The latest national lockdown guidance for England states that "Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close." The CA therefore advises croquet clubs to close until the restrictions are lifted.
The new Tier 4 areas face tighter restrictions. The government's guidance states that outdoor sports courts can remain open for individual exercise, and for people to use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force interprets this to mean that, for clubs or players in Tier 4 areas, only one game of singles should take place on a court, unless the players are members of a family group or support bubble.
Apart from elite sport, organised outdoor sport is only permitted for under 18s and disabled people. Accordingly the CA's tournament guidance does not apply in Tier 4 and tournaments, team matches, etc. should not be held.
The guidance for other tiers is unaffected, but clubs and players should be aware of the increased risk of transmission by the new strain of the virus.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force has reviewed the guidance published since the Prime Minister announced that tiered restrictions would resume at the end of the national lockdown, which runs until 1st December.
Its interpretation is that croquet clubs in any tier in England can re-open to play outdoors from 2nd December, under the guidance for play that was issued after the first lockdown was lifted. In particular, only groups of 6 or fewer people can socialise, and only outdoors in tiers 2 and 3. There are tier-dependent restrictions on serviing food or drink: clubs in tier 1 can serve food, or alcohol with table service; tier 2 can serve food, but alcohol only with a substantial meal; tier 3 can only provide takeaways.
Despite lobbying by the CA and other individual recreational sports, the regulations for the Covid-19 lockdown that starts at 00.01 on Thursday, 5th November, for 28 days, appear to require croquet clubs in England to close, along with other outdoor sports amenities.
In the absence of any official support for a contrary interpretation, the CA's Coronavirus Task Force strongly advises clubs to cease play for that period. However, its understanding is that lawn maintenance, whether by employed staff, contractors, or volunteers, can continue.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force has reviewed its advice in the light of the regulations for local Covid alert levels, which came into force in England today. Other nations have their own regulations, and those for very high alert level areas in England are subject to additional restrictions imposed locally, which it does not propose to track.
The regulations are set out seperately for Medium, High and Very High alert level areas, but our assessment is that none of them require any change to our guidance for club play involving six or fewer people outdoors. That guidance is published in both PDF and MS-Word formats.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force considers that its current advice for club and tournament play still meets the new restrictions imposed on September 22nd. There are, however, changes if a club is providing food and drink, whether that is in the normal course of its operation or just at a single tournament or event, which should now be observed. These are noted in an appendix to an updated version of the general guidelines to clubs and players, which is published in both PDF and MS-Word formats.
Businesses or community organisations with a physical location that is open to the public are now required to display an NHS QR code poster, but it seems unclear how far that applies to private members' clubs.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force is now satisfied, from information published on Sport England's website, that previously authorised sports activities can continue, despite the introduction of the "rule of 6" for social groups. The guidelines for clubs and players have been updated to emphasise the need for restricting social interaction and are published in both PDF and MS-Word formats. The Guidance to Clubs and Tournament Managers has also been updated. The previous prohibition on use of corner pegs/offside markers and flags has been relaxed.
Following the Government's announcement this afternoon (Wed 9th Sept) the CA's Emergency Taskforce thinks that the current Covid guidance for play at clubs and for holding tournaments will not need any substantial revision. However, no updated Government guidance has been published yet by the DCMS so we will check the CA's guidance again once all the details are available.
The Guidance to Clubs and Tournament Managers for holding tournaments in England during Covid-19, which was published on 23rd July, has been further updated (in paragraph 1 to define a "tournament" and in paragraph 6 to insert "full-size" in "allotted court"). There is a cumulative change log at the end.
The Guidance to Clubs and Tournament Managers for holding tournaments in England during Covid-19, which was published on 23rd July, has been further updated (in paragraph 10(x)) to add a requirement to log contact details of spectators, to aid contact tracing if necessary.
The Guidance to Clubs and Tournament Managers for holding tournaments in England during Covid-19 has been updated in line with recent changes to government advice, which allows for events with larger entries than the groups of six permitted for social play, provided that they are held under guidelines issued by national governing bodies and approved by DCMS. The new guidelines are both permissive, in that it is up to clubs to decide what
size of entry and style of organisation is appropriate to their circumstances (and so they can choose to continue holding events under the previous guidelines), and restrictive, in that they must not exceed them.
The updated guidance also includes a change to tournament regulations, which suspends, for the remainder of the 2020 season, the deduction of 50 grade points for not having played sufficient games, when making decisions about allocation, selection and seeding.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force is grateful to the representatives of the tournament committees who have prepared these guidelines.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force is aware the areas of Leicester are currently subject to more restrictive lockdown regulations than the rest of England. However, it does not intend to provide specific advice for every local lockdown that is imposed. They are likely to have different conditions and information will be more easily accessible by local officials, who will also be more aware of the circumstances in their area.
Guidance to clubs and tournament managers about running tournaments during the current stage of the Covid-19 pandemic has been updated, in the light of changes to government advice since it was published. The general guidance to clubs and players has been further updated in response to queries about the version published on 30th June and is published in both PDF and MS-Word formats.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force has updated its general guidelines to clubs and players in the light of the relaxation of the lockdown regulations that is to take effect from 4th July in England. The revised guidelines are published in both PDF and MS-Word formats, together with a checklist of items which clubs could consider when performing a risk assessment, again in both PDF and MS-Word formats.
The major change relates to the possibility of re-opening catering and bar facilities and the requirement to keep a record of contact details of all people entering the club for at least 21 days. The ban on roll-up or public sessions has been lifted provided that is done. Little has changed regarding play, except that the advice against using clips and chairs has been removed, but they should be cleaned in accordance with the club's practice for other playing equipment.
The Coronavirus Task Force is to meet on Monday, 29th June, to review the latest government advice and it intends to publish a further update once any queries arising from that discussion have been resolved.
Guidance to clubs and tournament managers about running tournaments during the current stage of the Covid-19 pandemic has been published, following approval by DCMS. The Coronavirus Task Force is grateful for the work of the representatives of the tournament committees who drafted and submitted it.
Representatives of the CA tournament committees have drafted guidelines for the possible resumption of tournaments and have submitted them to DCMS for a ruling as to what is permissible under the current lockdown regulations.
Information about a potential new source of publicly funded grants for clubs in England has been published.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force has reviewed the updated government advice on social interaction issued on 28th May, consulted DCMS about it, and updated its guidelines to clubs and players, with effect from 1st June for clubs in England.
The Cabinet Office have since issued a FAQ which may be helpful: it even mentions croquet in the heading to section 1.5!
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force has reviewed the further government advice that has been issued over the past few days, but it relates to elite sport (defined as professional, or relating to Olympic or Commonwealth Games events) and shopping, rather than amateur or community sport. It is not, therefore, updating its guidelines for clubs opening at present, but is clarifying their applicability to recruitment and coaching.
Whether a club accepts new members or not is the decision of its committee. So long as the club has adequate precautions in place to safely follow the guidelines and new members are fully aware of that guidance, then there is no reason why not. The club should also make sure that it has proper records of its new members in the event of having to do contact tracing, It is also perfectly acceptable for a club to decide that it would prefer not to accept new members in the current situation.
One-to-one coaching is permitted at present, providing coach and student remain 2m apart, but the CA's guidance is that group coaching is currently not permissible.
A statement about scheduling of CA run tournaments has also been issued.
The CA Coronavirus Task Force has been strengthened by the addition of Beatrice McGlen to its number. She has been liaising with the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), who have now reviewed our guidelines to clubs and players.
The CA Coronavirus Task Force has updated its guidance to clubs and players and about re-opening clubs in the light of more specific Government guidance and consultation with the CA's and clubs' insurers.
Following government statements and publications yesterday and today the CA Coronavirus Task Force is seeking further clarification and is considering whether or not it is possible that the playing of croquet, along with other sports, can resume in England from Wednesday. It hopes to be able to make a statement on the matter tomorrow. In the event that play at clubs can resume appropriate guidance will be provided about precautions clubs should take to mitigate the risk of passing on the virus when they are permitted to open.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force plans to meet on 11th May, to decide what further advice to give in the light of whatever is announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday. In the meantime, it has been in consultation with the
Sport & Recreation Alliance about the possibility of croquet resuming and drafting guidelines to minimise risks when that becomes possible.
A news item drawing attention to advice from the National Cyber Security Centre about the security implications of using VideoConferencing software has been published.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force considered the anticipated announcement of the Government's review of the lockdown, but has not changed its advice.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force met (by Zoom) this morning with the chairmen of the Tournaments Committees to review the situation in the light of the anticipated extension of the lockdown next week. It decided to maintain its current position that CA Tournaments scheduled to take place up to the end of May have been cancelled, but that the position of future ones will be kept under review. An exception is that the AC Veterans Championship has been cancelled after discussion with the host club. Further information and advice was published in an Easter Update.
The CA has obtained advice from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that people, whether contractors or volunteers, are permitted to travel to conduct essential lawn maintenance, to prevent long term damage. The same news item also contains information about grants from Sport England for community sports clubs in difficulty.
Having used Zoom within the CA for virtual meetings, we have recorded a short YouTube tutorial to show how to join a call, navigate the controls within a call, and how to schedule a meeting. Hopefully this will prove useful for clubs and Federations - either to organise your own committeee meetings, or arrange 'keep-in-touch' sessions within your membership.
The CA has decided that it is no longer feasible to hold National Croquet Week on the intended dates, but will keep in mind the possiblity of rescheduling it later in the year if that becomes an option.
A separate news item has been published summarising the CA's response to the outbreak in a message from the Chairman of Council..
The CA Coronavirus Task Force has reviewed the Government advice issued on 23rd March.
Its interpretation is that all clubs must cease play for at least the next three weeks, but maintenance such as grass cutting can still continue provided that social distancing measures are implemented.
CA organised tournaments have been cancelled until the end of May. It recommends that Clubs and Federations should also cancel all competitive play until then, to give certainty to players. Further guidance about how to do this using the online tournament entry system will be sent to Tournament Secretaries.
CA staff will be working from home. E-mail can be used as normal and an answerphone service has been set up on the Office phoneline, which will alert staff when a message is left there.
The CA Shop is physically closed. Its website is still accepting online orders. Delivery of items may be delayed.
This advice will be reviewed on an on-going basis as further information becomes available.
The Government has issued the following advice.
"From this evening people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.
Shops selling non-essential goods will also be shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together prohibited.
If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship must also close immediately.
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed."
Many clubs located within municipal parks will have found that their landlords have closed them for the foreseeable future. Others landlords are also closing their recreational facilities.
It is all our interests that we follow the advice and distance ourselves from anyone when outside and ensure maximum hygiene measures. Indoor gatherings must be discouraged.
The CA will follow this advice and recommends all clubs to ask their members to do the same.
The CA organisation is run by a large number of volunteers and this will continue. Please contact the CA via email using the usual address. If you leave a message on the CA telephone answer machine, someone will get back to you as soon as is practicable.
Stay safe and we will get through this.
A further update will be posted here on Tuesday once the details of our new way of working are known.
Chairman Executive Board
Government advice has strengthened over the last few days, so clubs and individual players are advised to review their position in the light of it. In particular, this press release, asks businesses serving food or drink, and indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms, to close, and urges people to stay at home unless they need to get essential supplies, or at least only travel when necessary.
The CA's Coronavirus Task Force has been considering the financial impact of this on clubs and has introduced an Emergency Assistance Scheme for Clubs and Tournament Entry Fee Donation Scheme in an attempt to mitigate it.
The schedules for Inter-Club competitions have also been revised.
Based on the Government advice yesterday, all CA Tournaments and Coaching are suspended until further notice. CA Tournaments and Coaching refers to those events for which the CA is responsible for organising, such as the Inter-Counties. Typically these are highlighted in bold in the Fixtures Book.
The other Tournaments are created and owned by clubs and Federations, who are responsible for organising them.
CA Tournaments planned until end May are cancelled or postponed. It may be possible for these to be re-arranged to dates later in the season.
Clubs and Federations are asked to consider their own competitive programmes and other activities (coaching, etc) and are urged to follow the Government advice. Detailed advice on refunds of Tournament entry fees has already been published. Further updates will be published on the CA website.
Chairman Executive Board
The CA's current stance with regard to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is that members adhere to the advice being given by the Public Health England (PHE) and Government agencies.
The Government has declared that the nation has moved to the 'delay' phase of this pandemic and made specific proposals that the nation must take. PHE has declared that the risk level to the UK has been raised to high. The Government is providing regular updates at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response.
Concerned members should refer to this link for detailed advice and up-to-minute Press Releases.
Based on these assessments, the CA recommends that its members consider their own circumstances and take necessary precautions for their own health and well-being.
Tournament Managers & Club Secretaries have been given advice on how to manage Tournament Entries and Withdrawals. Specific advice about the impact of Coronavirus on Tournaments has been published, including information about how to withdraw from events if players need to.
The CA has set up a task force to manage the affairs directly related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Task Force consists of:
Roger Staples (Chairman Executive Board)
Jonathan Isaacs (Chairman of Council)
Ian Vincent (Hon Secretary)
Ian Burridge (Incoming Hon Treasurer)
Mark Suter (CA Manager)
Members of various Committees will be consulted by the task force as appropriate to their particular function.
Advice to the croquet community will be posted on the CA website. CA Committees, Federations, Clubs & Players should check the website regularly for updates.
Any further updates specifically relating to the Croquet community will be posted on the Home page of the CA website.