Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Polish Squash joins in national scheme to end lockdown


Hasta La Vista club in Poland is the world’s biggest squash club

Federation works with Sports Ministry to plan reopening programme
By ROSANNA RADLINSKA-TYMA – Squash Mad Correspondent

Squash clubs in Poland will have to wait until phase four of the government’s plans to end the coronavirus lockdown.

Poland reacted quite quickly in terms of introducing special measures to tackle Covid-19 and flatten the curve. The country shut down the borders on March 14 and only Polish citizens were allowed to cross the border and those foreigners who work in Poland.

Shutting the borders also meant checks and tracking people. Anybody who was crossing the border had their temperature checked and needed to fill out the form with personal data and the address where they would quarantine.

It was no joke as there are massive penalties if you break your quarantine. The police run daily checks on you, so you have to stay at home. The use of a Home Quarantine application on the phone is also compulsory (a system with some flaws of course, but in place). The shops remained open with limited number of people going in and the introduction of “Senior Hours” between 10.00 and 12.00 for people over 65 to do the shopping (no younger ones were allowed at that time).

Poland has just enter phase two of reopening the economy. Phase One meant more people were allowed in the shops but wearing compulsory masks and each shop is obliged to have dispensers with disinfectant as well as disposable gloves for each customer.

Phase Two means launches today (May 4) with reopening of hotels, shopping malls, physiotherapy, museums, but most of all open air sports are coming back. All of it with sanitary measures, of course.

All squash clubs in Poland have closed and their reopening is included in Phase four which might be at the beginning of June provided the disease does not spread faster due to three former phases. Polish Squash understands that most of the clubs in Poland are private companies and that businesses not working are not bringing any revenue. Not to mention all players longing to get back on courts.

Having that in mind, Waldek Kobus, a Polish Squash board member, started talks with the club owners and coaches on how to move clubs reopening from Phase Four to Phase Three and after a long brainstorming session Polish Squash sent the petition to the Ministry of Sport on behalf of the clubs.

The petition was complemented by the attachment where all sanitary measures and procedures were introduced.

I would like to share those ideas in this article as other NGBs can use them (adopt, adapt or add) as well should they need to appeal to their respective ministries.

Guidelines on the functioning of squash clubs during COVID-19 in Poland

The main goal of the implemented procedures is:
1. To ensure safety of facility users (facilities are independent squash clubs or multisport facilities with separate space for squash courts) and other people in the club.
2. To avoid infection of employees of the facility offering court rental to outsiders – suppliers, customers.
3. To reduce the number of contacts on site, to enable identification of persons who will be subject to quarantine in case of confirmed infection.
4. To keep the facility functioning and providing work under sanitary measures.
5. To boost the economy – opening squash clubs – over 200 facilities in Poland.
6. To provide squash players (approx. 250,000 people) psychological and physical comfort thanks to the possibility of practising this sport.
Therefore, for the duration of the epidemic in Poland, Squash facilities renting squash courts (further referred to as clubs) will introduce the following procedures:
I. Preventative procedures.
II. Procedures limiting spread of the virus.
III. Procedures when one of employees or a club member is infected.

I. Preventative Procedures
1. Introduction of an information campaign on hygiene rules, in particular how to wash and disinfect hands, put on and remove gloves and masks, by displaying instructions in public places, i.e. on information boards, at the entrances to the club premises and placing leaflets from the abovementioned information campaign at the club reception. The club users are obliged to read the leaflet and to obey the rules, which the user confirms with his/her own signature.
Annex No. 1 Instructions for effective hand washing.
Annex No. 2 Instructions for effective hand disinfection.
Annex 3 Instructions for putting on and taking off the mask properly.
Annex 4 Instructions for putting on and taking off gloves correctly.
2. Before booking the court, the client is obliged to complete a questionnaire – epidemiological risk assessment, which is sent electronically.
Annex No. 5 Epidemiological risk assessment
3. After verification of the information in the questionnaire, the club employee may refuse
court booking.
4. Customers and outsiders with medical symptoms may not stay in the club.
The club staff verifies the health of customers, including non-contact body temperature measurement. In case of elevated temperature (above 38 degrees C) or clear signs of illness such as persistent cough, malaise, difficulty breathing, a person cannot be allowed into the club.
5. The customer who may have been exposed to COVID-19 infection is required to report this fact to a club employee.

II. Procedures limiting spread of the virus
1. Club employees are optionally equipped with security measures, i.e. protective glass (for the staff)
customer) or distance barriers and protective helmets, goggles, face masks and other tools or ways to isolate the club employee from those who use the club.
2. There is a soap dispenser and gels / lotions for hand disinfection available in all clubs
sanitary facilities and at every entrance to the club and courts. All dispensers are refilled on a regular basis.
3. All customers and guests are required to disinfect their hands and cover their mouths and nose on
entering the club.
4. Due to the inability to provide a distance of at least 1.5 meters between players on the court, players are to disinfect hands and racket handles before
entering the court; it is advisable to use disposable masks or masks during the game. All players are also required to put on protective goggles before
entering the court.
5. Restrictions in contact between club users are introduced:
– only two players can be in the club at the same time, in addition to staff; during the exchange of players on the courts, those waiting for the game should stay in the marked area (right side of the glass). Entrance on court only after disinfection of door handles and doors by club staff.
– individual courts are booked at intervals adjusted to the number of club courts to avoid any accumulation of people by the courts and those who use different courts do not have direct contact with one another.
– limiting time of staying in changing rooms changing clothes in changing rooms will be excluded;
– changing rooms and toilets to be used to only wash hands before entering and after leaving the court; use the toilets is available;
– showering is prohibited;
– saunas are closed.

6. An obligation to wear masks and gloves by external suppliers and guests is introduced.
7. It is forbidden to greet by shaking hands.
8. On the facility floors, navigation lanes will be designated for people going to individual courts.
9. Keeping a safe distance of at least 1.5 m while moving around the club.
10. Disinfecting surfaces such as door handles, light switches, handrails, table tops after every customer.

III. Procedures when one of employees or a club member is infected
1. The club collects data on the dates and hours of using the club and people, who were in the club at that time.
2. The club provides:
– information for clients and other club users about the situation related to infected people;
– immediate notification of the regional sanitary and epidemiological station with a purpose joint identification of persons who were in immediate contact with an infected person; these people will be quarantined;

3. Recommendation of 2-week remote work (or abstention from work) for employees who had direct contact with the infected person and supply staffing if necessary. If after this time there are no symptoms of the disease, employees can return to work in the club.
4. Disinfecting the entire section of the club where the infected person was staying and determining whether any of the parts of the building should be excluded for a longer period of time.
5. Determining whether additional procedures should be implemented, taking into account the case.”
I had a discussion with Mike Hegarty from the Lexden club in England regarding some of the points eg. GDPR, but I think when we agree to share our data, we are also in a position to remove it should Covid-19 is eradicated or disappears.

The whole text in Polish and appropriate attachments can be found here.

Meanwhile, I cordially greet the whole squash community hoping that we will see one another soon, be it on court or during a squash event. Stay safe.

Rosanna Radlinska-Tyma


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