Roadmap Statement and Guidance
Combined guidance for Tennis and Rackets
T&RA Statement updated 22nd July
The move to Step 4 saw the removal of a large number of restrictions, with no set restrictions on how many people can take part in sport and physical activity, with no restrictions on numbers or capacity limits for clubs or schools.
The following simple overarching guidance of key considerations for Tennis and Rackets clubs, professionals and players is a summary of relevant Government guidance. Sport England have also published useful FAQs.
However, the government expects clubs and individuals to remain alert that the pandemic is far from over, and to be aware of the likely symptoms of COVID-19 and take such measures as to avoid the unnecessary spread of the virus.
The T&RA wishes to remind its members that the transmission appears to be primarily airborne, and that the key interventions are increasing ventilation to the maximum extent possible, minimising time in closed spaces (e.g. changing rooms) and, where plausible, leaving gaps between courts. Doubles undoubtedly presents more risk than singles, but this can be mitigated by avoiding the closest of contact.
Guidance for Step 4
The country has moved to Step 4 of the Government roadmap, meaning that most legal restrictions have been lifted. There are no longer any restrictions on how many people can take part in Tennis or Rackets.
The Government has published guidance for the sports on how to organise and participate safely in sporting activity.
Tennis is a naturally socially distant sport and relatively low risk activity. Rackets may have more interactions and the following safety measures are advised. However, undertaking the following key considerations can help to ensure the safety of players when attending clubs and schools, should reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Players should take the following steps to reduce the risk of transmission when playing at your club or school.
Check for COVID-19 symptoms. Before attending any Tennis or Rackets activity, players should self-assess for symptoms of COVID-19. These are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
If you, or anyone you live with, have one or more of these symptoms you should not play, even if your symptoms are mild. You should follow NHS guidance on testing and self-isolation. If you have been informed that you need to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (or are required to self-isolate in relation to travel), you must do so. You should not leave your isolation location in order to participate in Tennis or Rackets. You can find more information in the NHS guidance on how to self-isolate.
Follow your club/school's safety measures. The club or school you are attending may put in place safety measures, which could include asking you to ‘check in’ using the NHS app to scan their QR code, supporting NHS Test and Trace. Whilst this is no longer a legal requirement for venues or participants, it will continue to support NHS Test and Trace and reduce risk of transmission of the virus.
Take part safely. With good ventilation, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 whilst participating is low. However, participants should continue to:
- Follow good hygiene practices, to reduce the risk of transmission in sport environments. Consider the concerns of other players (i.e. should they not wish to shake hands).
- Avoid sharing water bottles. You should take your own drink, in a labelled or highly distinguishable container.
- Use your own racquets, where possible.
Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings, to protect themselves and others.
Self-imposed social distancing measures are still advisable for doubles. The government advice changed the rules for close contact, enabling players to make informed personal decisions. The T&RA worked with Sport England to understand what this change in close contact meant for Tennis and Rackets.
In line with Government guidance, clubs and schools are recommended to undertake the following actions.
Complete a health and safety risk assessment for risks from COVID-19. This should be shared with your professionals and any staff. Further information is available in the Government’s guidance and HSE guidance. There is additional advice for events in the Events and Attractions guidance.
Refuse entry to players with COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members and players should self-isolate if they or someone in their household has symptoms of COVID-19. They must also self-isolate if they or someone in their household has had a positive COVID-19 result, or if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. If you know that a worker is self-isolating, you must not ask or make them come to work. It is an offence to do this.
Provide good ventilation. Venues should make sure there is a supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. More information is available in the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enable players to check in. It is no longer a legal requirement to collect contact details, however if you offer this facility it will help to support NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. Venues can enable people to check in by providing an NHS QR code poster, though be advised this cannot be enforced and you cannot turn players away if they refuse. If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who ask to check in but do not have the app.
Increased cleaning regime. Clubs and schools should increase how often they clean surfaces, especially those that are touched frequently. Staff and players should be encouraged to use hand sanitiser and clean their hands frequently.
Communication. Keep your professionals, staff and players up-to-date on your safety measures and expectations.
Further detailed considerations for venues are outlined on the Government website.
Whilst the risk from taking part in Tennis or Rackets is low, professionals should consider the following when coaching or organising competitions, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Conduct a risk assessment - This should be shared with any other staff. More information is available in the Government’s guidance and HSE guidance. There is additional advice for event organisers in the Events and Attractions guidance.
Communications and provide guidance to players beforehand - including completing a self-assessment for symptoms of COVID, and that they should not take part if they need to self-isolate.
Enable participants to check in – whilst this is not a legal requirement to collect participants’ contact details for NHS Test and Trace, and you do not have to ask participants to check in or turn them away if they refuse, the Government advises displaying an NHS QR code for those who want to check in.
Encourage good hygiene – including avoiding shared water bottles. Different players may wish to continue with some recent restrictions, such as not shaking hands.
Avoid shared equipment – where possible and practical. Remember to clean between usages where required.
Encourage use of face coverings where appropriate – this is no longer required by law, hwoever the Government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings.