BSAC Safety and Development Officer, Jim Watson, outlines how the recent updates for England, Scotland and Wales have impacted guidance on sporting activities including diving.
Jim also shares BSAC’s responses to the government minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
From Thursday 5 November 2020, the UK government has placed England into lockdown for a period of at least four weeks. This is because Covid-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and other countries and the government is acting to control the spread of the virus.
We are awaiting government publication of details of the restrictions, but early indications are that:
- People will be told to stay at home except for specific reasons.
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities including swimming pools must close. Currently, a number of managed inland dive sites have already announced they will be closing from Thursday to comply with this government ruling.
- Outdoor physical activity can continue in a public place and can be conducted with one other person from a different household. Public places could include a beach.
- Travel should be limited and only for essential purposes. You can travel for exercise but should only make short journeys to do so.
- Non-essential retail will close but can remain open for click-and-collect delivery
- Overnight stays, staying in a second home, and holidays will not be allowed - including in the UK and abroad - although there are exceptions, such as work trips.
You will be able to engage in physical activity as long as it is outdoors in a public place and with one other person from outside of your household.
You should avoid travelling significant distances but if you are able to travel locally (“short distance”) to a beach it may be possible to shore dive with one other person.
BSAC has taken several steps, as National Governing Body, to try and keep our sport going. Both directly to the government and working with other partners and organisations.
Letter to the government
BSAC has written to the government minister at DCMS to express our concerns on behalf of members and the UK diving industry. Our submission emphasises:
- The benefits of outdoor recreation and exercise, highlighted by the government and its scientific advisors to provide important contributions to physical and mental wellbeing, which is increasingly crucial in mitigating the effects of the restrictions during this pandemic.
- The extensive guidance on compliance with Covid-19 restrictions compiled and published by BSAC at bsac.com/covidsafediving.
- The nature of diving and the self-contained breathing systems we utilise.
- The nature of swimming pools and the effect of chlorine treatment of the water inactivating the virus.
Supporting Swim England campaigning
Swim England is continuing to campaign for the re-opening of swimming pools and BSAC continues to support their call for access to these essential community facilities. Their open letter to the Prime Minister is due to be submitted tonight (Tuesday 3 November) in order to inform the parliamentary debate on Wednesday 4 November. Members can add their signature before 17:00 on 3 November.
Save Community Sports Clubs and Leisure Facilities with a Sports Recovery Fund - petition
This second national lockdown and the closure of grassroots sport and physical activity will have a further significant impact on clubs, individuals and facilities. As a result, UK Active has started a public petition calling for ‘Save Community Sports Clubs and Leisure Facilities with a Sports Recovery Fund’. We would encourage all members, clubs, centres and other stakeholders to sign the petition and promote it to others.
BSAC will also be responding to a DCMS inquiry into ‘Sport in our communities’
The Committee is seeking views on sport in our communities by Monday 16 November. The financial viability of community sports clubs is in doubt, with the future of many at-risk even before the pandemic. The DCMS Committee wants to identify specific actions the Government can take to guarantee the future survival of the community sports sector. The Committee is looking into sports governance, funding and the case for elite professional sports to support the lower leagues and grassroots.
On Monday 2 November 2020, the Scottish Government has implemented a 5-tier system of designation local restrictions based on the level of Covid-19 infection in the respective regions. Currently, councils have been allocated to levels 1-3 only.
The current restrictions allow:
- Indoors - In all tiers 1-3 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 areas or the other UK regions with similar levels of restrictions.
The Welsh government implemented a ‘Firebreak’ lockdown from 18:00 on Friday 23 October for a period of 17 days, until Monday 9 November.
Amongst the main points listed on the Welsh Government website are the following:
- People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
- People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with.
- Leisure businesses and venues, including pools, community centre etc. will be closed.
Whilst professional sport can continue (without spectators), all community amateur sport and training cannot. This, unfortunately, means that all face to face diving and training including Branches and Centres will be suspended in Wales for the 17-day period until Monday 9 November.
The Welsh Government has specified that travel is limited to essential travel only, for example, for caring responsibilities or for work purposes where people cannot work from home. Exercise is permitted but must be undertaken alone or with members of your household.
BSAC has released guidance to help members and the wider diving community understand the current restrictions in their area and whether diving and training is or is not allowed at the time and how to go about it safely. Check it out.