19 May Return to Tennis Guidance for Northern Ireland
Tennis Ireland and its Ulster Branch Welcome Confirmation of a Restricted Reopening of Tennis in Northern Ireland
On Tuesday 12th May last, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill outlined, in the Northern Assembly, their five-stage plan for ending the coronavirus restrictions. The recovery plan did not set out dates for each of the five steps but outlined instead that the steps will be executed “led by science and not by the calendar”.
As a follow up to the announcement last Tuesday, The Northern Ireland Executive today announced that the sport of Tennis could reopen, on a restricted basis, from today, Tuesday 19th May.
Tennis Ireland and the Ulster Branch have welcomed this statement and have finalised Return to Tennis Guidelines that are specific to Northern Ireland’s clubs, players and coaches.
The implementation of the guidelines will require consideration and preparation by clubs and will require adequate communication with members to educate them of the measures required to maintain their safety.
Although clubs can reopen on Tuesday 19th, it is highly recommended that clubs should not reopen until they are in a position to adhere to all of the guidelines and have communicated them to their members
The guidelines can be accessed via the links below
There are four key tools in the fight against Covid-19:
- 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.
- 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
- Respiratory Etiquette which includes coughing or sneezing into the elbow or a tissue, disposing of the tissue safely and then cleansing the hands.
- 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 information posters 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.
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.