On Monday 11 May 2020, the Victorian Premier announced a series of steps to allow increased movement of citizens and a gradual easing of the current Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions for the Victorian community, effective from 11:59pm Tuesday 12 May.
This follows Federal Government announcements in relation to a three stage road map to a COVIDsafe Australia along with the Australian Institute of Sport’s Rebooting Sport Framework.
- Roadmap to a COVIDsafe Australia
- 3 Step framework for a COVIDsafe Australia
- AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport
On Thursday 14 May, Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) published new guidance to support sport and recreation organisations with their return to play plans.
Thanks to progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, restrictions on sport and recreation have eased under the latest Restricted Activity Directions from the Chief Health Officer.
From 13 May 2020, the Victorian Chief Health Officer has approved that some community sport and recreation activities can resume according to the following rules:
- Groups of up to 10 people only are permitted outdoors (or people from the same household), plus a coach/instructor or the minimum number of support staff reasonably required to run the activity
- Parents or other people are required to keep a reasonable distance or will be included in the group of 10
- No indoor activity – Indoor physical recreation facilities must remain closed
- Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres wherever reasonably possible
- All activity and training must be non-contact, and no competitions are to take place – Contact sports must be modified so that you can maintain 1.5m distance.
- No outside communal gyms, playgrounds or skateparks, these are still closed and must not be used
- No outdoor or indoor swimming pools (unless it is at your own private residence)
- No use of communal facilities, except for toilets
- If the activity is run by an operator of an indoor physical recreation facility (such as a gym, health club or fitness centre), a personal training facility (indoors or outdoors) or an arena or stadium, then the operator must keep a record of attendees including first name, phone number, date and time of attendance
- No shared equipment that touches the head or face or cannot be effectively cleaned i.e. soft materials or clothing
- Hand hygiene, frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection, use of own equipment where possible and minimise sharing of equipment
The easing of restrictions means that community sport and active recreation clubs, leagues and associations can now plan and gradually roll out a return to activity.
A full list of activities and how the current restrictions apply is now available on the SRV website.
What does this mean for Central Highlands community sport?
Community sporting clubs, leagues and associations in the Central Highlands are encouraged to prepare ‘return to play’ plans.
Clubs will receive templates to use from their State Sporting Association once the sports’ over arching ‘return to play’ plan is completed. Local Government’s and/or recreation reserve committees may require clubs to demonstrate how they are going to comply with the current restrictions before allowing access to community facilities.
It is the responsibility of every club to ensure the safety of its participants, members, volunteers and staff, and ensure that it operates within the current restrictions.
The most up to date advice for Victorian community sport is available on the SRV website.
This webpage includes a list of FAQs for clubs & recreation organisations, as well as for participants.
Assistance for clubs with return to play plans
The Victorian Government is taking a phased approach to resuming community sport and recreation. This approach will ensure the safety of participants and the broader community.
The time that community sport competition will resume will depend on directions from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, and will be influenced by spread of COVID-19 in the community, to ensure the safety of players and participants.
Outdoor community sport and recreational facilities can host a maximum of one group of up to 10 people, plus a coach or the minimum number of support staff reasonably required to manage the activity.
Where the facility has sufficient space to comply effectively with the Chief Health Officer directions (e.g. multiple ovals, courts, lawns or fields), more than one group of 10 can be accommodated on the condition that:
- Groups of 10 do not operate closely to each other (e.g. one group per basketball court, lawn bowls green and for larger playing surface e.g. football oval or soccer pitch, split into two zones)
- The facility can ensure that catering to multiple groups does not create an unnecessary risk of people congregating (e.g. at entrances or exits, near toilets or in carparks or other nearby areas)
- Social distancing and restrictions on gatherings can be effectively managed during all periods before, during and after training or the activity
- Groups of 10 should not mix with each other and should remain constant, with participants avoiding swapping between groups
- It is advised to establish a “zone” for your group to train within, ensure the zone is clearly marked, which will allow other groups to avoid any unnecessary contact
The risk of spreading COVID-19 is higher in indoor settings and with the use of communal facilities, or when physical distancing is not adequately maintained.
For this reason, indoor sports facilities and clubrooms will remain closed until the Victorian Chief Health Officer determines that it is safe and appropriate to re-open them, and under what conditions or restrictions.
Club toilets will be accessible under strict hygiene guidelines. Changerooms and showers will not be open.
Parents and guardians taking children to and from training activities are required to follow the Chief Health Officer’s directions for public gatherings and maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres.
Parents and guardians that remain with their children during participation in sport, will be considered part of the group of up to 10 people, unless they are formally coaching or instructing the activity.
The amount of coaches or instructors needs to be the minimum necessary required to conduct the activity.
The winter sports are currently working collaboratively with both State and Local Governments about potential winter seasons. Further to this there is collaboration happening with summer sports where facility access may overlap.
There will be a state wide determination for the current winter and upcoming summer season length.
This is not a simple process and is taking some time, in particular due to the uncertainty around the timing of restrictions being lifted. It is expected that there will be a process put in place for winter sports to apply for a season extension if they can demonstrate no impact to a traditional summer sport tenant/competition.
Canteens and bars are not allowed to be open under the current restrictions.