Coronavirus - Advice From the Sector

On Tuesday (3rd March 2020), the Government published an action plan to contain the possible spread of the coronavirus. The Sports and Recreation Alliance (SRA) has issued a response to its members, pulling together the latest information, and an update on how the sector can respond.

Considering events due to be held for Sporting Equals and its partners, we would like to expressly state that any event involving kit, such as cricket bats, balls, etc, organisers should ensure that alcohol-based hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes should be made readily available for the use of attendees.

Particular focus should be made to ensure that adequate handwashing facilities are available, with access to hot water and anti-bacterial soap.

Should any attendees suspect that they are showing signs of the coronavirus, we would expressly suggest that they opt out of attending the event and consider self-isolation as recommended by the Government.

Your preparations

Sporting Equals is following the recommendations of the SRA and DCMS, using the 'ABC' below:

A: As you are. Our current state.

  • There is no need to cancel or postpone your events at this time;
  • Reassure stakeholders, staff, volunteers and attendees, 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 -

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;
  • 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 -

C: Cancellation, curtailment, or postponement if the Government finds it necessary to impose restrictions which make staging an event impossible.

  • Consider how you would reorganise your remaining events, workforce health permitting;
  • Consider how you would deal with cancelled events.
  • 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
  • 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 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.