I have received the following letter from England Athletics, in the light of which all RntS events and meetings, including training sessions, will be cancelled until we have further advice to the contrary, but at least until the end of May.
Secretary’s update – updated guidance from England Athletics in the light of recent restrictionsCoronavirus Statement
UPDATE 25 May 2020
Under the latest England Athletics guidance, group training sessions are still not allowed but athletics and running coaching activity can take place on a one-to-one basis only (i.e. one coach and one athlete OR two athletes with no coach present). These two individuals do not need to be from the same family or household, but both must adhere to the latest social distancing guidance. There will be no competitive events until at least the end of June.
“ATHLETICS IN ENGLAND SUSPENSION EXTENDED UNTIL 31 MAY 2020
24 March 2020
Following the further restrictions on movement put in place by the UK Government last night, UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations have made the following updates to our previous statement issued on 17 March:
- Extending the suspension of all athletics activity in England to the 31 May. [Initially this had been agreed to the end of April]. This suspension includes all organised athletics activity in the UK, including all competitions, formal club activities, running groups, and all Education activity (coach, official, teacher).
- Strengthening our position on coaching activity – We are now mandating that all physical coaching ceases, and only be conducted via virtual means during this period. Bringing groups of people together to train, however small, can no longer be permitted under the strict ‘Stay at home’ measures implemented by the UK Government.
These decisions have not been taken lightly and have been made in light of the continuing and real risk to life and to the NHS posed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus in England. We must now do all we can do. We would ask that the athletics community in England continues to help one another by staying connected and supportive of each other whilst at home in these unprecedented times. We will continue to review the situation in line with Government and Public Health guidance.In addition to providing clarity to clubs, athletes, runners, coaches and officials, we are acutely aware that a number of competition providers have already made the bold decision to postpone their events in recognition that they stand to incur additional contractual costs on facilities that they have booked should they not make that decision now. We will continue to review this decision as the government guidance evolves, but one thing is clear – and that is that athletics, running and sport in general is special and is an important contributor to our way of life, but it is very much secondary to protecting and saving lives at this current time.In its latest measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government has announced that everyone must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances.From last night (Monday 23 March), the only permissible reasons to leave your home are as follows:
- To shop for basic necessities and that should be limited to once a day
- To take exercise once a day – but alone or with those you live with, no gatherings of more than two people
- For medical reasons or to care for a vulnerable person
- To travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home. Further guidance to employers is pending.
While athletics is predominantly an outdoor sport that allows athletes to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19. We urge our members to utilise the opportunity to exercise as laid out by both governments, but as such, any informal small group training sessions of athletes or face-to-face coached sessions must now cease (*unless they are with your own household members as above).We have witnessed some very creative home and/or garden-based training sessions (safely of course) during the last week, and we would urge clubs and coaches to continue to be innovative during this period. A number of schools have also been task setting for their pupils and it would be of immense value to continue to engage athletes and your members in similar style tasks for athletics.There are numerous ways in which people can remain active whether that be core strength training at home, HIIT, Circuits, running and so on (whilst adhering to the government guidance) so we will be actively promoting these. We will of course be pushing out digital content relating to exercising at home during this week thanks to the work of our respective coaching and athlete development team members.England Athletics CEO Chris Jones comments: “We all have a responsibility to play our part in mitigating risk and in reducing the spread of this virus. It will be deflating to many but if we do pull together and adhere to the guidance issued then we will come through this period. In the meantime we will be working tirelessly as partners to provide value to our member clubs, athletes, runners, coaches and volunteers and will be organising activities and providing resources utilising a range of methods such as online forums, webinars and podcasts that will help people prepare for a time when we can all look forward with renewed optimism as an Athletics & Running family.”These decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we all get back to competing in the sport we love so much sooner.Good luck and stay safe! “
“17 March 2020
The UK government has advised that everyone in the UK should now avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others to fight coronavirus. Whilst it has not issued any ban on public gatherings of any size either indoors or outdoors at this stage, the advice is to avoid non-essential contact with others, including going to sporting events, pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues.
AS A RESULT, ENGLAND ATHLETICS ADVISES THAT ALL FACE-TO-FACE ACTIVITY SUCH AS CLUB TRAINING SESSIONS, EVENTS, COMPETITIONS, CLUB COMMITTEE AND FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS, ATHLETE CAMPS, RUNNING GROUPS AND SOCIAL EVENTS SHOULD BE SUSPENDED UNTIL AT LEAST THE END OF APRIL.
The decision has been taken in the interests of athletes, runners, officials, coaches, volunteers, supporters and the wider athletics and running communities. This decision is also in alignment with actions taken by the home country athletics federations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is similar to action taken by other sports.Where possible, athletes and runners at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.England Athletics will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to our sport in the coming weeks. We appreciate that the current situation will undoubtedly place our member clubs in a difficult situation and we are working with UKA and the other Home Country Athletics Federations on the best way to help alleviate the situation and will update you as plans evolve.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND ADVICE
Social distancing measures (as defined by Public Health England as spending more than 15 minutes and within a 2-metre distance talking to someone) are now advised not only if we test positive or have symptoms, but in day to day life. As well as current travel advice, the current UK government is advising anyone with a “new, continuous” cough or high temperature and those they live with need to self-isolate for 14 days.Click here for NHS advice on infection control
Click here for the government’s advice if you have symptoms
AT RISK GROUPS
The latest advice from the government’s chief medical adviser is that those over 70 currently do not need to be self-isolating. However, in the coming days, every Briton over the age of 70 and those in at-risk groups over the age of 70 will be advised to be “largely shielded from social contact” for 12 weeks to help protect themselves. Those with underlying medical issues such as high blood pressure, lung complaints and weakened or compromised immune systems are more likely to develop serious illness as a result of the disease.Anyone with a higher risk from viruses such as cold or flu should take sensible steps to reduce the risk of picking up infections. Click here for NHS advice on infection control – it is summarized below:
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
All qualification and development courses have been postponed. Everyone who has booked onto a course will be sent an email asap informing them of the postponement and will be able to defer their booking.Where we can, we will attempt to continue with education via online methods (e.g. webinar, Skype etc). However, this may not be practically possible for all activities. Where not, the aim will be to re-schedule courses to a later date wherever feasible.
We are currently undergoing a contingency planning process for qualifying races and will keep everyone updated as soon as possible.
We will be working with our partner runbritain to coordinate a communication detailing appropriate advice and guidance to road race organisers in the immediate future.
No emergency services will attend large gatherings so it is unavoidable that competitions will now be suspended until at least the end of April. We are in contact with event organisers to find suitable alternative dates within the competition calendar and the our cancellations page link is kept up to date: www.englandathletics.org/cancellations.”