BD update: England lockdown, Scotland travel restrictions and Wales post-firebreak measures
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The Prime Minister has announced another national lockdown in England, effective from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December inclusive. During this four-week lockdown, people are required to stay at home except for work, if it cannot be done from home, education, exercise and recreation, medical reasons, to care for another or essential shopping.
The new restrictions also prevent people gathering with those you do not live with, except for specific purposes like exercise, while non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues will be required to close for the duration of the lockdown. The government has stated that indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, specifically including ‘stables and riding centres’ must close.
While professional sports are exempt from these restrictions, as they can continue under elite sport protocols, indications are that amateur sport will not be permitted to operate during this four-week period. We are seeking further clarification from the Department for Digital, Media and Sport, UK Sport and Sport England, but on this basis it is likely that British Dressage will have to suspend all organised training and competition activity in England from Thursday 5 November up to and including Wednesday 2 December.
British Dressage headquarters in Meriden will close from Thursday onwards and all office staff will revert to working from home. Members will still be able to make contact via phone and email and we will do our utmost to provide you with a full service as normal.
We understand that members will have many questions, which we will endeavour to answer as soon as further information is available over the next couple of days. While we await more details from DCMS, which is likely to be after Parliament has voted on the proposed measures on Wednesday, based on the announcements so far and experience from the previous lockdown we are anticipating that the following will apply to BD members:
- You can continue to exercise, including riding, either on your own, with people you live with, with your support bubble or one person from another household. Children under school age, as well as those dependent on care from their parents, do not count towards the limit of two people meeting outside. A short journey is permitted in order to exercise if necessary.
- Although stables and riding centres are required to close, members will still be able to continue attending to and caring for their horse on welfare grounds, if they are unable to make alternative arrangements. This is subject to obtaining permission from the proprietor and any additional requirements put in place by a yard owner should be respected.
- Individuals who are not able to work effectively from home can continue to travel to do so. This would include coaches visiting clients in private facilities, to deliver one to one training or to members of the same household, providing social distancing and hygiene measures are adhered to at all times.
- Online activity can still operate as normal, with four BD approved providers continuing to provide a number of opportunities for members to engage in remote training and competitions from home during the lockdown period.
Please note that until midnight on Wednesday 4 November, the relevant local COVID alert level tier system and measures will continue to apply.
BD Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam, commented: “Going back into lockdown is disappointing for everyone, but we have to accept that it’s necessary and we will at least have a much better understanding of what it means for the sport and business this time. While organised training and competitions may have to be suspended, we will be working with sporting organisations to urge government to permit as much individual activity as possible within the COVID protocols.”
“We’ve already been working on a number of contingency plans for winter qualifications and we’ll make further announcements in due course, once the situation becomes clearer across England, Scotland and Wales over coming weeks. We are also now looking to reschedule two Regional Quest Finals, one in Wales and one in the Eastern Region, and hope to be able to confirm new dates soon.
“The team at BDHQ are busy working on some new online initiatives, including additional digital content that we aim to release over the next month, so that you’ll still have your ‘dressage fix’ during lockdown. It’s frustrating for all of us that we can’t share these with you in person, but we hope to use this opportunity to innovate and add value for members while you’re unable to compete.”
“We are acutely aware of the significant impact that this pandemic continues to have on our members, particularly our organisers, coaches and officials. While we welcome the increased financial support that is available for venues and the self-employed, the government needs to do much more in order to safeguard the future of sport. There is a petition set up by UK Active that I would encourage everyone to sign – ‘Save Community Sports Clubs and Leisure Facilities with a Sports Recovery Fund’. Your help to support this campaign would be appreciated.”
Scotland – new travel advice
In addition to the five tier system introduced last week by the Scottish First Minister, sportscotland has released further guidance around travel restrictions. The overall message is that you should avoid travel to other areas, regardless of their level, unless this is deemed to be essential.
For exercise/sport, there are exemptions; however, these are very limited:
- You can travel freely for exercise within your own Local Authority area.
- Level 0, 1, or 2 areas – you should minimise unnecessary journeys between areas in different levels and avoid any unnecessary travel to places in Level 3 or Level 4 areas.
- Level 3 – you are permitted to travel around five miles outside of your own Local Authority area for exercise, but you should not go into a Level 4 area.
- Level 4 – you are not permitted to drive outside your Local Authority area for exercise, but are permitted to cross boundaries to exercise; e.g. a circular riding/walking/cycling route.
Anyone organising events for Under 18s can continue to do so across Levels 0-3. Under 18s can travel freely for exercise at Levels 0-3, but should not travel in or out of a Level 4 area. Parents/carers may drive and accompany U18's to their activity, but should not participate.
These restrictions mean that members in Level 3 areas will now not be allowed to travel outside of their local authority area beyond a five mile radius for training and competitions. Likewise, those residing in Level 0 – 2 areas should not travel into Level 3 area for training and competitions.
Wales – post lockdown measures
The First Minister in Wales today announced that, for the two week period after the current firebreak has concluded, a range of national restrictions will be put in place to consolidate the impact of the lockdown.
From Monday 9 November, the following measures will apply:
- Two households will be able to join together to form a bubble or extended household
- Only this group will be able to meet in people's homes
- There will be new arrangements to meet indoors in other settings
- Up to 15 people will be able to meet to take part in indoor activities
- Up to 30 people will be able to participate in outdoor activities
- All business venues that have been closed since 23 October will be able to open again
- There will be no travel restrictions inside Wales, but during the lockdown in England, travel will not be permitted outside Wales without a reasonable excuse. Those who live in England and travel to Wales for work will be permitted to do so as a reasonable excuse. A 'restricted list of essential purposes' will be introduced which will allow people to travel between the countries.