Update to Guidance for Clubs on Reopening Tennis on a Restricted Basis – 15th May 2020

Update to Guidance for Clubs on Reopening Tennis on a Restricted Basis – 15th May 2020

Tennis Ireland is announcing an amendment to its Phase 1 Guidance, issued to clubs, players, and coaches on the restricted reopening of Tennis from Monday 18th May.

Following clarification received that Coaches are considered “outdoor workers”, Tennis Ireland has amended its guidance previously issued and from Monday 18th May, Club Coaches can travel beyond the 5km radius to work within a club

Tennis Ireland is also clarifying that Coaches can work with two players who are not from the same household on one court but only when players are at opposite sides of the net to each other. In this instance, coaching cannot/must not take place where players are side-by-side on one half of a court.

Tennis Ireland would also like to clarify that Coaches can coach a maximum of 3 players from the same household on one court at any one time. Social distancing measures should always be followed and such procedures for doing so should be outlined in the risk assessments prepared by Coaches and presented to clubs for approval.

5km and Players over 70 years of age

Tennis Ireland, via Sport Ireland, had sought clarification from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on a number of items including the travel radius and sport for the cocooning population.

The Department has provided the following information:

‘People should not travel outside the 5km limit to access facilities such as golf or tennis clubs. It should also be understood that going to facilities in advance of the 18th of May to prepare for reopening is not considered to be within the spirit of the Roadmap.

In relation to the cocooning population, the advice, currently, is that they may leave their houses for exercise but they should avoid contact with other people, even on a socially distanced basis. This advice does not recommend over 70’s playing golf or tennis  – however, it is not mandatory, it is advisory, so individuals can make their own decisions.  While additional detail on restrictions from May 18th may follow in due course, the present advice is that they should not take part in sport with other people’

On the back of this clarification, Tennis Ireland’s previously issued advice in relation to the 5km rule and participation by people over 70 years of age stands.

The Updated Guidelines are available via the links below.

Guidance for Clubs Version 2 Updated 14May

Guidance-for-Tennis-Coaches Version 2 Updated 14May

Guidance for Tennis Players

The measures cover each step of the journey from home to the club and back home again and it is recommended that they are implemented in full until further notice.
The measures and procedures are under constant review and will be updated as advice from government, health authorities and governing bodies evolves in line with the gradual lifting of social restrictions.
Tennis Ireland will be preparing further protocols as we move through each phase and will communicate and distribute these in advance to our clubs and stakeholders via our various channels.
To further assist clubs, Tennis Ireland has established a dedicated email address, covid19@tennisireland.ie which can be utilised by clubs to pose questions or indeed suggest further good practice.  This email account will be monitored daily.

Re: Phase 1 of the Reopening of Tennis in the Republic of Ireland
Since the Covid 19 restrictions and lockdown were introduced in March, like many other governing bodies of sport, Tennis Ireland has been engaging with Sport Ireland and Government on a range of issues including the financial impact of the crisis on clubs, coaches and indeed our organisation and the potential for the safe resumption of Tennis.

Government Roadmap
On Friday May 1, the Irish Government published a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business to ease the COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society in a phased manner from May 18.
The Government plan sets out five stages for unlocking restrictions, at three-week intervals. As restrictions are eased, the rate of the virus in the community will be constantly monitored by the National Public Health Emergency Team and the government.
The framework produced by the Government sets out how we can keep the level of transmission as low as possible while balancing continuing restrictions proportionately with the positive social and economic benefits which will be brought about by lifting restrictions.
The Government Roadmap and phased plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions can be accessed via the links below:
https://www.gov.ie/en/news/58bc8b-taoiseach-announces-roadmap-for-reopening-society-and-business-and-u/

Protocols for Tennis
Tennis Ireland and its Branches warmly welcomed the Taoiseach’s confirmation that Tennis can reopen for play in the Republic of Ireland albeit on a restricted / recreational basis in the first phase of the roadmap beginning on the 18th May.
To this end, Tennis Ireland has prepared, in consultation with key stakeholders and experts, practical guides for clubs, players and coaches to follow during Phase 1 of the reopening of tennis.  The protocols which can be accessed via the links below, aim to safeguard staff, volunteers, members, and the wider community.

Tools
There are four key tools in the fight against Covid-19:

  1. The maintenance of Social / Physical Distancing is key, and the protocols devised for clubs, players and coaches during the first phase of reopening clearly outline the requirements in this regard.
  2. Undertaking Good Hand Hygiene Practices and cleaning regimes and the ready availability of hand sanitizing gels is something that every club should promote by having sanitizing gel available both in the clubhouse and adjacent to courts.  Tennis Ireland has engaged with several agents whom clubs can utilise to source such products and they can be sourced via this link. List of Suppliers for Sanitiser Products
  3. Respiratory Etiquette which includes coughing or sneezing into the elbow or a tissue, disposing of the tissue safely and then cleansing the hands.
  4. The Education of club staff, volunteers, members and coaches to inform their behavior is very important. This can be achieved through regular communication of the protocols via club communication channels and by displaying the range of information posters that can be accessed via the link below throughout the club environment. Tennis Ireland will also regularly post communications via its own channels in this regard and will organise and communicate to clubs the details of online webinars to assist with any queries in the coming days.

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/

Conclusion
Following the protocols and using the tools at our disposal will prevent the spread and further outbreaks of Covid-19.
The risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present. As a country, we can only move from one phase to the next if the virus stays under control between each phase. As a sport we must be mindful that on account of our sport being one of the first to reopen that we will be in the spotlight and poor practice will be exposed and criticized widely.  Therefore, as a sporting community we will all need to play our part so it is vital that the protocols that will be developed and communicated in each phase are strictly followed.