Return To Play Update: 04/08/20

A message from Chris Davies:

Dear All,

First of all, I hope that you are coping well and staying healthy amid Covid 19.

Whilst July and August can sometimes be a relatively quiet time for the game, I thought you would want to be aware that the EFA Board has been very active in recent weeks trying to establish an effective protocol that will help us secure a return to court at the earliest, safe opportunity.

I should perhaps preface the situation with three basic points:

  • The safety of our members remains our main priority.
  • Until there is an effective vaccine, we are very unlikely indeed to be able to state that we could ever eliminate the risk of the transmission of Covid 19, or other viruses, entirely from the game.
  • Along the lines of 'savings can go down as well as up', remember that anything stated here is not a one-way road to early resumption of the game. Local, national or even global spikes can send the programme into reverse and delay resumption for an indefinite period.

We have been in consultation with Sport England and the Sport and Recreational Alliance as well as taking medical advice.

We are advised that in outdoor courts, the risk would be extremely low and can be reduced further by an effective risk assessment that would need to be both applied and adhered to rigorously. I am grateful to Gareth for his work on this document.

Whilst we can give advice to those who may perceive themselves to be generally fit and healthy, at all stages, each individual would need to consider their own state of health and any further risks for them, and indeed others, that their return to the game might involve.

Effectively therefore for there to be a return to court, there needs to be a risk assessment:

  • For the Sport
  • For each club and venue
  • For each individual (This would not need to be a formalised written document unless desired by the individual concerned.)

We are therefore on the verge of submitting a risk assessment / protocol which will have to be signed off by the DCMS (Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) before we can proceed with our plans. As yet we have no specific time line for this but we have no reason to suspect that there will be significant delays in the process.

The return to play on indoor courts is further away at the time of writing.

Overall therefore, we are not there yet, but we are making some useful progress and we will of course keep you all fully up to date whenever we have a significant message to give.

If you do have any comments on this or any additional information that you think may be helpful to us, we would be keen to hear from you.

In the meantime, I wish you all continued good health.

Yours,

CJD signature

Chris Davies
Chair EFA