It may come as a surprise to some but bowls has become the next sport to reopen their doors – albeit with a number of restrictions.
The governing body, Bowls England, have produced guidance from the government which says that as long as you play with members of your own household or “with one person outside of your household” and maintain social distancing then it is fine.
Bowls England said: “The physical and mental wellbeing of our bowls community is of paramount importance.
“Bowls England wants to support those clubs that wish to reopen and members who would like to play, to do so safely and in accordance with the guidance.
“The government announced that facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities, including lawn bowls, may now reopen.
“Their guidance released on 13th May 2020 states ’you can play lawn bowls where facilities have reopened but you can only take part in these activities by yourself or with members of your household or with one person outside of your household, as long as you are able to maintain social distancing’.”
They go on to say that the guidance is “a live document and will be updated if advice changes”.
It is up to individual clubs as to whether they wish to reopen but if they do they should follow certain rules.
There should be an off-site booking system and a minimum of 20 minutes between allocated time slots to allow players to arrive and depart safely.
Empty rinks should be kept between players and there should be a maximum of six on the premises at any one time.
Clubhouses should remain closed except for limited essential access, for example toilets and washing facilities, and sanitiser must be available for cleaning hands and equipment before and after playing.
Players too are asked not to go the clubs if they are displaying COVID-19, cold or flu symptoms and should not arrive more than 10 minutes before their allocated booking time.
They should also wash or sanitise their hands and any equipment used before, during and after play, including bowls, jacks and mats.
Only one player should handle the mat, the scorecard and the jack, with two of them available, one at each end.
Internal club competitions aren’t encouraged but not banned, as long as they can fit into the current guidelines.
And the advice for clinically vulnerable people, such as those aged over 70, remains the same. They should stay home as much as possible and, if they do go out, they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.
Bowls England added: “We hope you all stay healthy and that we all get through these challenging times by looking to help each other where we can.
“The coming weeks and months may also provide an opportunity for you to encourage members of your own household, who currently don’t play, to give bowls a try.
“Clubs are reminded to ensure that any activity by non-members is in accordance with their insurers.
“Meanwhile, keep safe, take care, look after yourself and, when you do return to the green, enjoy your bowls.”
Further guidance is available at https://www.bowlsengland.com/covid-19-supplementary-guidance-for-lawn-bowls-clubs/