Return to Play: This Week's Frequently Asked Questions

EH Champs 2020 Olton
FAQs answered (week ending 16.10.2020) - UPDATED 21.10.2020

See below answers to the most frequently asked questions from the past week, to help keep our hockey family up to date with the latest goings on surrounding the Return to Play, Covid-19 and any government updates. This week’s update focuses on the new Covid Alert Levels announced by government.

Updated questions and answers marked with ***.

How does the new Covid Alert Level System affect hockey?
Hockey is still permitted in all parts of the country. However, there might be some slight differences depending on where you live and what level that area is in - particularly at Level 3 (Very High) areas. Please refer to our quick guide on what is permitted within each alert level here.

***My club is based in a Level 3 Very High area, what does this mean for us?
***Any club in a Level 3 area can continue to play hockey. However, it can only be intra club activity or local matches against teams within the same Level 3 area. This includes friendlies and competitive league matches.

You should not travel between neighbouring Level 3 areas, even if they share a border. Each Level 3 area is seen as separate, they are not one continuous area. For example, Liverpool teams cannot play Lancashire teams.

***I live in a Level 3 Very High area but my club is in a Level 1 Medium or Level 2 High area (or vice versa). Can I still train or play with my club?
***You are advised not to travel into or out of a Level 3 area (see below for exemptions). We encourage clubs to accept players that cannot access their usual club activity. 

***Can we still travel to play hockey as a result of the new Covid Alert Level system?
***Yes. However, there are some restrictions in place. Do not travel into or out of a Level 3 area (see next question for exemptions). When travelling within a Level 3 area aim to travel within your household group or support bubble. When travelling in or between Level 1 and/or Level 2 areas follow the government safer travel guidance. You may travel through a Level 3 area.

***Are there any exemptions allowing travel for sport into or out of a Level 3 Very High area?
***There is an exemption to travel restrictions for under 18s and disability sport. These groups can travel into or out of a Level 3 area for their hockey activity. Parents are likely to be required to provide transport for this and it is recommended that people only travel in household groups or support bubbles when they are coming from a Level 3 area.

***Can we travel from one Level 3 Very High area to another and what if Level 3 areas start to merge and become one large area made up of multiple areas?
***You should not travel between neighbouring Level 3 areas, even if they share a border. Each Level 3 area is seen as separate, they are not one continuous area. For example, Liverpool teams cannot play Lancashire teams. 

***Can under 18s teams play each other if one is from a Level 3 Very High area and another from Level 1 Medium or Level 2 High area?
***Due to the travel exemption under 18 teams are permitted to play each other, even if one of the teams is from a Level 3 area. Volunteer coaches are also exempt for matches in these instances as they are supervising the activity. England Hockey recommends that both teams must be comfortable with playing the fixture before it goes ahead and that teams in Level 3 areas should make all reasonable efforts to travel without mixing household groups or support bubbles. Teams must communicate accordingly in advance to understand their oppositions position and feeling with regards to the fixture.

If the teams do not agree to play and are uncomfortable with a competitive fixture going ahead, they should contact the competition administrator to resolve the outcome of the match.

***Can I travel into or out of a Level 3 Very High area to deliver hockey activity as a coach?
***Paid individuals with contracts in place for delivering hockey can travel into or out of a Level 3 area to deliver hockey activity as this is classified as paid work and employment. If you do not have a contract of employment you should not travel into or out of a Level 3 area to deliver hockey activity. Exemptions are in place for volunteer coaches who are supervising under 18 activity and disability sport.

***Why in football are they still allowed to play and travel for all fixtures in the National League System Tiers 3-6?
***Football has an exemption at these levels as the players hold contracts with their clubs so this can be classified as paid work and employment. No domestic hockey in England is a professional league (given the employment implications) and only the international teams are classified as ‘elite’ in England.

How does the Covid Alert Level system impact our clubhouses & hospitality?
Clubs and facilities with internal spaces have a responsibility to ensure they are compliant with the latest government guidelines for indoor settings and hospitality venues.
For Level 1 areas there is no further change to the previous guidance – rule of 6, 10pm closing time and table service. At Level 2 there are now restrictions to household group or support bubble gatherings indoors only. At Level 3 there is the same restriction on gatherings and bars must close unless they are operating as a restaurant.

Are spectators still permitted as a result of the new Covid Alert Level system?
Yes. Spectators are permitted in Level 1 and Level 2 areas following the rule of 6 and social distancing guidelines. Spectators are permitted in Level 3 areas within household group or support bubble.

What should I do if I, or someone in my household, has symptoms or tests positive for Covid?
Please see our flowchart for managing a confirmed or suspected Covid case here.

As Covid Officer, what should I do if someone at my club or organisation has a confirmed or suspected case of Covid?
Please see our flowchart for managing a confirmed or suspected Covid case here.

Are England Hockey following the Government guidance?
Yes. England Hockey are very closely following Government, DCMS and Sport England guidance and applying this to our hockey specific Return to Play guidance.

To see all the guidance surrounding our Return to Play guidelines, please click here.