Guidance for providers of outdoor facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation in England
Any facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities were permitted to reopen Outdoor sports courts are allowed to be open if those responsible for them can open them safely.
This included basketball and tennis courts, playing spaces like golf courses (public and private) and playing fields and water sports. However outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will remain closed.
Each venue, including council-owned sports facilities, should make their own decisions about when their facilities are ready.
Principles to help organisations prepare for a phased return to play
Working to ensure the activity can meet public health guidelines
All activity should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene.
That means that participants and others can maintain a safe 2 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 have been exposed to the virus does not take part and remains at home.
Consider the whole end-to-end ‘user journey’ when planning safe operating practices; this means all activities from the time of arrival on site to leaving, not just the sporting activity.
Communicating clearly and consistently
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 confusion.
Organisations should also communicate clearly 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 and organisations should consider this as part of their work to encourage people to return.
Flexibility and innovation
Organisations should be ready to strengthen or relax measures at short notice. Organisations are encouraged to think creatively about how best to make their sport or activity possible within these guidelines.
The limit on gatherings - no more than 6, unless (for example) members of the same household - means that it is unlikely to be possible to organise amateur events or competitions at this time.
Reopening your outdoors sports facility
You should only reopen or restart activities as soon as you feel able to do so safely. Until you feel it is safe and responsible to reopen you should remain closed.
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. For the latest information on the scheme refer to the guidance.
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.
Managing large groups
The government is clear that sports participation should be restricted to participants exercising by themselves, with members from their same household, or in a group of no more than 5 other people from other households, while observing social distancing guidelines. Venues are advised to display signs to this effect.
The police have been given powers to enforce these measures.
Costs of reopening
The government will not 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 this time.
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. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.
Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between use, using your usual cleaning products, is advised. As is clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from work areas at the end of shifts.
Maintaining hygiene, through handwashing, sanitisation facilities and toilets
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. Consider how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments
- 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 toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved
- Enhancing cleaning for busy areas
- Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection
- Using disposable paper towels in handwashing facilities where possible
- Minimising use of portable toilets
- Provision of automated hand sanitising dispensers in public places
- Ensuring that takeaway catering facilities can be used in a safe way that maintains social distancing and hygiene
Keeping staff and customers safe
The Government has published guidance to help workplaces operate as safely as possible. You should refer to this guidance.
Five key points, to be implemented as soon as is practical are:
- Taking all reasonable steps to enable people to work from home, but for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work
- Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
- Maintaining 2 metres social distancing, such as by re-designing spaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people or by opening more entrances and exits
- Reinforcing cleaning processes, cleaning more frequently and paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards
For staff only:
- Where people cannot be 2 metres apart at all times, managing transmission risk, for example by creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other
You should also provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to visitors on arrival; for example, signage and visual aids.
Public Health England has advised maintaining 2 metres (6ft) to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus.
Protective equipment for staff
When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial.
Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you should provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.
Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 except in clinical or care settings (first aid rooms) or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Where you are already using protective equipment (including PPE) at your facilities to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.
Face coverings for staff
If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with if you are infected but have not developed symptoms. Face coverings do not replace social distancing.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature) you and your household should isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers; these should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions. It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.
Entering a building to access outdoor courts, use the toilet, or purchase food and drink
If you opt to open your building for these purposes, there are a number of things you can do to help minimise risks and avoid accidental gatherings.
Ensure clear signage is in place so people can find their destination quickly. Looking at how people walk through your building and consider how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact between customers. For example, queue management or one-way flow, where possible. Using outside premises for queuing where available and safe, for example car parks.
Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas. Limiting the number of customers in the building, overall and in any particular congestion areas, for example doorways between outside and inside spaces. See New guidance on spending time outdoors.
Restaurants, changing rooms and car parks
Bars and restaurants will need to stay closed until further notice. See further guidance on business closures in England.
If there is the capacity and resource to be in a position to serve takeaway food and drinks, then hot and cold food may be served for consumption off the premises (i.e. outside of the building).
At till points, consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash. Also ensure the two metre social distancing between customers and servers when food or drink is handed over. Also consider using screens at till points.
Indoor facilities, apart from toilets and through-ways, should be kept closed.
You may reopen car parks if you need to.
Source Gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-providers-of-outdoor-facilities-on-the-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation#introduction