BWSW COVID-19 Updated Guidance & Move to a Tiered System of Restrictions
Update - 11th January 2021
GB Squad Members – COVID-19 Legislation and Elite Athlete Status
We thought it important to clarify for all involved in the sport to include our competitors, parents and coaches the situation re COVID and athlete status / training.
We have had a number of enquiries from GB Squad members asking for permission to train at BWSW clubs and centres during the national lockdown. Unfortunatley this is not something BWSW can endorse, as under the Coronavirus Legislation for Elite Sports, we do not fulfil the requirements as a sport.
Under the current legislation the definition of an “elite athlete’ is:
• an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport
• a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body
• a member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body, or
• on an elite development pathway.
For these purposes, a “relevant sporting body” is the national governing body of a sport which may nominate athletes to represent either (a) Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo, or the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Beijing, or (b) England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in those sports which are not part of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games programme.
A “senior representative” means a person who is considered by a relevant sporting body to be a candidate to qualify to compete on behalf of (a) Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo or Beijing, or (b) England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in those sports which are not part of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games programme.
An “elite development pathway” means a development pathway established by the national governing body of a sport to prepare athletes (a) so that they may derive a living from competing in that sport, or (b) to compete in that sport in the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Unfortunately because we do not have any athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics or the Common Wealth Games, and we do not have athletes who derive their living from competing within the ambit of these rules, this means our athletes are not eligible to be considered under this guidance.
Even if our sport did fall within these guidelines, we also have the added complexity that the Elite sport requirements also require us to approve centres for training, provide COVID Officers and instigate a full testing regime for athletes and supporting officials – which is something that we cannot undertake as such a small sport with limited resources.
Everyone needs to abide by government guidelines on essential travel / staying at home and social distancing - BWSW is not able to provide any endorsement to anyone to do otherwise.
Update – 5th January 2021
All members will no doubt be aware that following on from yesterday’s announcement re a national lockdown for England due to the escalating COVID-19 situation, outdoor sports venues must close with immediate effect. The new Government guidance clearly states:
Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.
Everyone should follow the guidance with immediate effect. We will of course follow the situation on behalf of our clubs and members and update everyone as to any changes in the guidance.
Update – 21st December
Following the government announcement on 19 December, the Tier 3 areas in London, the South East and the East of England moved into a new Tier 4 from the morning of 20 December.
The announcement was to the effect that restrictions broadly similar to the November lockdown restrictions will apply (during the November lockdown outdoor sports were not allowed). The new guidance now published (link below) in fact states that COVID compliant outdoor sport facilities can remain open which obviously is a significant variance from the November lockdown. New regulations once issued may give further clarity.
However, there are some major differences from the way outdoor sports facilities were operating previously - the social gathering rule which allowed groups of up to 6 to meet outside no longer applies. The new Tier 4 guidance is clear that you can only exercise or visit a public outdoor place (which includes outdoor sports facilities):
- by yourself
- with the people you live with; or
- when on your own, with one person from another household (but socially distanced).
This means that it is possible to ski/ride behind a boat with a driver who is from another household (but with no observer in the boat (unless in the same household as the driver)). Cable skiers can ride provided that the are on their own and socially distanced while queuing at the start dock with no social interaction.
To reiterate, because its fundamental, there can be no social mixing of any sort: Arrive, Ski/Ride, Leave.
Obviously all other existing requirements as regards eg superior hygiene, cleaning regimes in changing rooms (if it is necessary for them to open) remain. Changing rooms should be avoided to the extent possible to avoid the seriously increased transmission risk. It may be that further guidance is issued in this respect.
Travel is permitted to exercise but journeys must be within tier 4 and kept short wherever possible.
Our net take on this is that it is possible for outdoor sport facilities to operate. However if this can only be done with skiers/riders congregating it should not happen. The regime allowed through eg the rule of six is not permitted and systems whereby eg a skier/rider remains in the car park until immediately before their turn need to be rigorously observed. It will be for each club/operator to decide whether they (and their skiers/riders) are prepared/can do this. Skiing/riding is permitted but no one should proceed if they do not at the same time accept that serious protocols need to be observed. Such protocols would then need to be strictly adhered to throughout the Tier 4 restriction period.
We will see if further guidance can be obtained from Sport England and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as regards this analysis. We will also be in further touch once the relevant regulations are published.
Update – 4th December
In light of recent changes to a tiered system of restrictions BWSW releases water ski, wakeboard and cable wakeboard COVID-19 guidance for the safe operation of the sport:
Update – 2nd December
The Government has announced grassroots sport, activity and leisure facilities will be more widely opened this week following the end of the current lockdown on 2nd December. Sport can return providing social distancing remains in place, although there will be some restrictions on highest-risk activity in tier three areas. Changing rooms are also a continuing area of focus - changing rooms can open but there are strict compliance requirements and operators should encourage participants to avoid and minimise use where possible. Links to the latest guidance are detailed below:
View grassroots sport guidance for the public and sports providers
View guidance on safe provision including organised sport events
View guidance for those who work in grassroots sport and sport facilities
Sporting activities are permitted despite wider restrictions because of the benefits of sport and physical activity for people’s physical and mental wellbeing. If people act irresponsibly when participating in sport (including off the water, and when socialising before and after any activity) they jeopardise public health and undermine the case for the safe provision of our sport to take place.
We all have a duty of care to ensure that clubs and centres are running their activities safely, and the safe provision and enjoyment of the sport takes place.