The country has now moved to ‘Plan B’ of the COVID-19 Autumn/Winter Plan, in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. Current government guidance has no specific restrictions relating to the actual participation in sport in an indoor environment although wider restrictions relating to when someone must self-isolate and therefore not participate is of course still applicable.
Whilst this is the current position we will continue to plan for and run our indoor hockey programme.
We are mindful of the increased concern regarding COVID-19 and that indoor sport and the nature of indoor hockey competitions bring different challenges to regular outdoor hockey activity.
We will respond to any further government guidance as appropriate but our current recommended good practice for indoor hockey competitions follows. This can also be used for any hockey indoors where relevant.
- Venues will have measures they have in place in line with government guidance specific to their facility. It is important that these are followed. This is likely to include recommendations about spectators and other non-participants.
- On the specific point of ventilation, organisers should work with venues to ascertain if it is feasible to ventilate the indoor hall during play. In some cases this will just not be practical, for example due to the weather.
- As ever it is important to respect the personal space of others (outside of play) and maintain a safe distance. It is good practice for teams to consider themselves as a “bubble” at a competition. The same applies for the umpiring and officiating team with the objective of minimising potential transmission between teams/groups. This includes waiting until the bench area is clear before entering it and, where possible enter and exit the hall via different routes. It is advised to find an outdoor setting for any socialising.
- It is good practice for participants to take a COVID-19 lateral flow test before participating in a tournament to help ensure that sport can take place safely, and that participants are not at risk of catching or spreading the virus. It may be that some venues will make this a requirement of attending.
- Everyone must follow government guidance in relation to face coverings whilst indoors and not participating. It is good practice that table officials wear a facemask whilst officiating and that players and officials on team benches wear a face mask when and where suitable outside of play.
- All of the above applies along with the general guidance for personal hygiene, equipment sharing and medical provision which remains unchanged.
In general terms the responsibility is on teams to take collective ownership of this and work with each other to apply this guidance and not put any additional workload on tournament officials to do so on top of their usual duties.
We recognise that a team may be faced with selection issues if they have unavailability due to positive tests. Most indoor activity will not be able to be postponed and events will take place where there is appetite from sufficient teams. Otherwise, unless determined by a change in guidance, individuals and teams will need to make a decision whether to participate.