What is the RI Ulster Branch doing to prepare for the easing of restrictions?

Like other Branches of Rowing Ireland, we are working along with the Rowing Ireland COVID-19 working group to refresh protocols, educate members/clubs and as indicated by Sport Northern Ireland to consider sanctions in case of poor practice in clubs!  To explain… Indicative dates mean nothing until confirmed at an executive review. The next review will be after Easter.

What do the latest regulations say?

New regulations (Amendment 6) are now published and do not change Social Distancing. It has been said however that clubs can open outdoor facilities for limited exercise from 1 April.

What is the plan for easing of restrictions?

There are 2 infographics attached. The first shows preparation required for Stage 2, and the second shows the early parts of stage 2, which begins on 1st April.  Clubs should study these and use the information to help members understand the situation.

Are clubs allowed to open before 1 April?

No, unless they are offering purely activity for Elite athletes, as defined in the Travel regulations in 2020.

What changes from 1 April?

Phase 2 begins. There is no rush to open. When preparation is complete, clubs affiliated to the governing body can open their outside facilities.  The stay-at-home message becomes ‘stay local’, which allows you to travel to your local club, but with no car sharing. One group of up to 10 from max 2 households can use the club site, followed by another when they leave that part of site/go afloat etc. There will be no mixed household crews, and access is only for exercise. Indoor facilities all remain closed except for access to boats, and essential toilets. Activity for Elite athletes can continue as before. Hands- Face- Space and social distancing measures must remain fully in force. Sports clubs are very much in the spotlight as other sectors are not yet able to operate, so compliance is critical, and breaches will bring sport into disrepute and may lead to further restrictions. Clubs are expected to nominate a COVID Leader and to consider what sanctions can be imposed on any breaches of guidance.

What will Phase 2(a) allow?

This will allow a group (from affiliated clubs) of 15 adults (including coach) or several groups of juniors depending on age, but with groups not mixing. There is no household limit, but social distancing still applies, so no mixed household crews, and for training only. Indoor facilities all remain closed except for access to boats, and essential toilets. No car sharing, gatherings, socialising, parents hanging about etc. No group mixing, no inter-club or organised competition. Phase 2a has an indicative start date of 12 April, so this may change, but at least clubs can plan and risk assess.

When will multi-household crew rowing be allowed?

This depends on social distancing being downgraded from regulations to guidance, unless you can guarantee 2m distance between rowers at all times. If it becomes guidance, we can look at mitigations such as the full crew moving together at all times, PPE for coxes, or same household cox and adjacent rower, as we did before. There is no date or indicative Phase for any of these changes, but it is hoped there may be some progress during Phase 2b.

When will indoor training be allowed?

Phase 3 provisionally allows for indoor activity, but like Phase 2 it will be gradual and in stages, starting with small groups and socially distanced, before allowing bigger groups, more access, and limited competition.

When will outdoor competition be allowed?

Phase 2c provisionally allows for organised or inter-club competition, but with no spectators. Only participants and essential organisers will be allowed to attend, and numbers may be limited. There is no date for this.