Last week, following a communication from Sport England, we were obliged to tell our clubs and members based at pubs that it was not possible to play our sport at these venues at the ‘Step 2’ (from April 12th) of the relaxation of COVID-19.
We were disappointed and somewhat surprised by this stance on pubs as we felt that observance of our Play Safe Guidelines and the undertaking of associated necessary risk assessments at venues would create safe conditions for outdoors play.
Many of our members and clubs got in touch with us questioning what was an effective ban on our sport at pubs and we were requested to lobby on this to see if we could get a change of position.
Clive our President went back to Sport England and we are delighted to report that it has now been indicated to us that we are able to play outside (in public or private venues) as long as the host venue opens or allows pétanque. The venue is obviously obliged to follow the facilities guidance.
This means that as long as the host venue permits our sport to be played, our clubs are allowed to formally organise playing pétanque at pub venues without restriction on numbers as long as they follow our Play Safe Guidelines and carry out a risk assessment.
A key factor in the risk assessment at pub venues which may have constrained space or pitches in close proximity to customers sitting outdoors is deciding on what playing numbers can be safely accommodated. We advise our clubs to work closely with venue operators on making risk assessments.
Without observance of our Play Safe Guidelines and in the absence of a risk assessment, the playing of pétanque at both private and public venues will be considered to be’ informal’ sport and can only take place outdoors in up to groups of 6.
We hope that this change of position will allow our pub-based clubs and players to get operational once again and will also mean that league play can resume.