Bars are shut but courts are open as Kiwis return to action
By ROD BANNISTER – Squash Mad Correspondent
The bubble in New Zealand has been broken. As of today as a country we can hug our loved ones and extend our bubbles (small contact group), a result of stringent measures put in place by our government for several weeks.
Last Tuesday our PM announced that squashies are able to get back on our squash courts giving us the green light along with many other industries for our clubs and their volunteer committees to open the doors on Thursday the 14th of May.
As with this Covid journey to date there are perameters around what getting back on to the squash court will look like:
All clubs are doing all they can to open up as soon as they are able to. There is empathy with a large number of clubs who struggle managing their centres due to a volunteer base and no part-time or full-time workers, so some clubs may open after this Thursday due to this challenge.
Many clubs have posted on their Facebook pages about the next steps that will be clearer in the coming days once their committees understand exactly what is required around compliancy.
Squash NZ have released the following:
Ensure there is a safety plan in place
No more than 10 people in a facility at one time
Ensure no high-risk people enter the facility
Ensure you meet contact tracing requirements
Doubles, singles can be played
Ensure your facility has extensive signage and information providing precautions regarding managing C19
Ensure your facility is up to date with a cleaning schedule and soap and hand sanitiser is available and is consistently refilled
Ensure the staff and volunteers are properly briefed on all information regarding precautions for managing C19
Social distancing is not required while on court playing. However, ensure processes are put in place to ensure social distancing in all areas outside of the court (hallways, common areas, changing rooms)
Bars are a no-go at this stage
District (County) / club and competitions may take place once risk-assessed by the coordinating body
Coaches should ensure that before any activity occurs they have a safety plan in place that ensures contact tracing, physical distancing and health and safety obligations are met.
My local five-court Whanganui squash club has released this on their Facebook page:
WE ARE READY TO GO!
The Squash Club has been cleaned, all notices hung, no-go areas highlighted, cleaning products are ready and hand-sanitiser waiting at the door.
AS OF 11am TOMORROW, members who have paid their subs or made payment arrangements, their cards will be activated and the courts will be open for playing.
· The club is open to members. No visitors!
· If you are unwell, please stay home!
· Swipe in one at a time to the club. Close the door behind you!
· Bring your own drink bottle!
· Come changed ready to go!
· Please make sure you are cleaning down surfaces you have touched before you leave!
· Enjoy having a hit!
If you haven’t already been in touch about your membership and you would like to get back on court, please make contact with us at the club.
Membership payment or part-payment activates your card, which in return gets you on court, but is also the clubs means of contact tracing.
Limited access or not, we Kiwi squashies are ready!!!!!!
Footnote: Updates later with pictures to follow.
I am interested to know how people have responded to court openings. Are they flocking to the courts or nervous about returning? Are lessons happening? Juniors etc? I would love to see a follow-up with some subjective insight into the items above.