Sport Ireland Issues Practical Guidance for Sport on Covid-19 Measures
Following the Government’s announcement on Covid-19 measures on Tuesday, Sport Ireland has engaged with Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht and Department of Health to get further detail in order to provide guidance and advice to sporting organisations on the practical implications of the new guidelines.
Commenting on the guidance, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin TD, said: “Sport and physical activity has played an important role in Ireland’s response to Covid-19 from both a social and wellbeing perspective. It is important that we still have the opportunity to participate and compete, however we need to make sure this is done in a safe manner. I thank everyone for their cooperation and patience as we all tackle Covid-19 together.”
Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, said: “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is difficult for all areas of society and sport is no exception. Together, we all have a role to play in minimising the spread of the virus, while continuing to enjoy our sport and physical activity in a safe manner. I commend the sporting organisations, clubs, volunteers and participants for their efforts in this regard.”
Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, added: “We welcome further clarification from Government around the practical implications of the latest measures on sport, and the acknowledgement by Government of the important role sport plays in the health and wellbeing of the nation. Sporting bodies should continue to remain cautious with regard to activity both on and off the field of play and ensure the rigorous application of public health measures and relevant protocols at all times. The ongoing support for all public health measures by the sport sector is greatly appreciated.”
The following guidance has been issued to all Sport Ireland recognised sporting organisations:
Guideline: Sporting events and matches can continue to take place behind closed doors
- A behind closed doors event can include: ‘Any individual involved in the participation, running, delivery, and broadcasting (if relevant) of the event’
- The 6 indoor /15 outdoor participant restrictions do not apply to competition, events, or tournaments
- National Governing Bodies & Clubs with competition, events, tournaments planned up to 13th September 2020 should go ahead as planned with strict public health measures and protocols in place. No Spectators should attend these events
- Parents/Guardians attending in a safeguarding /supervisory capacity are not classified as a spectator. However, strict social distancing and public health guidelines should be adhered to at all times. In that context, one parent/guardian per child is permitted to attend at a sporting event, including a game or training session, should they consider it necessary. These provisions will be subject to strict protocols which will be issued in the coming days
Guideline: Sport facilities can remain open
Gyms/leisure centres/swimming pools/exercise and dance studios can remain open with strict distancing and other appropriate protective measures in place:
- Total Indoor Gym/Facility/Pool Use can remain at the previous maximum levels of 50 once there is sufficient space available. In addition, facilities should be extra vigilant of potential congestion points such as entrance/exit points, changing rooms and reception areas ensuring that social distancing and other public health measures are maintained at all times
- Organised sports training within indoor facilities can do so in multiple pods of 6 once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place
- Swimming and indoor water based activities can do so in pods/lanes of 6 once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place
Guideline: Exercise and dance classes should be limited to 6 people and observe physical distancing rules
Groups exercising outdoors should be limited to 15 people, including training sessions. There should be no mixing between groups.
- Organised Sports training within indoor facilities can do so in multiple pods of 6 once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place
- Outdoor Exercise & Sports training can do so in multiple pods of 15 once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place
- Sports Summer Camps can do so in multiple pods of 6 (indoor) and 15 (outdoor) once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place
- Indoor Exercise & Dance classes should remain at 6 only as per guidance however may operate multiple pods if sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place
Ratios: Working Example
- For adult activity, coaches & instructors should be included in the pod sizes. For example in outdoor training a ratio of 1:14 could be used. In the case of multiple pods indoors, ratios of 1:11 may be acceptable. Coaches and instructors should not move freely between pods.
- For underage activity, individual safeguarding ratios will depend on the nature of the activity, the age of the participants and any special needs of the group, Sport Ireland’s general guide include 1:8 for under 12 years of age and 1:10 for over 12 years of age. There should be at least one adult of each gender with mixed parties
Should clubs/groups have sport specific queries, these should be directed to the relevant National Governing Body.
Guidance in respect of parent/guardian attendance at underage activity
The recent Regulations announced by Government aim at decreasing the congregation of Groups in social settings and to assist with contact tracing where required. Public health and reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission remains the overarching priority.
It is acknowledged that some parents/guardians may wish to attend sporting events, competition and training in a supervisory capacity. In such cases, parents/guardians are not classified as spectators.
Each sporting organisation will need to determine if they can facilitate such attendance. Sporting organisations who choose to permit attendance should ensure that strict adherence to social distancing and public health guidelines is maintained at all times. At a minimum, the following measures should be implemented by organisers:
- No more than 1 designated individual attending the session per child/family/group of children.
- Overall numbers are kept to a minimum and in line with the space available in the venue/facility.
- Electronic Contact Tracing & Health Questionnaires are completed by parents/guardians in advance of attendance.
Each sporting organisation must ensure that there are robust mechanisms in place to limit overall numbers, assist with contact tracing and implement compliance with social distancing and other public health guidelines.