Release from lock-down (Rackets)

Updated: 22 Jul 2021 Updated guidance
Published: 04 Mar 2021

Self-regulated mitigating measures advised for doubles

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 Rackets clubs, schools, 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.

The emphasis has now shifted and legislation will now become guidelines. HMG expects clubs, schools and individuals to remain alert that the COVID-19 pandemic is virulent, and players to be aware of the likely symptoms of COVID-19 and take such measures as to avoid the unnecessary spread of the virus. You should not play Rackets if either tested positive or have the symptoms.

The T&RA has assessed the risk of playing singles to be low; and the risk of playing doubles to be low-medium. This means that singles and doubles are permitted, but mitigating (self-imposed) measures are advised for doubles.

With the new government guidance, much of the on-court risk is self-regulated; hence players should be aware of the threats within their environment, and take measures to mitigate any perceived risk. This is start of the new process which will ultimately see the UK living with the virus.

The risk is mostly the occasional (and generally fleeting) close proximity of players and it is this aspect which needs to be mitigated. All players should therefore avoid playing too close to their opponents (singles) and they should avoid such situations in doubles, calling for a let if in doubt. A fleeting encounter (within one meter for less than three seconds) is considered low risk.

In addition, players should not play if feeling unwell with COVID-like symptoms or have been told to isolate - avoidance is one of the better ways to control the spread of the virus. Do remember to regularly wash your hands. The risk of cross-infection is low and can be reduced further if each player serves with their own ball - retaining it it their pockets when not in the box. Avoid hand-shaking and play without unnecessary shouting (again, raised voices spread infection further). Also avoid touching the wall unnecessarily.

Clubs are advised to provide optimal ventilation and to enforce an air gap (approx. 15 minutes) between successive games so as to allow air to recirculate in the court. Clubs should also update their own risk assessments and remember the rule of six or two households when players are in other areas away from the court.

Rackets Guidelines

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