Member Update: New COVID Restrictions for Wales and Scotland

  • Written By: British Dressag
  • Published: Wed, 22 Dec 2021 14:27

In the last 24 hours, announcements have come from the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland, with new measures being introduced to help control the spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid.

In Wales, from 26 December sporting events will have to take place behind closed doors and no spectators will be permitted.  This includes sporting events at every level and applies to indoor, outdoor, professional, grass roots and community sports.

There are no BD fixtures scheduled in Wales between Boxing Day and the next review date of 6 January, but British Dressage will continue to monitor the situation closely and make further announcements if there are any changes or extensions to these restrictions in the New Year.

UPDATE: on 22 December, the following restictions were also introduced:

  • Large events will not be allowed indoors or outdoors. The maximum number of people who can gather at an indoor event will be 30 and 50 outdoors.
  • There will be an exception for team sports, up to 50 spectators will be able to gather, in addition to those taking part. There is also an exception for events involving children.

Other measures indoors include a return to previous Alert Level 2 restrictions, including:

  • A legal requirement to work from home where possible, enforceable by fines on employers and employees.
  • A general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces, where reasonable.
  • The rule of six will apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres. Any six people may meet in these settings as a bubble.
  • All licensed premises will need to take additional measures to protect customers and staff, including table service and collecting contact details.
  • Face coverings will be required in hospitality settings at all times apart from when seated.

The government announced £120m of business support will be released to support businesses impacted by these changes, in addition to the £3m of support announced for sporting organisations impacted by the removal of spectators. More detail on these funds will be announced tomorrow. 

In Scotland, the First Minister also announced restrictions on public events, which come into force on 26 December for a period of at least three weeks:

  • Attendance at outdoor events will be limited to 500 people, with indoor events restricted to 100 standing or 200 seated.
  • All indoor hospitality and leisure venues will be required to operate with a one-metre distance between groups that are attending together.
  • Indoor hospitality venues will also return to table service, with no more than three households able to sit in one group.
  • Indoor contact sports should not take place during this time.

From 27 December, for a period of three weeks, people are being asked to limit their contacts, restrict gatherings to groups of no more than three households and to stay home as much as possible. Bars and restaurants should only operate on a table service basis where alcohol is served.

British Dressage fixtures can continue to run safely within these requirements, in line with the protocols we have previously put in place.  Further updates will be provided in due course, should these restrictions change or be extended beyond 17 January.

In England, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that there will not be any new Covid restrictions imposed before Christmas.  However, further updates are expected over the festive period, and it is anticipated that measures may still be introduced at a later date.  BD will work with all of our stakeholders to provide updated advice as and when announcements are made.

Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive, commented; “Once again we find ourselves in a constantly evolving situation, but we are now well experienced in how to manage this if further restrictions become necessary.  We will continue to monitor government guidance and communicate this advice to members as required.  Fortunately, our competition calendar is relatively quiet around the festive break but rest assured that we’ll be ready and prepared for any changes that may come into force in the New Year, so that BD activity can continue wherever possible.

"There’s clearly no room for complacency and we need to continue to be sensible in the way that we mix with others, including wearing face masks indoors, observing good hygiene practice, testing regularly and making sure we have the necessary vaccinations and boosters, to protect everyone involved in the dressage community by celebrating safely during the festive period.”