidelines, we would draw to our members’ attention the following:
If our clubs have hospitality premises linked to them (this includes clubhouses, social clubs and pubs) then players are allowed to go inside and sit at a table comprising no more than six people. The same rule applies outdoors in that you must not socialise in groups of more than six people. Note that there is a difference here between ‘socialise’ and ‘play’. It is possible to play with/against more than 6 players in a league or tournament in any single day/visit, but ‘off-pitch’ socialising must observe the rule of six. Spectators are allowed as long as the risk assessment for the venue determines that they can attend safely. It is possible to travel from a Tier 1 area to play our sport in a Tier 2 area (as long as the rules for that area are followed) but travel to or overnight stays to a Tier 3 area should be avoided.
With linked hospitality premises here, players are allowed to go inside but only sit at a table with members of their own household or ‘bubble’. Alcohol can only be consumed as part of a substantial meal. As in Tier 1, outdoors you must not socialise in groups of more than six people. Equally, as in Tier 1 you can play with/against more than 6 players in a league or tournament in any single day/visit, but ‘off-pitch’ socialising must observe the rule of six. Spectators are allowed as long as the risk assessment for the venue determines that they can attend safely. It is also possible here to travel from a Tier 2 area to another Tier 2 are or Tier 1 area (as long as the respective rules for each area are followed) but travel to or overnight stays to a Tier 3 area should be avoided.
This highest restriction tier does not allow higher-risk contact sports, but this does not apply to our sport which is non-contact. Linked hospitality premises must be closed but can offer a takeaway service. This means that takeaway refreshments offered at clubs/venues are possible.
As with Tiers 1 and 2, it is possible to play with/against more than six people, but the rule of 6 applies off-pitch. The Government guidelines state that there should be no public attendance at spectator sport.
Players resident in a Tier 3 area can travel to and play at venues within their area but should reduce the numbers of journeys where possible. However, all players resident in Tier 3 should avoid travelling to any other area in the UK (including other Tier 3 areas) or staying overnight.
For further information on the tiered restrictions, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know
We wish all of our members a safe return to play and look forward to 2021 where we hope to see a transition towards even more normalisation of play as the COVID-19 vaccinations take place.