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SPORT is on its way back … but still with ‘physical’ distancing as part of activity.

The Scottish Government (Thursday 28 May) confirmed plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown, launching ‘Phase 1’ of a four-stage process that includes guidance on how sport and recreational activity can resume.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that non-contact outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, bowls, fishing, hiking, canoeing and outdoor swimming will be permitted from tomorrow (28 May), so long as all participants adhere to the two-metre social/physical distancing measures, as the general population is again allowed to meet friends outdoors, sunbathe and start shopping at garden centres. Scottish Athletics quickly updated their new ‘Exit Plan Framework’ guidance for coaches, athletes and clubs, with outdoor coaching now allowed one-to-one and training with members of the same household or from one other household (see below).

In Phase 2, which will come into effect when the virus is considered to be controlled, R (infection) value is consistently below 1 and the six WHO criteria (see below) are in place, playgrounds and sports courts can be re-opened – again with social distancing – and professional sport will be allowed to begin its return in line with specific public health advice. However, the First Minister warned that any signs of a resurgence could alter the phased progression.

In Phase 3 sport, culture and some leisure facilities, including gyms, will be allowed to open, subject to physical distancing and hygiene measures, along with live events, if they can guarantee distancing and hygiene measures are in place.

For us to enter Phase 3, the government states: ‘the virus will have been suppressed and Test and Protect working across Scotland means we will understand where any additional local measures might be required. Many workplaces will already have adapted, with physical distancing the norm. Communities will be fully engaged and participating in the transition back to a more open life and economy.”

Phase 4 comes in when the coronavirus is not longer considered a significant risk to the public, possibly due to a  virus being developed, however, distancing may still remain and it is not believed that this will become a reality until later the end of the 2020, and possibly 2021.

Schools are to open from 11 August with support being provided now for many children entering primary and secondary schools for the first time, and with additional needs. The OSS hosted a webinar on Wednesday 27 May involving experts from Scottish and New Zealand education, where nearly 1,000 attendees contributed to a panel discussion on how school sport and PE will shape its ‘new normal’. You can catch up and watch the video replay here (skip the first 2mins 30 secs, as webinar was restarted at this point due to a sound glitch early on).

The next OSS webinar (10 June) will turn the spotlight on community sport and how we encourage volunteers back into school and community sport as the lockdown eases, with a presentation on how to motivate and support volunteers.

See below links to guidance on coronavirus and returning to sport.