July 31, 2020
Dear Members, Colleagues and Friends,
You will be aware the First Minister updated Scottish Parliament yesterday, 30 July, on the next steps of the route map through and out of the pandemic. She confirmed that while prevalence of COVID-19 is now very low in Scotland it has not gone away and remains a public health risk. Therefore, Scotland will stay in phase 3 with only a limited number of changes over the next three weeks. An updated route map is available here.
In summary, these latest government guidelines mean we will NOT be able to return to play until September 14 when Indoor Sports Facilities will be allowed to re-open following guidance including physical distancing and enhanced hygiene measures. Please note however the Scottish Government is keeping under review whether this date can be brought forward. (the next formal review date is 20 August)
Members should also be aware that while we welcome these indicative dates for re-opening many facility providers are facing significant challenges and therefore the situation may vary across the country.
As previously advised, Table Tennis Scotland in cooperation with Scottish Government and sportscotland has developed a set of practical guidelines for clubs and players to follow so that table tennis in Scotland can resume safely and in a way that helps to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid 19). These guidelines are currently being updated following the announcement yesterday and will be circulated soon following a final sign off by sportscotland.
For your information the other major changes announced yesterday were:
- Self-isolation: Those testing positive should self-isolate for 10 days (increased from 7 days previously). No change to 14 days self-isolation for those in contact with someone who tests positive or entering/returning from international travel from relevant countries.
- Shielding: Shielding will be paused from 1 August. At that point those currently shielding can follow guidance for general public. Guidance for this group to return to work is available here.
- Schools: Schools will re-open on 11 August. In some areas there will be a phased approach over the first few days. All schools will be open for all pupils for full-time education from 18th Detailed guidance is available here.
The key dates for sport (dates beyond 20 August are indicative only and subject to change) are:
- Saturday 1 August
- Shielding: Those shielding can now undertake work, including sports coaching (paid or voluntary). This group are already able to participate in sport and leisure activities.
- Monday 3 August
- Coaching: The cap on the number of households a coach can work with in a day is removed (currently four), subject to any sport-specific guidance. Limits on size and number of households in a group that a coach can work with at any one time remain. (Scottish Government are considering a date for relaxing restrictions of size of groups that can be coached at one time, but no date or detail given at this stage.)
- Monday 11 August
- Schools: Schools re-open. Education Scotland will publish guidance on safe practice in physical education in time for the return to school. Existing guidance to the public on organised outdoor sport for children and young people should be considered when planning and preparing for physical activity and sport in schools. Adult visitors to schools should be strictly limited only to those that are necessary to support children and young people or the running of the school, with potential impacts for those not based in a school, but involved in supporting PE and school sport. The provision of activities or clubs outside the usual school timetable can be conducted subject to the general guidance on school re-opening and relevant guidance to the general public, but schools should consider the need for out of hours cleaning when scheduling activities.
Indicative Dates (below dates are indicative, follow the next formal review point on 20th August, and subject to change)
- Monday 24 August
- Outdoor contact sport: Organised outdoor contact sport allowed to resume for adults, following relevant SGB guidance. (Currently only allowed for children under 18.)
- Live outdoor events: Allowed to resume with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted numbers, subject to guidance. Further detail required to understand relevance to sports events.
- Friday 14 September
- Indoor sports facilities: Allowed to re-open following guidance, including physical distancing and enhanced hygiene. Government will keep under review whether this date can be brought forward. An earlier date may be given specifically for some indoor children’s activities.
- Stadia: Limited re-opening following guidance including restricted numbers and physical distancing. Some test events may be held ahead of this date.
- Live indoor events: Allowed to resume with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted numbers, subject to guidance. Further detail required to understand relevance to sports events.
In conclusion, whilst we welcome yesterday`s announcements around dates, TTS does recognise the very real frustrations and challenges our sport is currently facing and the impact this pandemic is continuing to have on all of our members. Rest assured we will continue to engage with all partners to ensure the safest possible return to play. There is now some light at the end of the tunnel however I must stress that public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority and that we have a responsibility to do what we can in the wider table tennis community to continue to suppress the spread of the virus and prevent a second wave.
On behalf of everyone at Table Tennis Scotland stay safe, stay healthy and keep washing those hands!!
Just a reminder the TTS office remains closed and the staff are working from home: any queries to:
Richard Yule: Chief Operating Officer
07739 574 356 (M)