|Yesterday the Government published an action plan to contain the possible spread of the coronavirus.
We know that many of our members have raised questions around staging events, participation and combating the spread of the virus. Alongside DCMS, we have pulled together the latest information to provide with you with an update on how the sector can respond.
Many of you are proceeding rapidly with your contingency planning. Some are just beginning that process in earnest.
Either way, the following ‘ABC’ may help shape your approach. There should be no presumption that one stage will automatically lead to the next, but it is best practice to think about the different scenarios that may emerge.
A: As you are. Our current state.
- There is no need to cancel or postpone your events at this time;
- Reassure your athletes, stakeholders, and customers, building on the latest Public Health England advice;
- Examine your insurance policies to see what cover you may have should the situation evolve;
- Remain mindful of guidance on infection control in the workplace – catch it, kill it, bin it;
- Take sensible steps to discourage staff with flu-like symptoms from coming to work;
- Notify the DCMS sport team if you are contemplating postponing or cancelling events – sportsCOVID19@culture.gov.uk
B: Behind closed doors If the Government finds it necessary to curb travel or large gatherings of people, this is particularly a possible scenario for spectator sports.
- Consider broadcast options and contractual arrangements, if relevant;
- Be mindful of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice which may make it more difficult to bring athletes and their teams into the country;
- Examine your supply chain arrangements, particularly for equipment, and explore contingency plans;
- Determine the minimum number of staff required to safely stage an event and how you would ensure their wellbeing and manage logistics;
- Make an assessment of the economic impact of lost revenue and share this analysis with the DCMS Sport team – sportsCOVID19@culture.gov.uk
C: Cancellation, curtailment, or postponement if the Government finds it necessary to impose restrictions which make staging an event or providing a service impossible.
- Consider how you would resolve your remaining fixtures and conclude your competition, workforce health permitting;
- Consider how you would deal with cancelled classes, membership, season tickets etc. Make an assessment of the economic impact of lost revenue and share this analysis with the DCMS Sport team.
- Please also take every step to help keep our nation active. Being fit and healthy can reduce the risk of infection in the first place. Think creatively about how we can maintain activity levels in such a scenario, looking out for steers from Sport England.
Latest government guidance
The following tailored advice for our sector has been developed. This advises:
- There is presently no rationale to close or cancel sporting events, but this may change as the situation evolves, so please keep a close eye on Gov.uk.
- Anyone with flu-symptoms should avoid the risk of spreading their infection, whatever that infection may be, by staying at home and recovering;
- For those hosting sporting events, whatever the size, attendees and participants should stay up to date on the government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus, which is here;
- As the situation progresses advice may follow for the frail, elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions (to be defined) to stay away from gatherings as part of general advice aimed at minimising unnecessary contact with others;
- For those travelling to sporting events overseas, the Foreign Office’s travel advice should be followed here and travellers should note that apart from the countries and territories named in that advice, the government is not presently advising against travel to anywhere else;
- For those who offer community and leisure services, such as running a local football team; or running a gym; hand hygiene should be strongly promoted and encouraged and equipment and facilities should be thoroughly cleaned and wiped down as usual following use. The government is planning to publish specific advice on this shortly;
- There is presently no reason people should stop doing their daily sport and physical activities as they normally would;
The Sport and Recreation Alliance would like to reiterate the importance of following advice from Public Health England and Gov.uk when you have queries relating to the impact of coronavirus. Hopefully the guidance above will have answered many of your questions.
As we all know, sport and activity play a vital role in maintaining health and wellbeing, and we will provide further updates when appropriate. Many thanks for your co-operation.