Following the lockdown in England, which will end on Wednesday 2 December, areas in England will return to a modified tier system, while the rest of the UK continues with its own measures.
Across all three tiers organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise can continue. This will allow diving and snorkelling activity to resume providing all other Covid-19 safe guidance can be complied with including distancing and hygiene measures being rigorously applied.
Organised activity means diving and snorkelling is not only dive managed, but that the organiser takes on all the Covid-19 measures identified in the organised events guidance. The same guidance allows for training activities (including diver training, SDCs, and instructor training) to take place in outdoor locations by ensuring the same procedures are in place.
The government return to the tier system allows for indoor sports facilities, including swimming pools to reopen. There are however different restrictions depending on the tier.
Tier 1 – medium alert
Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place if the rule of six is followed.
This would allow pool training for diving and snorkelling to resume providing the above guidance for organised events and the facility rules are complied with.
Tier 2 – high alert
Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live or share a support bubble with. Under 18s are exempt from this rule (please see under 18s section below).
Whilst this potentially limits the possibility of pool training within Tier 2 areas, it could be possible if organisers and participants ensure that all interaction is limited to underwater and buddy checks etc. are completed at a distance. This is, of course, dependent on being allowed access to pools in the area. BSAC is currently seeking further guidance from DCMS on this.
Tier 3 – very high alert
Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes should not go ahead. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place. Under 18s are exempt from this rule (please see under 18s section below).
It is unlikely that diver or snorkeller training in swimming pools would be possible in Tier 3 but we are seeking further clarification.
Training under 18s
As indicated above, access to sport, physical activity and exercise at all tier levels for under 18s is not subject to the indoor sports restrictions. Consequently, where training groups are made up exclusively of under 18s (excluding instructors), then there are no barriers other than standard Covid safety precautions to conducting training.
Travel and other restrictions are detailed in the government guidance and the status document. It is worth noting that some areas that were in Tier 3 prior to lockdown are now in Tier 2, whilst others have moved in the opposite direction. Both illustrate that the pandemic is both capable of being managed if we all act responsibly but also escalating if we don’t.
The Scottish Government has implemented a 5-tier system (Tiers 0-4) of designated local restrictions based on the level of Covid-19 infection in the respective regions. Currently, councils have been allocated to levels 1-4. Scotland has not yet implemented a second lockdown but is continuing to monitor the infection rate and other data.
The current restrictions allow:
- Indoors - In all tiers 1-4 you are not allowed to enter another household. Indoor group exercise for adults suspended.
- Outdoors - For social meeting, Scotland allows a maximum of 6 people, from two households only, to meet socially outside and whilst maintaining social distancing of 2m.
- Travel - You should avoid travelling to or from tier 3 or 4 areas or the other UK regions with similar levels of restrictions.
Following the Welsh government implemented ‘firebreak’ lockdown, which ended on Monday 9 November, the restrictions now allow:
- 15 people to meet indoors for organised activities (which could include pool training).
- 30 people to meet outdoors for organised activities.
- Travel within Wales without restrictions, however, travel to and from England is not allowed until the lockdown in England ends on 2 December.
Current restrictions are in line with the Northern Ireland Executive.
- Indoors - No indoor sport is allowed.
- Outdoors - A maximum of 15 people are able to meet in public places, whilst maintaining social distancing of 2m apart.
BSAC has released guidance to help members and the wider diving community prepare for Covid-safe diving, snorkelling and training. Check it out.