The week sees further easing of Covid restrictions in the different regions of the UK, but Safety and Development Manager Jim Watson says this is no time to be complacent.
England, Scotland and Wales all implement further changes from today (Monday 17 May) and Northern Ireland from Monday 24 May. Most of the changes feature allowing more people to meet in indoor settings, including access to swimming pools and accommodation. England also allows initial steps for some limited options for foreign travel.
Full details of the changes can be found in the updated STATUS document.
Swimming pools reopen for group activity
As group exercise and training are allowed indoors, this will allow more realistic access to swimming pools for training. It is likely there will still be some caution expressed by facility management, and clubs and centres can use the existing guidance on training, swimming pool use and organised events to demonstrate responsible planning and precautions for keeping everyone safe. The local authority pools letter may also help in negotiations with your pool facility management.
Some pool authorities are delaying reopening and if your normal pool is in this category you may find that searching for a club in your area that has registered for pool sharing in order to arrange to use their facilities in the meantime. Alternatively, if your pool has reopened for training and you aren’t registered for pool sharing, please consider helping out other clubs by registering with Membership.
Accommodation available for dive trips
As well as opening for indoor hospitality, many regions throughout the UK will allow hotels, B&Bs and other forms of accommodation to reopen with some restrictions. This will allow greater options for divers to travel to dive sites and stay overnight without the need to return home each day.
Reduced travel restrictions
Travel throughout the mainland UK will be generally possible from 17 May as a result of the increased ability to stay overnight, except where localised restrictions may apply. Travel to and from Northern Ireland to mainland UK still remains limited to only for essential purposes.
The UK government will allow foreign travel to countries on a green list from 17 May, which means those returning from this limited number of countries will not need to quarantine on return to the UK. However, there may remain restrictions, including quarantine and testing, on arrival at the destination country. Divers should check carefully the respective restrictions and be aware that status may change at short notice.
Stay safe while diving and snorkelling
With the increasing accessibility to diving locations, especially with the access to overnight stays, more diving opportunities will allow more divers to return to activity. The key messages already promoted remain valid for everyone and we would remind all divers to ensure:
- You and your equipment are fit and ready
- Practise and refresh your skills in controlled conditions
- Start slowly and build up progressively
Further details and videos of related return to diving webinars can be found at bsac.com/returnprep.
Stay safe — dive safe
Safety and Development Manager
BSAC has released guidance to help members and the wider diving community prepare for a safe return to the water. Check it out.