BD COVID update: BD suspension extended until 07 March 2021
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The respective governments for England, Scotland and Wales have all completed their initial reviews into the current lockdown restrictions and have confirmed that these will be further extended at least for the next three to four weeks. As a result, British Dressage can confirm that all training and competition activity will remain suspended up to and including 7 March 2021 and any events that remain in the calendar over this period will be cancelled.
Lockdown restrictions are beginning to have a positive effect, with a decrease in case numbers and the ‘R’ rate coming down across the country. However, recent statements from the three governments indicate that it’s still too early to begin relaxing the ‘stay at home’ message and we must all continue to observe the restrictions in place. The vaccine roll out programme continues to move at pace, with more than 10 million people in the UK already receiving their first dose, providing further hope that society can step back towards normality in the coming months.
While the overall picture is improving, the governments for each of the home nations have indicated that schools will be prioritised in the first phase, as lockdown restrictions are eased gradually. It is therefore unlikely that any BD organised competitions or training will be able to restart for at least the next six weeks. While this unfortunately means extending our suspension period into early March, we continue to work with our organisers and venues to plan ahead for the resumption of activity as soon as we are permitted to do so.
The governments for each of the home nations are expected to publish their roadmaps for recovery during week commencing 22 February, providing more detail on the timetable for the easing of restrictions. BD is currently working on a ‘return to play’ operational plan that we will aim to release by the end of this month, which will include further information on our key competition dates and qualification. As previously announced, this still includes rescheduling the Winter Regionals and Area Festivals as a priority, if at all possible, as part of these contingency plans.
BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam commented; “We want to provide members with as clear a picture as possible before we put plans into action for a return to training and competition. However, we can only do so once we have more definitive timescales from the respective governments around the relaxation of lockdown restrictions. We appreciate that members will have questions and concerns about their qualifications and campaigns, but once again we request for your patience and understanding while we await further information at the next review stage.
“A number of options, involving various different scenarios, are already in motion and we’ll release our operational roadmap later this month that works in everyone’s best interests, within the time frames available. Uncertainty only compounds the challenges of lockdown, so we want to give all of our stakeholders a clear sense of direction as soon as we can, in order to start planning for the season ahead. Once again, flexibility and understanding will be key to a successful and safe return to action and we are very grateful to members for all of their support to date.”