Important: please read this message before following the guidance
On 14 December 2020 the Welsh Government published a new Coronavirus Control Plan. This sets out four alert levels that can be applied across Wales, depending on the infection rate of the virus. These range from alert level one (low risk) to alert level four (very high risk). The Control Plan sets out what each alert level means, what is allowed, and why and when we move between levels can be found. See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the alert levels.
On 19 December the First Minister announced that Wales would enter alert level four restrictions from 00:00 on Sunday 20 December. At the moment, the situation in Wales is very serious - coronavirus is present in all our local communities and is accelerating. Our NHS is under pressure. We need strong measures to bring the virus under control and to protect public health.
Under alert level four restrictions, sport and leisure facilities will be closed to the public and we are all being asked to stay at home. See FAQs for alert level 4.
This guidance will remain available while we are at alert level 4, to inform the limited activity which is allowed - for example, our professional sportspeople and elite athletes designated by Sport Wales will be able to train and compete. It should also inform preparations, in due course, for the reopening of facilities and activities, when we are able to leave alert level 4.
Section 1: Introduction
We are proud of being a nation that values sport, both as participants and spectators, but this period has been, and continues to be, a very uncertain time for the sport and leisure sector. The public health crisis associated with the Coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges.
Sport is a vital part of our communities with our sportspeople, clubs and organisations part of the fabric of everyday life. They, and the hundreds of thousands of Welsh people who participate in sporting activities, provide the bedrock for the health and wellbeing of the nation. But progress on the safe return to play has to be carefully coordinated, with the health of our country in response to Coronavirus the primary consideration. This guidance has been developed to support that process.
The Welsh Government has worked closely with a number of partners and stakeholders, including Sport Wales and the Welsh Sports Association (WSA), to develop this guidance. Sport has come together to collectively address the public health concerns around an inclusive return to activity, training and competition and demonstrate a collective ability to implement mitigation measures to ensure public safety. As many of the issues are shared across sport, depending on the context in which they take place, considerable progress has been made by working together.
This guidance does not constitute legal advice or replace any government or Public Health Wales advice. Individuals, sports clubs, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and affected organisations should therefore continue to ensure that they seek prior independent advice from medical practitioners in their progressive implementation of their return to sport plans.
This guidance does not impose any legal obligations nor does it modify or override any existing legal obligations and ultimately, the responsibility for complying with any obligations lies with individuals and organisations themselves. The Welsh Government shall not be responsible for any loss or damage of any kind, which may arise from any use of or reliance on this guidance. Care has been taken over the accuracy of the content of this guidance but we cannot guarantee that the information is up to date or reflects all relevant legal requirements. We recommend that you obtain professional specialist technical and legal advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on information contained in this guidance.
The Welsh Government has no formal role in agreeing specific protocols developed by sports, clubs or facilities for their return to activity but this document will be reviewed and updated regularly to guide the development of those protocols.
Section 2: Developing a collaborative safe return for sport and exercise
Early engagement with the sport sector, facilitated by Sport Wales and the WSA, has been essential in progressing a safe return for sport and exercise. The sector has continued to develop a joined-up approach which has assisted the Welsh Government in taking decisions about which activities have been able to resume and when. This collaboration has taken the form of specific groups, with representation from the breadth of sporting activity across Wales, to consider more distinct challenges around the following themes:
- Elite and professional sports;
- Outdoor sports; and
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities.
The purpose of each group has been to develop an approach to assist the return and inform the Welsh Government’s periodic review of the regulations and guidance.
This guidance should also be considered in the context of regulations and guidance in other areas of life where there are key interdependencies that will affect the way we continue to move forward, such as restrictions on travel and education and childcare. Resumption of some activities will depend on access to natural and outdoor cultural sites. The Welsh Government has provided separate guidance on the reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues. Advice for older and/or more vulnerable members of society, including those individuals who were previously advised on medical grounds to shield and those in the increased risk group has also had an impact on how sports, clubs and facilities have been able to plan for a phased return to activity.
The following section summarises the high-level considerations underpinning the guidance for sport and exercise to resume safely.
Professional and elite sports
Our professional sportspeople are at the top level of sport and have been seeking to return to training and play as early as possible. This is their profession; they earn a living from sport – the sports field is their workplace.
The Welsh Coronavirus rules strongly encourage people to work from home, where possible. People who are not able to work from home, but are able to work safely in their workplaces, can do so, provided their workplace remains open. Where working from home is not possible, employers must take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. In a professional sporting context, this means that training and play for our professional sportspeople can continue, provided the clubs – as employers – take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, including maintaining physical distancing.
Professional sportspeople are those individuals who earn a living from sport. In so far as professional sports are concerned, the players, coaches and staff will be employed or otherwise carrying out work – and when doing so they would have a reasonable excuse to gather. Should they feel unwell and display symptoms of Coronavirus, they should immediately self-isolate (as should other members of their household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines and apply for a Coronavirus test. Further information is available: guidance for households with possible coronavirus and daily contact tracing check: symptoms, guidance and support.
The Welsh Government has published guidance to help employers understand their responsibilities and to allow workplaces to operate as safely as possible. Employers also need to have regard to the reasonable measures guidance.
Professional sportspeople, coaches and staff who are required to travel for the purposes of training and play should be mindful of the Welsh Government’s and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice’s, especially the requirement, to wear a face covering on public transport in Wales, subject to exemption and reasonable excuse, and for foreign travel and the associated rules. Sportspeople, coaches and staff entering Wales, either to compete or when returning from abroad, should be aware of Welsh border rules introduced due to Coronavirus and the circumstances when they may be exempt from these rules, or be required to quarantine on arrival but allowed to leave quarantine to train or compete in their sport.
It is important to acknowledge that the line between professional and elite is not always clear. With the regulations providing people who need to work outside their home with a reasonable excuse to do so, our view is that for the purposes of the regulations those athletes who are full-time and funded by the National Lottery, such as Olympians and Paralympians, are considered as professionals who are working.
They will have a reasonable excuse to leave home to travel to train, to compete and to use facilities that are able to provide access.
Not all elite sportspeople are professional and earn a living through sport. For the purpose of the regulations and this guidance, elite athletes are individuals designated as such by Sport Wales. There remains strict protocols in place to allow those athletes to train and prepare safely, without compromising their own health and the health and safety of others. Where otherwise a restriction would prevent it, elite athletes and coaches of elite athletes, are allowed to:
- travel to and from Wales for training or to compete;
- train/coach and compete in groups that consist of more than 4 people; and
- use facilities that are able to provide access (for example swimming pools, boxing gyms, weight-lifting gyms, and squash courts) for the purposes of undertaking training.
Elite athletes, coaches and staff who are required to travel for training purposes should also be mindful of the Welsh Government’s travel advice.
Sport Wales has been provided with the responsibility to consider further additions to the elite designation, to allow additional tiers of team sports to be played outdoors where the general 30 person number for gatherings is too restrictive. This will be done in a controlled and phased way, where clear guidance is in place by sport governing bodies to protect all participants. The total number of people involved in the gathering must be the minimum number to allow the sport to be played safely.
Outdoor sports and associated training, especially group activities, are constrained by certain regulations put in place to control the spread of Coronavirus.
Outdoor activities (other than organised outdoor activities, discussed below) are limited to a gathering of no more than 4 persons from different households, not including children under 11. Where they are from the same household, there is no limit on the number of persons allowed to gather on regulated premises outdoors.
“regulated premises” means—
- premises of businesses or services allowed to open under the national Health Protection Regulations (i.e. listed in Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the regulations);
- a vehicle used to provide a public transport service;
- other premises where work is being carried out;
On non-regulated outdoor premises, there is no limit on the number of persons allowed to gather if they are from the same household or extended household.
Organised outdoor activities
Organised outdoor activities are limited to 30 people, and where this takes place on regulated premises, all reasonable measures must be taken to maintain physical distancing. Anybody who is there to organise or support the activity, if they are working or providing a voluntary service, can also attend and do not need to be considered within the limit of 30. Children aged under 11 and are also excluded from the maximum number in the gathering, and the limits on numbers do not apply if the organised activity is specifically organised for the well-being or development of children (which for those purposes means anyone under 18). Coaches and match officials would generally be regarded as participants so the limit of 30 or 15 should include them.
Simultaneous gatherings of groups and individuals in the same location are allowed, where there is sufficient space to do so safely and independently. Events involving waves or staggered starts should not be allowed if there is any risk the 30 person limit is breached during any stage of the activity.
The financial viability of some indoor and outdoor venues will be constrained by the physical distancing and reasonable measures requirements and the Welsh Government’s ‘Guidance for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses for a Phased and Safe Re-opening’. Consequently, despite being allowed to open, some facility owners and operators might choose not to.
To avoid increasing the burden on the NHS and the emergency services, we continue to advise people not to take unnecessary risks while exercising or taking part in any activity. For water sports, we advise people to consider the RNLI’s essential lifeguard and safety advice on water activities at the beach, on the coast or at sea.
Sports or clubs that have been considering the potential return of events that make use of natural and outdoor cultural sites with public access (e.g. triathlons, running events) were also advised to refer to separate guidance on the reopening of those sites for recreation provided by Natural Resources Wales, and Welsh Government guidance on the reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues.
Individuals exercising outdoors should minimise risk to themselves and others and only undertake activity well within their ability. Should they feel unwell and display symptoms of Coronavirus, they and their household should immediately self-isolate, follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a Coronavirus test.
Guidance on social distancing for young children is discussed in the section ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’
Indoor sports and leisure facilities
Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres are allowed to open. Indoor sports and associated training, especially organised group activities, are constrained by certain regulations put in place to control the spread of Coronavirus.
Indoor activities are limited to a gathering of no more than 4 persons from different households, not including children under 11. Where they are from the same household, there is no limit on the number of persons allowed to gather indoors. Gatherings for exercise are limited to 15 people. Anybody who is there to organise or support the activity, if they are working or providing a voluntary service, can also attend and do not need to be considered within the limit of 15. Children aged under 11 and are also excluded from the maximum number in the gathering, and the limits on numbers do not apply if the organised activity is specifically organised for the well-being or development of children (which for those purposes means anyone under 18). All reasonable measures must be taken to maintain physical distancing.
Further guidance on the definition of an indoor space in the context of the 15 people limit for gatherings is provided later in this guidance. Simultaneous gatherings of groups and individuals in the same location are allowed indoors, where there is sufficient space to do so safely and independently. Events involving waves or staggered starts should not be allowed if there is any risk the 15 person limit is breached during any stage of the activity.
The latest science on micro droplet spread may mean exercise in an indoor, non-air ventilated area may carry more risk. Outdoor or open area play would carry least risk. Air conditioned rooms are not particularly effective, but opening windows and doors to the exterior on the opposite side of a building to create air flow is effective at clearing micro droplet airborne particles created when someone sneezes or shouts.
We would advise sports, clubs and facilities to consider whether and how they might return to training and / or play on this basis (e.g. maintaining distance, preventing or limiting actual contact, eliminating or minimising the use of shared equipment). Clubs, coaches, trainers or instructors should also prepare risk assessments and consider the guidance below for Sports, Clubs and Facilities, consulting with their local indoor facility owners and providers when preparing for the resumption of their sports.
Supported by Sport Wales and the Welsh Sports Association, members of the indoor sport and leisure facility operators group have collaborated to create and launch the Welsh Leisure Hub. Operators might wish to consider the best practice protocols and other material hosted on the Hub and can do so by requesting access via the preceding web link. UK Active, Swim Wales, Torfaen Leisure Trust have also produced detailed guidance and resources designed to conform with and complement this guidance. This can also be found on the Welsh Leisure Hub.
Guidance on social distancing for young children is discussed in the section ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’
Section 3: Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities
In general, the return to exercise, sport and physical activity is allowed within the current Coronavirus health regulations. Indoor and outdoor activities are subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance.
The following section provides high-level guidance on the safe resumption of sport, within the constraints of current regulations. It is intended to assist NGBs, clubs (i.e. sport clubs and other organisations that provide regular access to sporting activities) and facilities to plan and prepare. We would especially ask NGBs to reach out to participants and facility providers / businesses beyond their traditional membership, to ensure that any ‘distanced stakeholders’ in their sport have access to important information and advice.
It is an expectation that each organisation will apply appropriate and bespoke solutions that focus on safeguarding participants, staff and the public, and will give due consideration to the local communities in which they exist and operate. For those organisations who own and manage geographically dispersed sites, it is important that approaches are appropriately tailored to local circumstances. In doing so, you must consider the rights of those with protected characteristics and how they can continue to safely access your site and activities. You must also consider how you will continue to comply with Welsh language legislation when implementing any changes.
Plans should be proportionate and reviewed regularly. Organisations should also focus on creating agile solutions that can be paused or rapidly reversed in the event of further Coronavirus outbreaks.
Public confidence will be key in supporting a successful and commercially viable return to business.
Obligations on businesses, owners and operators of premises
Indoor businesses and premises open to the public, (i.e. regulated premises) must continue to take all reasonable measures to keep people two metres apart whether on, or waiting to enter, premises, other than those who are in the same household or between a carer and the person cared for. They must also consider what other reasonable measures they might take to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. They also have a duty to provide information to those entering or working on premises about how to minimise exposure.
Where it is not reasonable to ensure a two metres distance is adhered to (e.g. where disabled customers might require assistance to access activities on an equal basis), there is also the additional duty to take any other reasonable measures to minimise risk of exposure, which might include additional protective measures, putting physical barriers in place or rearranging the layout and furniture to minimise close face-to-face contact. It might also include ceasing to carry out certain activities (e.g. where they would promote close or face-to-face contact and the risk cannot, therefore, be minimised) or closing a part of a premises (e.g. where the structure or layout prevents reasonable adaptations for mitigating measures to be implemented). More guidance on measures that should be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public is available here.
Physical distancing for children
For young children (those of primary school age or younger), it is less essential to attempt to rigidly maintain continual 2 metre distance between them, or between the children and any adults they do not live with. However, you should still make the best efforts you can to make sure they do.
Children can still transmit the virus, so parents of young children should still exercise their good judgement, and take care especially to encourage their children to follow hand hygiene measures and keep close contact to a minimum wherever possible. Even with children it is safer to meet in smaller numbers, and to meet the same people regularly rather than a range of different people.
It is recognised that for younger children, the emphasis will be on separating groups as it is accepted that they cannot physically distance from adults or from each other, therefore consistent group settings (i.e. where the child remains in the same group of children) provide an additional protective measure. Maintaining distinct contact groups that do not mix with other groups makes it quicker and easier, in the event of a positive case, to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible.
Sports, clubs and facilities should still exercise good judgement by programming and running activities to keep close contact to a minimum, wherever possible, and taking care to ensure that all other mitigations are in place.
Principles to prepare for a safe return to training and play
The principles described here for preparing a safe return to training or play illustrate the level of preparation and activity that might be expected of larger NGBs, professional or elite teams and clubs, and facilities that provide services at that level or to those organisations. They are not intended to be prescriptive for all organisations providing sporting, leisure and recreational activities. Plans for resuming training or play should be appropriate to the nature of the organisation and activity concerned.
However, it is important to stress that we would expect all clubs, organisations or facilities providing activities at any level, whatever their size, reach or location, to be mindful of these principles when planning for a resumption of activity, to ensure this happens safely and they have regard to Welsh Government’s general guidance on the Coronavirus regulations.
The principles should be adapted for use as required, proportionate to the level, size and scope of activities being delivered and tailored accordingly, subject (as appropriate) to medical advice and consultation with the relevant NGB. The WSA or Sport Wales may also be able to provide support, advice and identification of best practice, but would have no formal role in agreeing individual return to sport plans.
Working within public health regulations and guidelines
- The definition of an organised activity and the responsibilities of persons organising and organised activity are provided in Welsh Government guidance.
- Organised activities should only be resumed where Welsh Government guidelines on physical distancing can be followed.
- Indoor and outdoor activities are subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance.
- All organised activity should be consistent with the Welsh Government’s guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene. Under current circumstances that means participants and others must be able to maintain a safe two metre distance, that good hygiene practices are in place, that equipment is disinfected regularly, and that it is clear that anyone who is symptomatic - or suspects they may have been exposed to the virus - does not take part. They should immediately self-isolate (as well as their household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a Coronavirus test. Further information is available: guidance for households with possible coronavirus and daily contact tracing check: symptoms, guidance and support. All participants, staff and volunteers should self-declare that:
- They do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19 (new persistent dry cough, fever, loss of or change to sense of taste or smell)
- They have not had a positive test for COVID-19 or onset of symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days. (Individuals who have completed their period of isolation (10 days) and have no remaining symptoms (other than a dry cough or loss of taste or smell which can last for some time) may return to normal activities)
- No member of their household has had symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- They have not been contacted by a contact tracer from the Test, Trace and Protect Programme and told to isolate in the last 14 days as a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19.
- In the case of a child under 18, they have not been contacted by their school or college and told to isolate in the last 14 days as a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19, identified to the school or college by the Test, Trace and Protect Programme.
- They have not returned from a country outside of the UK in the last 14 days, other than those on the exempt list.
The Welsh Government’s ‘Coronavirus Control Plan’, published in August, comprehensively sets out its expectations of businesses (such as retail and other organisations that manage premises or provide services) in an incident or outbreak control situation, involving as necessary: Local Authorities, Environmental Health Officers, Health Boards, partner agencies, Public Health Wales, Food Standards Agency, The Health and Safety Executive and, of course, Welsh Government itself.
Regular updates on the response to the pandemic will be provided on the Welsh Government website.
Appointing COVID responsible officers
The organisation should appoint a responsible person/s referred to as the ‘COVID officer’, to act as the point of contact on all things related to COVID-19. The COVID officer must ensure that full risk assessments, processes and mitigating actions are in place before any sport or leisure activity takes place. Specific consideration should be given to the needs of those who are at greater risk including some older adults or those with disabilities. This really important role could be a new volunteer role or added to a current role within the club.
The Coronavirus officer appointed by a club or facility that falls under the remit of a specific NGB will additionally be responsible for ensuring that the Coronavirus medical officer of the relevant NGB is informed of any incidences of a known or suspected case of Coronavirus occurring, and incidences of an athlete returning to the training or play environment from isolation due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus or other Coronavirus related reasons. The data collected will be personal data and there are certain legal obligations in handling that data so the Coronavirus officer will need to be satisfied that they are complying with the GDPR so as to protect the privacy of staff and athletes. Welsh Government guidance on keeping records and more detailed Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guidance sets out the manageable steps that you can take to comply with data protection law.
- Risk assessment is about identifying sensible measures in a timely fashion to control the risks in your training and play environment and the service you provide. The development of a risk assessment will help you decide whether all necessary issues have been addressed and help inform decisions and control measures.
- Sports / clubs should prepare a risk assessment and risk mitigation plan, to be completed before resumption of activity at each venue that determines and communicates what can or cannot be achieved in relation to training and / or play in the local context.
- The risk assessment and risk mitigation plan should be sufficient to ensure that activities can be run safely, in a manner that has regard to Welsh Government legislation and guidance and appropriately protects all individuals involved (e.g. athletes, staff, spectators). The risk assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and appropriate under changing circumstances.
- Clear protocols to manage any person who becomes symptomatic in the training or play environment should be included in the risk assessment and risk mitigation plan.
- Clear protocols to provide/display clear messaging to individuals that anyone displaying symptoms of Coronavirus should not turn up for training or to play. They should immediately self-isolate (as well as their household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a Coronavirus test. Further information is available: guidance for households with possible coronavirus and daily contact tracing check: symptoms, guidance and support.
- Clear protocols to support the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy and the associated GDPR implications of retaining and making available people’s personal information as needed, both in terms of staff members and individuals in the training or play environment. It should be noted that the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations require reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on regulated premises (e.g. open to the public and on any premises where work takes place), as well as to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those who have been on the premises. One reasonable measure is collecting contact information from each person at the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure the contact information is correct, and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- Similarly, the risk assessment and risk mitigation plan should outline how staff who are returning to the training or play environment from self or household isolation due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus or other Coronavirus related reasons (such as having to isolate as part of a household where a member(s) was suspected or confirmed as having Coronavirus) will be medically assessed prior to return.
- A risk assessment and risk mitigation plan should also be prepared for single sporting events and competitions, such as for matches being played behind closed doors that are broadcast live on television.
- Employers have a duty to consult employees on health and safety. Workers should be involved in assessing workplace risks and the development and review of workplace health and safety policies in partnership with the employer. They should be supported by their trades union or other representative organisation where appropriate. Employees should be encouraged to identify, speak up and feedback on risks and control measures, so they can be adapted.
- When thinking about risk, key principles include:
- considering possible harms to both the physical and mental health of participants, staff, volunteers and visitors;
- minimising the need for journeys, particularly journeys on public transport where the use of face coverings is mandatory, and face-to-face contact;
- considering quarantine periods for travel to/from other countries and who is exempt from self-isolation requirements;
- considering the age and vulnerability of people;
- considering the minimum safe levels of staffing – for example to maintain the specific Coronavirus protocols, or in the event of a member of staff or volunteer becoming unwell, or needing to isolate repeatedly (this may affect visitor capacity on site);
- putting arrangements in place in the event of someone becoming unwell whilst on the premises;
- keeping risk assessments as ‘live’ documents and regularly reviewed; and
- recognising that communication, training, and appropriate equipment are significant factors in helping to reduce risk.
- Training for sport and leisure operators / coaches and clubs on Covid Awareness and Duty of Care training, relating to the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations, are available through the Welsh Sports Association.
Coronavirus symptoms or returning from illness
- Each NGB should have a named Coronavirus medical officer, familiar with the emerging evidence related to post-Coronavirus pathology, who is expected to:
- Lead on ensuring any suspected or confirmed Coronavirus cases are managed in line with the sport’s Coronavirus case management protocols and current government guidance;
- Have medical oversight of the return to training of any athletes that had suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus; and
- Support the NGB’s Coronavirus officer with any medical aspects of the risk assessment and mitigation process, and similarly advise the Coronavirus officers appointed by any club or facility falling under the remit of that NGB.
- Sports who do not have access to a medical officer to cover these responsibilities should secure medical cover to oversee these processes prior to resuming activity. Regular screening for symptoms within the training or play environment may be carried out by an appropriately trained professional, working with a set of protocols defined in the risk assessment mitigation plan and signed off by the medical officer.
- Athletes should all be made fully aware by clubs/sporting facilities of what is required of them if they suspect they have COVID-19, or are tested and confirmed to have COVID-19, or someone in their household is suspected of having or is confirmed as having COVID-19. In any of those instances they need to remain at home and self-isolate, and arrange to be tested.
- Athletes who are returning to the training or play environment from isolation due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus or other Coronavirus related reasons (such as having to isolate as part of a household where a member[s] was suspected or confirmed as having Coronavirus) should only start exercising when they feel well enough to do so and should seek up-to-date guidance on steps needed to return to the training or play environment before resuming strenuous exercise. In response to emerging evidence of increased need for rehabilitation services as a direct and indirect result of COVID-19, the Welsh Government published a rehabilitation framework and underpinning population specific guidance to support health boards and local authorities to plan services to meet that increased need.
- Should a suspected Coronavirus case occur in the training or play environment, or an individual be identified as a contact of a known case, the individual/s in question should be immediately isolated at the training venue and required to return home to self-isolate and follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a coronavirus test. Further information is available: guidance for households with possible coronavirus and daily contact tracing check: symptoms, guidance and support. The appointed Coronavirus officer for the club, facility or NGB responsible for the training or play activity at which the known or suspected case occurred should be immediately informed if they have not been involved with identifying and isolating the case at the training venue.
- The data collected will be personal data and there are certain legal obligations in handling that data so the Coronavirus officer will need to be satisfied that they are complying with the GDPR so as to protect the privacy of staff and athletes. Welsh Government guidance on keeping records and more detailed Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guidance sets out the manageable steps that you can take to comply with data protection law. Welsh Government guidance on keeping records and more detailed Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guidance sets out the manageable steps that you can take to comply with data protection law. The individual affected and anyone they may have come into close contact with in the training or play environment should be reminded of the actions they should take as part of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy.
- Test, Trace, Protect will mean asking people to report symptoms, testing anyone in the community who is showing symptoms of Coronavirus, and tracing those they have come into close contact with.
- The Welsh Government has published guidance on employers' responsibilities to help with Coronavirus testing and contact tracing. Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations require reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on regulated premises (e.g. open to the public and on any premises where work takes place), as well as to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those who have been on the premises. One reasonable measure is collecting contact information from each person at the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure the contact information is correct, and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- Athletes or staff who had previously been ‘shielding’ on medical grounds should continue to follow Welsh Government advice. This permits them to leave home for any reason, including exercise, but they should closely follow the social distancing rules. These individuals can therefore return to organised training or play as long as they are satisfied the training venues are COVID-19 secure and all reasonable measures are put in place to protect them and limit any risk of them contracting Coronavirus. They can also now go to work (if they cannot work from home) as long as the business is COVID secure (has taken reasonable measures to minimise risk to employees).
Timetable for reopening
- You should only reopen or restart activities when the regulations allow and as soon as you feel able to do so safely. Until you feel it is safe and responsible to reopen you should remain closed.
- It is for each employer to decide when is the appropriate time to return staff to work and, where appropriate, to cease any relevant claims for wages currently being made via the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
- A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work - if it does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.
- When planning for any reopening, you will need to consider any notice periods or other arrangements required for furloughed or redeployed staff to return to work.
Costs of reopening
- The Welsh Government will not generally help meet the cost of reopening and it will be for each organisation to determine whether it is right for them to re-open at a given time. Sports and hosts (as applicable) will need to discuss and agree how any abnormal costs that arise from mobilising a facility for use during restricted periods will be handled prior to training or play being resumed.
- There are potentially other sources of support through Sport Wales or possibly NGBs, but there will be priorities for such funding and therefore support cannot be guaranteed.
- Separate guidance on options for councils in supporting leisure providers has been published by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
Protective equipment for staff
- The Welsh Government has published guidance on the Coronavirus and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), this guidance should be followed and will be updated regularly.
- The Welsh Government has published guidance on face coverings and Coronavirus. This covers how and when you should wear a face covering to protect those around you including on public transport.
- Organisations will need to communicate clearly and regularly with members and participants, setting out what they are doing to manage risk and what advice they are giving to individuals to do likewise.
- Ideally organisations should publish an action plan detailing their plans to re-open safely and the steps they are taking to avoid and reduce the potential of transmission.
- Organisations should also clearly communicate opening times and how people can safely access a facility, if relevant - for example, through a booking or queuing system.
- It is more important than ever to consider inclusive guidance for people who need support to be active. Organisations should consider this as part of their work to encourage people to return.
- Ensure that all policies are reviewed regularly (at least monthly) and particularly in light of changes to government guidance, lessons learned and any other examples of best practice elsewhere.
Section 4: Principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities
Facilities supporting the public health crisis
- the resumption of organised sport should not in any way limit the host’s ability to support ongoing usage of the facility for supporting the NHS or key worker requirements, for example with the roll out of a vaccination programme.
Appointing responsible officers
- each facility should have its own named Coronavirus officer. The officer should be responsible for oversight of the venue’s Coronavirus risk assessment and mitigation plan, ensuring the necessary level of risk assessment and mitigation has taken place and that sports and hosts can adhere to the guidance within their facility.
- all hosts must ensure staff and visitors are formally appraised of the risks and mitigating steps being taken.
- venues should provide information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
- Indoor and outdoor activities are subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance.
- simultaneous organised activities of up to 15 people are allowed within a large space indoors (space such as a swimming pool, a gym or a sports hall) and up to 30 within a large space outdoors (such as a large playing field), as long as the space allows for physical distancing, with groups and individuals separated and managed safely. This should only be considered where space is sufficient to allow 100sqft per person on land or 3sqm per bather in a pool, as set out in UK Active Guidance, where entry and exit for individuals and groups can be managed, and where the space can be partitioned or separated so individuals and groups do not interact, without limiting the ability to allow appropriate ventilation and control environmental factors such as humidity in each space indoors.
- where multiple sports/clubs are utilising the same training site/s all Coronavirus officers should share their risk assessments and operational plans, to ensure alignment and avoid any potential conflict between plans.
- hosts of venues being re-opened should only agree to operate where they are able to comply with the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations have given due regard to current Welsh Government and Public Health Wales advice and when all the usual essential insurance cover that is required to run the facilities is in place and remains valid.
- sports and hosts should discuss and agree how any abnormal costs that arise from mobilising a facility for use during restricted periods will be handled prior to training being resumed.
- separate guidance on options for councils in supporting leisure providers has been published by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
Employees and protecting people at work
- it is a legal requirement that all reasonable actions will have been taken in order to minimise transmission of Coronavirus in the workplace. The Welsh Government has issued guidance on taking all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public, and also guidance for employers and employees on keeping safe in the workplace.
- all reasonable measures must be taken to maintain a two metre distance between individuals in the workplace. The guidance above will help when considering the measures needed to reduce infection transmission rates at work.
- additional practical issues to consider include:
- how staff enter and leave the workplace;
- adoption of one-way foot traffic through core thoroughfares if at all possible;
- arrangements for staff car parking / bicycles;
- protocols for back of house access including handling deliveries, visiting contractors, cash handling (where it is necessary and unavoidable);
- how to conduct meetings on- and offsite, including remote working; and
- the need for thorough and more regular cleaning of staff facilities and toilets.
You should also consider:
- appropriate training and briefing of staff and volunteers in the context of the new Coronavirus related roles and responsibilities;
- employee well-being, for example, how worried staff may feel about coming back into the building/site;
- the possibility of increased levels of absenteeism affecting critical activities and how this could be prevented (for example consider training several members of staff to cover different roles);
- updating human resources policies and procedures to take account of coronavirus related matters (such as those relating to sickness, absence, well-being, mental health, remote/flexible working and training – remember to address new reasons for absence including close contact isolation or requiring time off work to take care of a dependent) and clearly communicating the changes to staff;
- providing support to staff returning to work following traumatic events such as the death or illness of a loved one, or financial difficulty;
- minimising the levels of interaction between staff – for example through shift patterns, flexible working, staggered breaks and use of welfare facilities;
- implementing additional specialised safe working practices that may be relevant to your setting - in consultation with staff, staff representatives and volunteers; (For example: New arrangements if sharing of workstations and associated equipment/utensils exists, whereby thorough and increased frequency of cleaning in between use by different members of staff is introduced, to provide staff reassurance);
- let staff know how they can raise workplace health and safety concerns, and draft a protocol for how these issues can be resolved;
- remember that some staff may still be at home and try to keep open lines of communication with them, and involve them in planning for the reopening and future changes.
- allowing and enabling a person who ordinarily works at the premises to isolate for a specified period due to testing positive for coronavirus or having had close contact with somebody who has tested positive, where that person has been asked to do so by the Welsh Ministers or has been required to do so by a otification given by a contact tracer.
- making sure staff are aware of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy and the organisation’s requirements to comply with that strategy, as well as the associated GDPR implications of retaining and making available people’s personal information as needed, both in terms of staff members and individuals in the training or play environment. Staff should be made aware of the data held on them, the retention policy and what that personal information could be used for, including that it could be released if needed as part of a Test, Trace, Protect investigation. It should be noted that swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities, it is a legal requirement to collect and retaining contact information for 21 days, for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- Booking in advance, online or over the phone is preferable. Where this is not possible, and a venue has staff available to take bookings (for courts or rounds, for example), consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash.
- Remember that some people do not have internet access. You should make provision for them to be able to make bookings / enquiries offline.
Test, Trace, Protect
- You should implement an appropriate and thorough record-keeping system to support the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy, in terms of staff on duty at the facilities and individuals using the facilities at venues, to ensure they can be traced, contacted, advised to self-isolate and tested accordingly for Coronavirus in the event of them having used the facilities, or been working at the venue, at the same time as an individual using the facilities, or staff member, who has since tested positive for Coronavirus. It should be noted that the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations require reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on regulated premises (e.g. open to the public and on any premises where work takes place), as well as to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those who have been on the premises. One reasonable measure is collecting contact information from each person at the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure the contact information is correct, and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- When taking bookings, venues will need to ensure that facility users are duly advised (verbally by phone, or via a website or on-line booking system) of the need and reasons under GDPR rules for their personal information to be retained, and the duration required, to support the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy.
- Ensure, where possible, that windows and doors to the exterior on the opposite side of a building are opened to create air flow, as this is most effective at clearing micro droplet airborne particles created when someone sneezes or shouts.
- Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings, or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.
- For fully mechanical centralised air-conditioning systems, which both deliver and extract air from multiple rooms it is best practice to avoid recirculation of air. All centralised mechanical ventilation systems should have the facility to turn off recirculation and use only a fresh air supply.
- Employers are required to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air through natural or mechanical ventilation and this has not changed.
- In some cases, general ventilation can be improved by opening doors etc. but HSE is not proposing to issue additional guidance on the subject. Those in control of premises retain a legal duty (see HSE Workplace health, safety and welfare Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992: Regulation 6 covers ventilation) to ensure effective ventilation
- For mechanical systems in individual rooms, where recirculation modes enable higher rates of supply of fresh air to be provided to a space, for example by the prevention of cold draughts, then these devices should be allowed to operate.
- Fans would obviously recirculate the current air, so would not be advised.
- Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.
- Maintaining good ventilation in the work environment. For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.
There is advice available for building services, particularly around ventilation of buildings, both in use and when returning to buildings which have been closed. It can be accessed from the Health and Safety Executive, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, The Building Engineers Services Association, and REHVA.
- Where mains water has been turned off or unused since the close of the premises at lockdown, when it is reconnected it will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residues built up while the water supply was disconnected. Swimming pools, water tanks etc. will need to be cleaned and refilled after the water supply has been flushed. Drinking Water Inspectorate: Maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the CoViD-19 outbreak.
- Further information:
- Drinking Water Inspectorate: 'Advice letter on maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the CoViD-19 outbreak' and 'Guidance on drinking water supply operations in response to coronavirus (CoViD-19)'.
- Health and Safety Executive: Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak.
Keeping facilities and equipment clean
- Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit Coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. door handles, counters, handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.
- Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products, is advised. As is clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from work areas at the end of shifts.
- To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to:
- Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into your arm;
- Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards;
- Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms;
- Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for changing rooms and toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible;
- Enhancing cleaning for busy areas;
- Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection;
- Replacing hand dryers with paper towels in handwashing facilities;
- Provision of automated soap dispensers in washrooms if possible
- Minimising use of portable toilets; and
- Sufficient provision of automated hand sanitising dispensers in public places.
- Where catering is provided, consider mandating contactless or at least card payment at till points, to avoid handling cash, and frequent cleaning of card machine where keypad use has been required. Also ensure the two metre physical distancing between queuing customers, and also between servers and customers when food or drink is handed over.
Section 5: Organised activities and team sports a framework for developing bespoke guidance
The Welsh Government recognises the vital role sport and physical activity plays in ensuring physical and mental health. The return of team sport must be made as safe as possible, which is why the Welsh Government is sharing this guidance and sport governing bodies in Wales will be preparing thorough plans of their own. It is recognised that risk in sport cannot be completely eradicated, but with caution and care, risks can be reduced and the benefits of team sport enjoyed fully again.
The purpose of this guidance is to outline the necessary mitigations required to enable the return of organised activities and team sports. The framework outlined in this section is designed to minimise the transmission risk whilst taking part in recreational team sport and enable participants to make an informed decision about their own risk.
The definition of an organised activity and the responsibilities of persons organising an organised activity are provided in Regulations and Welsh Government guidance. All organised activity should be overseen by a Covid Officer with documented risk assessments undertaken and mitigating actions put in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of participants, coaches and officials. Indoor and outdoor organised activities are subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance. All organisers of organised activities are required to take all reasonable measures to ensure that 2m physical distancing is maintained but we recognise there are some limited circumstances, given the very nature of sport, where activities will involve closer interaction.
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces – usually those that are frequently touched. Both are relevant outside gameplay too, as participants travel, congregate, prepare, and socialise. Equal attention must therefore be paid to this full range of risks.
Where participants are likely to be in close proximity (within 2m) or in contact, efforts should be made to limit this contact if it cannot be avoided altogether, and organisers and National Governing Bodies should consider all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including whether the activity really needs to proceed. In cases where such an activity does proceed, mitigating actions must be put in place to minimise risk and keep participants safe, including the following:
- The relevant NGB gives due regard to the guidance contained in this, the Welsh Government’s ‘Sport, Recreation and Leisure Guidance: guidance for a safe return to sport and exercise’.
- The activity should take place under the relevant NGB’s oversight and in accordance with the relevant NGB’s safeguarding policies and procedures, with particular consideration to the needs of children and young people under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults.
- The NGB has in place an action plan for the sport and any related guidance, demonstrating its mitigations (taking into account the principles and advice set out in this guidance), how it plans to operate, and any adaptations required. The sport specific action plan and risk mitigation proposal must recognise that practice may need to be adapted or curtailed and this information communicated to participants swiftly, if the overall threat level or community prevalence of COVID-19, dictates.
- The NGB’s action plan should:
- focus on providing sporting activity involving as few participants as possible, for the minimum amount of time, whilst still allowing the activity to run effectively. This may also require a change to game formats, numbers and/or rules to minimise risk to participants;
- provide an assessment of the transmission risk that a return to competitive recreational activity represents based on three key variables:
- Droplet transmission: The risk associated with each action in an activity based on duration and proximity of participants. By using the framework, sports can determine the risk of actions in their match play environment – anything, for example, from tackling, to bowling, to re-start – which will then determine the overall level of risk of taking part in that sport.
- Fomite transmission: The risk associated with the handling and transfer of equipment in the sport.
- Population: The number of participants likely to take part in the proposed activity plus known risk factors of participants with underlying health conditions or high risk groups, who wish to participate (please refer to the Welsh Government’s guidance on shielding and on people at increased risk from coronavirus. Based on this overall risk profile some recreational sports will be lower risk than others and better suited to return to competitive play earlier with or without adaptation.
These mitigating actions apply equally to any organised activities outside the direct oversight of a sport NGB – for example, an activity organised by a business, a public body, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, or a club or political organisation. In these situations, the organising body is responsible for having due regard to this guidance. Section 3 of this guidance, entitled, ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ provides more information on the preparations required.
Key principles - prior to activity
Each club must only return to sport when they have the appropriate measures in place as developed by the NGB in accordance with this Welsh Government guidance.
All recreational clubs must develop a COVID-19 plan and risk assessment prior to activity. Preparation should include those in charge of the session taking part in specific training, as necessary, and participants being asked to consider if their underlying health, may caution against participation. Please refer to the relevant section of the ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ for more information to help you prepare.
All reasonable measures must be taken to ensure physical distancing is maintained at all times on regulated premises whilst people are gathered for organised activities.
Test, Trace, Protect
NGBs and clubs should ensure that activity organisers are aware of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy and of their organisation’s requirements to comply with that strategy, as well as the associated GDPR implications of retaining and making available people’s personal information as needed, both in terms of officials and players in the recreational sport setting. It should be noted that swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities, it is a legal requirement to collect and retain contact information for 21 for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
Activity organisers should support Test, Trace, Protect by collecting information on participants at both training and matches. Each sport / NGB will determine in their action plan or guidance the process their sport will go through to enable Test, Trace, Protect efforts to happen, by clearly explaining the way in which all information on participants will be collected at both training and matches.
Pre-attendance official symptom check
All participants, officials, and volunteers should undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in sport if they, or someone they live with, is symptomatic, has been tested positive for the virus - or suspects they may have been exposed to the virus. They should immediately self-isolate (as well as their household and extended household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a Coronavirus test. Further information is available: guidance for households with possible coronavirus and daily contact tracing check: symptoms, guidance and support.
Activity organisers should ensure, upon arrival, that participants have completed a self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms. Entry should be refused to anyone who is unable to provide assurance that they have done so and that to the best of their knowledge it is safe for them to take part. Anyone refused entry on this basis must be instructed to immediately self-isolate and to follow the steps set out above.
Participants will be made aware of any increased risk associated with taking part in activity, based on the assessment undertaken by the governing or organising body. They should also be strongly advised to follow Welsh Government advice on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus outside the sports setting, to reduce the risk to their fellow participants when they do attend.
Travel to training and matches
Participants to be encouraged to follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport (but complying with the mandatory use of face coverings where public transport is necessary) and limiting car sharing. Walk or cycle if you can.
Arrival at venues
Clubs should strictly limit the time spent congregating at a venue before activity begins and physical distancing must be applied at such times. Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings by persons over 11 years of age are required during any time spent indoors prior to, during and after training/the match. Meet-up times should reflect this. This includes arriving changed and ready to begin the warm up, if possible, to minimise time spent waiting.
Key principles - during activity
Physical distancing in play
All activities must adhere to physical distancing throughout warm-ups and avoid equipment sharing. The sport specific action plan must address the issue of how the sport can best mitigate the risk of lack of physical distancing in competitive matches and training.
Having completed the droplet transmission risk assessment each sport may introduce ‘COVID-19 adaptations’ to lower the frequency of activities that cannot be done whilst physically distanced. Avoid unnecessary breaking of physical distancing such as pre-game handshakes, huddles, and celebrations.
Physical distancing during breaks and post-game
All participants must remain physically distanced during breaks in play with spaced areas for equipment and refreshment storage for each individual including officials and substitutes. Coaching staff and substitutes, should, for example, spread out and avoid sharing a dug-out or bench if physical distancing cannot be observed.
Water bottles or other refreshment containers, should in no circumstances be shared. Participants are advised to bring their own, in a named container.
After activity participants must maintain physical distancing for social interaction.
Use of equipment
Sports should give consideration on how to protect participants in relation to all equipment use and the risk of transmission. Sharing of equipment should be avoided where possible, particularly that used around the head and face e.g. helmets. Where equipment is shared, equipment must be cleaned to the appropriate standard before use according to guidance by another person. Check the latest guidance on cleaning.
Participants should take their kit home to wash it themselves, rather than have one person handling a large quantity of soiled materials. Where kit absolutely has to be shared or kept together (e.g. last minute stand-in players, shortage of kit, or an essential club function), each person handling it must wash or sanitise their hands immediately after.
For sports where a common ball needs to be handled by multiple players (e.g. basketball, cricket, or football) a risk-reduction plan is required.
Match officials, medics and coaches
Match officials should observe the governing body guidance in the same way as participants are required to. Match officials must remain physically distanced from players where possible during play. Should match officials, and in particular medics, not be able to remain physically distanced due to their role in the sport, their sport should conduct a risk assessment to see if other mitigations may be necessary (e.g. appropriate personal protective equipment).
Adherence to measures
A code of behaviour should be developed by each sport to ensure a commitment for all involved to adhere to COVID-19 adaptations. Match officials will be empowered to ensure measures are adhered to through appropriate sanctions designed by the NGB. Participants must be clear that they are opting in to participating as defined in the sport-specific guidance with regard to risk and risk mitigation.
Injuries during play should still be treated as participant wellbeing is utmost. The best way to protect yourself and others is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene. An increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and equipment, using standard household cleaning and disinfection products, is recommended. Face coverings are also advisable when undertaking treatment.
After contact with an injured participant, clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This advice is applicable to all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact or the minimum two metre physical distancing was maintained. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose. Physios or their equivalent, should keep a record of each participant they have come into contact with for Test, Trace, Protect purposes.
Supporters and other spectators should be limited at this stage to only those persons who absolutely need to attend, e.g. parents or guardians of children who require their attendance for health or safeguarding reasons. These spectators are to remain physically distanced from each other and from the area of play whilst attending events, including accessing and leaving the venue, use of any facilities (wearing face coverings as appropriate where facilities are indoors) and whilst watching game play.
For sports reliant on third party owned or managed facilities, adherence to these guidelines should be worked out collaboratively between club and facility. Facility operators should refer to the full guidance in the ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ section of this guidance, which includes principles to prepare for a safe return to training and play, and the safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities. Responsibility for the requirement to take preventative measures to minimise risk on regulated premises rests with the “responsible person”. For the purposes of the regulations, that person is the person responsible for the premises.
Movement on site
All venues must have entry, exit and parking arrangements that ensures physical distancing can be maintained. They must display the appropriate signage that complies with the Equality Act 2010, and have other appropriate measures in place for people with protected characteristics, to facilitate physical distancing at all points throughout the facility and car park, and will:
- implement traffic flow systems where possible and appropriate.
- outline physically distanced areas for teams, officials and spectators.
- ensure that all accessible provision within the site and the facility are available.
Changing rooms and showers
Changing rooms and showers are an area of increased risk of transmission and their use should be avoided, where possible. All venues should encourage players to arrive at the facility in sports kit and, where possible, to travel home to change/shower.
If changing rooms and showers are to be used, for example after swimming, water sports or activities during inclement weather, users should use the facilities as quickly as possible and the following measures will usually be needed:
- Where mains water has been turned off or unused since the close of the premises at lockdown, when it is reconnected it will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residues built up while the water supply was disconnected (see additional guidance in section 4, ‘Principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities’.
- Set clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items, controlling the number of individuals using those facilities at any one time to ensure compliance with the rules on indoor gatherings, that physical distancing is achieved as much as possible, and requiring the wearing of face coverings (as appropriate) for those aged 11 and over.
- Consider closing communal showers if possible.
- Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.
- For additional reassurance, prove cleaning materials and hand sanitiser for customer use at touch points.
- Provide additional signposting in these areas to maintain physical distancing.
- Considering changes in policies to ensure limited time is taken in changing areas, especially during the changeover of group activity to maintain physical distancing.
Toilets will need to be opened pre-match, during the match and for 30 minutes following the match. Toilets should be cleaned regularly in line with the information provided in the relevant section “keeping facilities clean” in the ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ section of this guidance, and capacity should be managed via entry and exit and to allow for the two metres physical distancing to be maintained.
Participants must be encouraged to refrain from spitting or rinsing out their mouths on or around the playing area.
Clubhouses and hospitality
Venues will only use clubhouses and hospitality facilities in line with the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations and with due regard to Welsh Government guidance on hospitality settings.
If facilities remain closed, exceptions must be made for essential activity such as provision of first-aid or access to essential equipment for the match.
The UK Government has published a team sports risk exposure framework to inform risk mitigation strategies, and proposals to assist in the mitigation of transmission of COVID-19 during sporting activities. National Governing Bodies might find this useful as a template for their own plans but should note that the physical distancing requirements in Wales differ from those in England and should be applied if this framework is adopted.