As I am sure you know, Scotland has moved beyond the protection levels system and the majority of legal restrictions to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic have been removed.
Many of you are now considering how best to resume activities, or how to start reintroducing f2f bridge perhaps alongside on-line competitions.
We obviously wish to do whatever we can to ensure Clubs are best placed to make decisions.
We are minded that the virus has not “gone away” and we are exhorted by Health Protection Scotland to continue to be virus aware while we attempt to rebuild our activities. Even those who have been double vaccinated can still catch, transmit and fall ill from the virus.
This Newsletter, draws on the latest advice from Health Protection Scotland, and references experience and advice from our EBU counterparts.
There are various practical considerations.
- Is there an available venue?
- Have you undertaken a general Covid Risk assessment to ascertain the suitability of the venue?
- Is it practical and feasible for you to resume in these premises?
- Is there likely to be considerable financial outlay which you may be unable to meet, at least in the immediate term?
- If so, you can consider putting in a fully costed request for at least a partial grant of funds to be considered by the SBU Finance Convenor*
- If it is not feasible for you to resume in these premises, have you considered “joining forces or sharing premises” with another club, at least in the short term? You might wish to discuss options with your District Chair.
- Have you undertaken a “straw poll” of members on their intentions to renew membership, and preference for f2f /on-line bridge, if offered?
- Are you covered by appropriate Insurance? [Remember that clubs running in hired premises are covered through SBU for Public Liability. Info from Treasurer*.]
- If considering f2f do you have the available workforce?
- If appropriate, are you up to date with any local restrictions?
Once you have decided it is feasible to restart f2f, you should undertake a full Tailored Risk Assessment, paying particular care to
- Space and ventilation
- Avoiding droplet inhalation
- Avoiding touch transmission
Demonstrating Care: Document and Evidence
- By continually updating, signing and dating your Covid 19 Risk Assessment
- Publicising widely the rules & restriction to members
- Documenting and evidencing you have delivered on your assessment
Help “to do”
I attach our updated risk assessment template, drawn up with the key principles listed above and below in mind, to help you consider your options and help you plan.
Although Scottish Public Health advice now concentrates particularly on respiratory droplet spread, the updated advice still requires persons and organisers in indoor events to
- wear a face covering, clean hands and surfaces regularly
- keep your distance from other people where possible
- ensure adequate ventilation
Organisers are reminded overall to do everything they can to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus which can occur through:
- respiratory droplets
- by direct contact with infected persons
- by contact via contaminated objects and surfaces
Public Health Scotland remind us that face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene and good ventilation in indoor spaces and we are advised to help you ensure that these additional measures are still maintained.
As the lifting of Scottish Public Health restrictions have lagged behind those in England, there are already reports from reopened English Bridge Clubs of visits from H&S Officers.
You must ensure that
- any reopening decisions are clearly documented at each step
- you have drawn up, and can evidence a consistently updated Covid tailored risk assessment which is dated and signed
- you can evidence that it is being adhered to
We hope, in addition, to publish advice soon on running hybrid competitions, and once Clubs start reopening, we plan to provide a Forum for experiences to be shared.
Joan Forsyth President SBU 11.08.21
*Treasurer, Scott MacDonald
* Finance Convenor, Sarah Gunn