Covid-19 Precautions for Playing Croquet
CA COVID-19 Guidance Reviewed
The CA’s Task Force has reviewed the guidance it published on 24th February in the light of representations from clubs to relax it, but also continued requests from the government not to anticipate the steps set out in its roadmap for ending the lockdown.
It has retained the restriction that there should be no more than six players (the gathering limit) on a full-sized court for informal play and added that there should be no more than four players on a half-size or short croquet court, with the provision that players on adjacent courts should not interact. The most significant change from last year is that formally organised Federation and Club tournaments/coaching are now treated the same as those in the CA Calendar, but that does not extend to club roll-up sessions.
The Croquet Association’s task force has reviewed the COVID-19 response for England published by HM Government on 22nd February and has kept in touch with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Sport & Recreation Alliance. It appears that national governing bodies of sports are being allowed greater latitude to set guidelines appropriate for their individual sports, within the overall framework of the national restrictions.
In broad outline, our guidance is that, subject to the four tests mentioned in that document and confirmation of the actual dates:
Step 1a, before 29th March:
- Clubs must not open for play, but maintenance can continue.
Step 1b, from 29th March:
- Clubs may open for outdoor play.
- Clubhouses or pavilions may only be used for access to toilets and equipment.
- Social distancing requirements must be met.
- Except for organised events as described below, no more than six people (or people from no more than two households, if greater) may occupy a full-sized court. Half-size or Short lawns are permitted, with up to four people on them. The players on one court should not interact with those on adjacent ones.
- The limit on the number of people does not apply to formally organised tournaments or coaching. Such an event is regarded as organised activity if it has been publicised in advance and is run under the direction of a manager/organiser who is present and responsible for ensuring that it is conducted in a COVID-19 secure manner.
- Overnight stays are not permitted and travel will still be limited. Any tournaments or other organised events will therefore have to be for local players only. No catering or bar facilities are permitted.
- Within these guidelines, outdoor (and Zoom), but not indoor, coaching, and local tournaments can take place.
Guidance for later steps will be added in due course. Changes that are expected to come into place at these times include:
Step 2, from no earlier than 12th April. As Step 1b, except that:
- Self-contained accommodation will be available, but only for single households.
- Travel restrictions are eased, but travel should still be minimised.
- Outdoor catering and drinks are permitted, but only with table service.
Step 3, from no earlier than 17th May:
- Most restrictions affecting playing, coaching and tournaments are expected to be lifted.
Please address any queries to the Hon. Secretary, Ian Vincent.
5th January 2021
Following the announcement by the government of a national lockdown Bude Croquet Club will close immediately for the foreseeable future.
5th November 2020
Despite lobbying by the CA and other individual recreational sports, the regulations for the Covid-19 lockdown that starts at 00.01 on Thursday, 5th November, for 28 days, appear to require croquet clubs in England to close, along with other outdoor sports amenities.
In the absence of any official support for a contrary interpretation, the CA’s Coronavirus Task Force strongly advises clubs to cease play for that period. However, its understanding is that lawn maintenance, whether by employed staff, contractors, or volunteers, can continue.
Version 7- 12th September, 2020
The Croquet Association offers the following advice to clubs and players, to minimise the risk of infection by Covid-19 when clubs decide to open for play. This version applies to clubs in England from 14th September until further notice.
Both clubs and players should follow Government guidance, particularly those in vulnerable groups; this advice supplements that general guidance by covering situations specific to croquet. The advice has been updated as shown in the change log at the end of the document. It may be further updated if government advice changes.
The guidance published by DCMS on 13th May states that organisations are encouraged to think creatively about how best to make their sport or activity possible within the guidelines, but also that they should only reopen or restart activities as soon as they feel able to do so safely. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with that advice. They have been updated in line with the further relaxation of the lockdown in England from 4th July, and subsequent tightening to limit groups to 6 both indoors and outdoors from 14th September and to make recording for contact tracing mandatory. However,it is up to clubs to decide whether they can safely accommodate more people playing or spectating and to what extent to open their clubhouse and other buildings.
These are uncertain and very unsettling times. We want our community to stay physically and mentally healthy and as long as it is safe to do, and provided that it is consistent with Government guidance, we want to keep the croquet lawns open and available for members to use. We hope you all stay healthy and that we all get through these challenging times by looking to help each other where we can.
Meanwhile, keep safe, take care, look after yourself and, if possible, enjoy your croquet.
Advice to Clubs
The CA recommends that clubs adopt this advice and adapt it to their circumstances. The advice below recognises that there are now more stringent measures that must be followed if our sport is to be managed in a safe way.
1. Clubhouses may be used in accordance with government COVID 19 Secure guidance. Clubs are strongly advised to carry out a risk assessment; a checklist of points to consider before and while opening has been provided.
2. Changing rooms should not be used other than for access to equipment, toilets and hand washing facilities.
- Additional consideration should be given to the opening of bars and catering facilities, for which there is separate government guidance.
- To facilitate the NHS Track and Trace service, it is now mandatory that contact details for all people entering the club should be recorded and kept for at least 21 days.
- Consider providing a lawn-booking system, both to avoid congestion and to facilitate contact tracing if necessary.
- It is a matter for clubs to decide whether they can now accommodate guests, visitors or spectators.
- There should be no more than six players on a court for play. For coaching, up to five players in addition to the coach are permitted; the coach is responsible for ensuring that social distancing is maintained at all times.
- Whether or not in play, no more than six players, guests, visitors or spectators should be permitted in any group and social distancing should be observed within it (unless all are members of no more than two households or support bubbles).
- Ensure that the necessary facilities and cleaning products are available to maintain a clean environment and enable players to wash equipment before and after use.
10.Provide hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitiser for players.
11.Provide clear signs to encourage good hand washing technique, social distancing and limits to the number of players per court.
12.Where equipment can be left out, then it is preferable to do so.
13.Avoid the need to share club mallets. Consider allowing members to borrow one for a while.
Advice to Players
- Do not go to the club if you are experiencing any symptoms of a cold or flu, in particular a cough or high temperature. Use the NHS helpline and seek advice. For your own protection, follow the advice about self-isolation if you are, or are living with, someone in one of the vulnerable groups.
- Familiarise yourself with your club’s rules and respect its risk assessment.
- All players must observe social distancing at all times unless they are in the same household or support bubble. Particular care should be taken in all doubles, including alternate stroke Association Croquet and in Golf Croquet games.
- Any activity should be in line with the Government’s social distancing measures at all times, including when going to and departing from a lawn. Consequently, do not shake hands before or after a game, nor congregate in groups of more than six.
- Use the court booking system if your club provides one, rather than turning up in the hope of being able to play or practise.
- If possible, dress appropriately prior to travelling to the club, rather than changing there.
- Consider government advice about travelling, either to you own club or when visiting other ones for tournaments or matches.
- Check if the club’s catering facilities are available. If not, bring any food or drink you might need.
- Wash your hands and clean any equipment you use, such as hoops, balls and club mallets, before and after you play.
10.Clean anything that you touch e.g. tables, chairs, padlocks, keys and door handles before and after use.
11.Avoid using toilets wherever possible and clean after use.
12.When setting out and taking in a court, only one person should handle any particular hoop or the peg.
13.Clean any corner pegs/offside markers or flags you touch: these are not necessary for social play. Personal counters should be used to keep count of bisques/extra strokes.
14.Do not move stop-boards/check fences, but take relief instead.
15.Use your feet, rather than hands, to position balls where you can do so with sufficient precision, including when moving or replacing balls from a double-banked game. If playing Association Croquet, handle only you own balls and clips, not those of your opponent.
16.Players should be their own Referees and acknowledge faults and errors if they occur.
Reviewed by the Dept. for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 15th May 2020 and updated after further consultation with them on 29th May.Reviewed again on 2nd July and 12th September.