Ottawa (ON) | May 29, 2020
As restrictions begin to lift in various provinces across Canada, bowls clubs will be turning their attention to how they might continue to return to play. Every province is at a different state of readiness and will have different guidelines or requirements from their local health authority. Phase 2 of the Return to Play Framework offers some suggestions on how clubs may be able to begin to return to modified games while still adhering to health and safety precautions.
“Although the Phase 2 protocol is now available, I can’t emphasize enough that clubs take the time to work slowly through the phases at their own pace,” said Bowls Canada Executive Director Anna Mees. “We know that clubs are all at different stages of readiness to implement these safety protocols. Each club must be confident in their ability to offer a safe environment and that their members have been educated on the how’s and the why’s of the Return to Plan protocols.”
The Return to Play Framework in its entirety represents a national standard by which bowls clubs across the country may consider reopening their doors. While each local and provincial public health authority will have specific standards that must also be followed, clubs will want to assure their insurance providers that they are implementing the recommended standards by their national governing sport body.
In addition to implementing scheduling, sanitization and movement flow protocols onsite, club directors across the country will also want to pay particular attention to the increased needs for documentation. Daily waivers, declaration forms and acknowledgement of risk prior to play are fast becoming the new norms in this current environment. Documentation on when people arrive and when they leave, as well as proof that you are following your protocols (such as who cleaned an area, when it was cleaned, how it was cleaned, etc.), will prove critical should someone from your club test positive for COVID-19. This documentation will be the first thing asked for by public health authorities and your insurance provider. To help ease this burden, Bowls Canada is currently working on template forms that clubs will be able to adapt for their own use.
“The Return to Play Framework may seem complicated, but that is because COVID-19 is complicated. If Italy and the UK are any indication, 80% of people who die from COVID-19 are over the age of 70, which puts our bowling members at a much higher risk than the rest of the population”, said Ian Howard, President of Bowls Canada. “Clubs in Canada must be confident in their abilities to implement and maintain return to play protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of their members.”
Each club will need to assess the risk in their respective areas and evaluate whether or not they are able to open. Some clubs may feel that given their circumstances, the risk may be simply too great to allow members to return to play at this time. Bowls Canada has prepared a checklist tool to help clubs assess their ability to implement the Return to Play protocols and create a plan to return to play. This checklist is available through provincial bowls associations.
Says Mees, “While many bowlers in Canada are eager to get back on the greens, the reality is that it may not be in everyone’s best interest to do so just yet. We are cautioning clubs that slow and steady wins the race here. We want to make sure that all of our bowlers are able to enjoy the game safely.”
If your club is ready for Phase 2 of the Return to Play Framework, you can access it here. The remaining phases will be released in the future as plans across the country continue to evolve.
For more information, please contact:
Anna Mees, Executive Director, Bowls Canada Boulingrin
About Bowls Canada
Bowls Canada Boulingrin (BCB) is the governing body responsible for lawn bowls in Canada. The BCB mission is to advance the sport of bowls in Canada. For more details on Bowls Canada Boulingrin and the sport of lawn bowls, visit www.bowlscanada.com.