Eastern Region Rowing Council – Covid-19 page

Latest Covid-19 news, advice and guidance

Clubs and individual rowers are reminded that all British Rowing policies and guidelines still apply including the Code of Conduct, Safeguarding and Whistleblowing polices.

24th September

Following the publication of the details of the new COVID-19 measures announced by the UK Government, British Rowing have clarified the effects on the rowing community.

  • There is also a specific exemption from the ‘rule of six’ for “work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services” – this allows for those involved in the organisation of the rowing activity including competitions (e.g. coaches, officials) to be part of a group larger than six as long as it is in line with our Return to Rowing guidance.
  • From 24 September, indoor organised sport for over 18s is now subject to the ‘rule of six’. Groups of adults within club gyms or other indoor training facilities should be limited to groups of no larger than six. Clubs may have more than one group within an area of the club providing the different groups do not mix. There is an exemption to this rule for disabled people.Sporting activity for under 18s in indoor settings should be based on an appropriate risk assessment and the Government’s guidance for out of school settings.
  • Club bars and catering facilities must continue to follow the appropriate guidance from the Government for bars and restaurants and, from 24 September, will be required to close no later than 10pm.
  • From 24 September, clubs are required to display an official NHS QR code to support NHS Test and Trace. This should be provided alongside an alternative method for members to provide contact details for this purpose. You can read more about these requirements here and create your QR code here. We are seeking further clarification with regards whether different areas of the club (e.g. club bar) should display separate QR codes.

The clarifications above will be included in the next version of the Return to Rowing guidance alongside learnings from the test competition held last weekend. This version is due for publication at the start of the week commencing 28 September.

16th September

British Rowing’s Return to Rowing guidance has been updated to version 6.1. This provides clarification on a number of areas identified via feedback including:

  • The process for competitions (Affiliated Competitions & Private Matches) to demonstrate they are COVID- Secure
  • Group sizes
  • Changing room use
  • Spectators at competitions

As usual, all changes in this version are highlighted in yellow and a full list of changes is contained in the appendix at the end of the document.

The document is available from the British Rowing website or from this link. Please also note the contact details given below in order to get the best possible response.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole rowing community for their understanding, patience and responsible application of the guidance over the past few months. By sensibly applying the guidance we are all able to help keep each other safe whilst getting back to rowing.

What to do if you have questions?

If you are…

  • an individual member – you should contact your club in the first instance to understand their COVID-Secure protocols.
  • a club (including a school or university boat club) – please contact our Club Support team via clubsupport@britishrowing.org

an event or competition – please contact our competitions team via onlineentry@britishrowing.org 

14th September

British Rowing clarifies the effect of new Government Guidance

Organised sport, including rowing, is exempt from the new limitations on group sizes, however, clubs should remain vigilant and consider how the new rules may affect other parts of their activities.

British Rowing has clarified that new legal limitations on group sizes in England will not affect organised sporting activity and as such no changes will be made to the Return to Rowing guidance in relation to either competition or club activity. This is because a club/competition following our guidance will have appropriate COVID-Secure precautions in place. As stated in our guidance, group sizes and mixing between different groups should be kept to a minimum.

Clubs should remember that whilst an exemption is in place for organised sporting activities, the new rules do apply to the social activities of clubs. For example, no groups larger than six should be meeting within the club’s social facilities.

The British Rowing COVID-19 Situational Review Group met on Monday 14 September to assess the latest information available and it was agreed that our Return to Rowing plan will continue as originally timetabled. As such the move to larger private matches in Phase G, scheduled for Monday 14 September will come into effect as planned. It should be noted that should it be required British Rowing may decide to halt or reverse the guidance at any time, subject to updates from the UK Government.

26th August

British Rowing has issued  Version 6 of the Return to Rowing Guidance.

DCMS have now approved the proposals for a return to competition submitted by British Rowing and this issue includes a timetable, and  extensive and detailed advice for both competition organisers and attending clubs.

This version also includes advice for Clubs seeking to run virtual General meetings, schools wishing to run indoor rowing competitions, opt-ins and record keeping. This is available from the British Rowing website or downloaded from the Eastern Region website here.

13th August

British Rowing have updated the Return to Rowing advice to version 5.2. There are three updates in this version:

  • An update to the current phase description to reflect the move to Phase E
  • Enhanced advice for coxes
  • Addition of notes about fixed seat rowing

You can download a copy of this from the British Rowing website or directly here.

British Rowing is still awaiting feedback from DCMS on proposals for a return to competition. As and when these are approved they will be incorporated into the advice will be published as version 6.

12th August

British Rowing, working with the CPGA, has clarified the schedule for a return to crew boat rowing for the fixed seat and gig rowing community.

British Rowing recommends that fixed seat and gig rowing clubs apply the advice set out in the ‘Coronavirus Advice – Returning to Rowing’ document. As with all clubs, the advice should be used to form an appropriate risk assessment for the local environment the club operates in. 

Clubs should base their return to crew boat rowing on the following timetable:

PhaseTimingAllowed Boats
Phase Dfrom 1 AugustNo boats with more than two rowers, no coxed boats
Phase Efrom 15 AugustNo boats with more than five individuals
Phase Ffrom 29 AugustAll boats allowed

Particular considerations for fixed seat boats are:

  • Wherever possible at least two metres should be maintained between individuals, however, where this is not possible during launching/lifting, mitigations should be taken such as wearing face coverings.
  • When in the boat, individuals should maintain the maximum distance possible and avoid face-to-face contact as much as possible e.g. avoid turning to speak to a crew member or stopping for prolonged periods.

The next iteration of the British Rowing ‘Returning to Rowing’ document will be updated to reflect the advice above for fixed seat rowing.

11th August

British Rowing is extending the suspension of Affiliated Competitions until the end of September, however, a proposed timetable has been submitted to the Government for a phased return to competition.

  At this stage, we are extending our suspension of Affiliated Competitions until the end of September. We have submitted a proposed timetable for a return to competition to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and will publish this as soon as we have feedback from the Government on this.

  As part of this proposed timetable, and in order to ensure we are providing the best possible advice for competitions on how to be COVID Secure, we will be holding up to two test events before the full return of Affiliated Competitions. British Rowing will directly approach the organisers of these events in the near future and feedback from these will be used to improve the advice we provide to competition organisers.

July 31st

Following the announcements from Government over the last 24 hours British Rowing has issued a statement and revised Guidance (5.1) which can be found here.

There have been no specific changes to the UK Government advice for sport and therefore we will proceed cautiously to Phase D from 1 August and continue to review the situation

We would remind clubs of the importance of following both the Government and our advice to keep rowing clubs COVID-Secure. Given the speed of Government announcements in recent days, we also remind clubs that it is vital that their plans are easily reversible so that they are able to respond to any changes at a national or local level quickly

Can I also remind clubs of the forthcoming Sharing Good Practice session on 3rd August – registration is still open and we welcome all clubs seeking to share their thoughts and practices.

July 24th

Following the release of the latest Guidance Tracy Muir and Louise Rivett will be facilitating a further Open Forum on 3rd August at 18.00-19.30. Further details and registration here

July 23rd

Having received feedback from the DCMS, British Rowing has updated the Return to Rowing guidance specifically in relation to crew
boat rowing. The advice sets out a phased approach to the re-introduction of crew boats starting with coxless pairs and doubles before
gradually moving up to eights and octuples. Please note, none of the changes published today come into effect until 1 August

You can download this version, v5 here or from the British Rowing website

The advice requires clubs to put in place a number of measures to ensure that the risk of transmission of the virus through crew boat
rowing is reduced. These measures may take your club some time to put in place so please be patient with your club volunteers as
they work to understand and implement the requirements. The timetable set out in the advice defines the earliest time that your club
reintroduces the different types of crew boats but clubs may wish to take more time to ensure everything is in place. Clubs should also
be conscious of any local conditions, for example ‘local lockdowns’, that may mean they need to adapt the advice accordingly.

A further webinar will shortly be announced to address questions arising from the guidance.

July 17th

British Rowing has updated the guidance for the rowing community to recognise the upcoming changes to restrictions related to indoor sports facilities. Version 4.2 can be downloaded frm the BR site here

This version reflects the changes to Government guidance with regard to indoor facilities and gyms, but also contains important new material on

  • mental health guiidance
  • sharing risk assessments
  • test and trace
  • social distancing re face masks

and links to further guidance.

British Rowing has made a submission to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in relation to the ‘teamsport’ aspects of rowing. This submission relates particularly to crew boats in a rowing context. We are currently awaiting feedback from the DCMS review of this proposed advice and will publish as we are able to.

July 11th

The latest ER Sharing Good Practice ‘Return to Rowing’ forum took place on 9th July.
Among the topics discussed were :- Membership fees- Indoor gyms and other areas indoors- Support for coaches- Club constitutional issues- Crew boats
Notes from the session are available here

July 10th

British Rowing have issued a statement responding to the revisions to Government policy announced last night.

British Rowing welcomes last night’s statement from Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, announcing plans for re-opening more of thesport and recreation sector.

The updated guidance from the Government covered two main areas:

● Indoor gyms and training facilities may open from 25 July, subject to following the Government’s advice on being COVID-19 Secure.

● Governing Bodies (i.e. British Rowing) must submit a plan to receive Government permission to restart team-versions of theirsports. In rowing, we would consider this to be crew boat rowing and competition.

On the basis of these changes, we have updated our guidance to explicitly rule out crew boats (until a plan for this has been approved by the Government) and published this as version 4.1. We will provide a further update towards the end of next week related to other aspects of the Government advice including indoor facilities and gyms.

Full details of the statement are available here where you can also down load the latest version of the Guidance

June 30th

The next in our series of Sharing Good Practice sessions will take place on 9th July. Full details on our Sharing Good Practice page here

June 29th

Following the recent changes to guidance from Government British Rowing has revised the document Coronavirus Advice: Return to Rowing.

This is a significant revision – changes include a move to Phase C as defined in the document; important advice on the issue of crew rowing; the necessity of being able to reverse any changes should circumstances demand; revised advice on the potential to open indoor facilities including toilets, gyms and bar areas; clarification on the use of launches. Cubs are strongly recommended to consider the implications of this advice for their activities.

This latest document can be found on the British Rowing website or you can download the latest document here.

The statement on the BR website includes an extension of the suspension of competition to 31st August.

Sport England continues to provide a number of tookits to help clubs through the current difficulties. There are a diverse range of resources and it is worth reviewing if you are not already aware. The site is here.

June 25th

Following the recent announcement from Government British Rowing has issued the following statement:

Whilst a number of the changes were widely expected, others, such as the continued closure of many sports facilities, were not anticipated.

We are now waiting for the details of aspects of the new advice to be published and are reviewing how these apply to the rowing community in England. We will publish updated advice for the rowing community on Monday 29 June.

The Region will notify clubs as soon as possible and will link to fresh guidance here.

On Wednesday 1st July, 7pm there will be the next in the series of webinars – this one on Return to Coaching. Highly recommended – further detail to follow.

The Environment Agency have issued fresh guidance to boaters (principally the motor boat community). This anticpates that commercial hire of boats will be possible from 4th July. You can download the guidance here

June 15th

Next Open Forum date announced – session will focus on the British Rowing Guidance v3 – details on our Sharing Good Practice page

June 12th

British Rowing have refreshed the Return to Rowing guidance to version 3, with additional advice for coaches and for clubs supporting coaches.

Additional content and changes are highlighted throughout and identified in Appendix 3.

You can access the document on the British Rowing website here or download the version distributed today here

June 10th

The Government has provided guidance on ‘bubbles’ – meeting people from outside your household. It is published here.

June 6th

The Environment Agency have issued this updated Guidance Note for waterway users and accompanying flyer. These are principally addressed to the motor boat community but are relevant to those Clubs considering taking launches out.

Clubs will, of course, also be using the guidance on launches in the latest British Rowing document.

The EA advice includes these wise statements:

Lots of people are coming to enjoy the waterways in many different ways. Be patient at busy times and respect the need to share the waterways.

June 5th

British Rowing have published a recording of the webinar on Returning to Rowing. Highly recommended for Clubs and rowers. You can access it here

June 4th

** Update 20.00** British Rowing has launched the Club Emergency Fund to support clubs in the greatest need. You can download the criteria for applications here and the application form itself here. Full details on the British Rowing website here.

Following the changes to the UK Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance related to group sizes, British Rowing has amended advice for Phase B and created an updated Version 2 of the Return to Rowing guidance.

Changes to the document are highlighted and listed in the appendix at the back of the document. The document is available to download here and from the British Rowing website.

The Region is grateful to all the Clubs who have taken part on our series of Sharing Good Practice sessions over the last month.

The purpose of these has been to allow Clubs to share concerns, ideas, challenges and solutions arising from the current situation and applying advice and guidance to their own settings. It has been encouraging to see the detailed, thorough work that has gone into plans to return to the water.

Guidance and advice from Government, British Rowing and other sources is given in order that rowing can recommence in a safe manner while the threat level from Covid-19 remains at 4. It is in everyone’s interest that we work together to use the current guidance and existing regulations to enable participation and enjoyment without taking any unnecessary risks.

There is a great enthusiasm for getting on the water and as a Region we are proud that so many Clubs and rowers are taking the challenge of producing new procedures positively – not seeking to stretch guidance to fit any perceived need but working within it to make safe rowing possible. The Region will  not sanction any approach that seeks to ‘get away with it’.

Clubs and rowers are reminded that stepping beyond the bounds of guidance risks voiding any insurance that they may carry and opening themselves to regulatory action.

May 29th

British Rowing have today issued a further document responding to last night’s announcement from Government, summarising the existing guidance and pointing at many useful resouces.

In particular Clubs are encouraged to sign up for the Webinar on Thursday 4th June which will be YOUR chance to ask questions.

Clarification is given on the use of bleaches and disinfectants:

If using bleach, you should make sure you read the packaging carefully to understand the correct dilution. For thick bleach, a normal dilution level would be 50 parts water to 1 part bleach, however, if you are using thinner bleach you may require a more concentrated mix. Whenever using bleach you should also take care to reduce the likelihood of it running off into the waterways.

You can download the full document here or access the information on the British Rowing website.

May 26th

British Rowing will be hosting a webinar for all members of the rowing community on 4 June at 19.00 on the subject of Return to Rowing. It will be lead by Andy Parkinson, CEO, Dr. Ann Redgrave, Chief Medical Officer and Nick Hubble, Chair of the Sport Committee and will be an opportunity to ask questions about the advice recently issued. Signup will be on the BR Webinar page shortly.

Eastern Region has held a further Sharing Good Practice session, exploring Clubs’ experiences developing ‘back to rowing’ procedures and their responses to the latest guidance. You can access notes on last night’s session here.

May 22nd

British Rowing has issued new wide ranging and detailed advice and guidance to Clubs and rowers operating in the current phase of the return to rowing. These comprise Guidance, sample Club Posters and a sample Risk Assessment. These are also available on the BR website here.

It covers a very wide range of topics and Clubs will want to consider how their own plans may benefit from adjustment in the light of the new guidance.

The guidance is detailed but inevitably there will be specific scenarios that aren’t covered by the guide. The document sets out some guiding principles for decision-making in these situations. If you have any further questions then please contact clubsupport@britishrowing.org

The Region will continue to facilitate good practice and shared concerns between Clubs principally through the SGP page and the Open Forums that we are running.

** The Environment Agency have announced that powered leisure craft may make short journeys on the Great Ouse and Nene. See announcement here.

May 21st

New date for Eastern Region Sharing Good Practice – Open Forum, Return to Rowing announced here.

The latest guidance note from the Environment Agency for the waterways that the Agency has responsibility for is here. The guidance is particularly relevant for Clubs considering the use of launches.

May 19th

Eastern Region has held two Open Forums to allow Clubs to share the problems and solutions during this phase of returning to the water. Notes from these meetings are available in the Sharing Good Practice pages of this site here

This page also affords Clubs to share the procedures and documentation they have developed. These are presented unmoderated and represent the honest work of club managements doing their best to meet the desires of their members in difficult times. We should all be grateful to Committee members and others across the sport who are working so hard.

May 18th

Clubs are working hard to develop practices that will enable safe return to the water in their own settings. The Open Forum held on Saturday to share good practice demonstrated the appropriate seriousness that we are all giving to these matters.

We aim to publish the headlines from this session, together with those of the one tonight, as soon as possible.

UK Coaching has recognised the challenges presented to our overall health and well-being and has announced that their online course Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity will be free until 31st August. Full details here

British Rowing is also working on further guidance to inform each Club’s own risk assessments and protocols for a return to rowing and Clubs are advised to take notice of these when they are published, potentially later this week, and make any necessary adjustments to their own practices.

In the meantime Clubs should make themselves aware of the Public Health Guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. While this is principally aimed at decontamination it contains useful guidance on the use of cleaning materials and the disposal of waste. The Guidance is available here.

May 15th

British Rowing has issued fresh detail on plans for a phased return to rowing here. This gives further detail advice and guidance on what is currently possible and what further measures may be applicable in future phases. Clubs and individuals are strongly advised to operate within both the letter and the spirit of this and other guidance

Environment Agency on launches. EA cannot warrant the safety of the waterways and would counsel that ALL water users should operate with extra caution for obstructions and debris. On the basis of this, the EA’s view is that any activity that requires an accompanying coaching or safety launch should not be permitted for the extra risk that it brings to the launch. This advice may change quite rapidly as river inspections recommence.

In the meantime Eastern Region is offering our regional Clubs the chance to take part in an Open Forum on developing protocols for the short term. This is intended to support those officers who have primary responsibility in setting up arrangements for a return to the water. This is part of our Sharing Good Practice series – details of the 2 sessions available are here

Clubs may also wish to be aware of resources available and the Thames Regional Rowing Council has developed valuable resources here

Update May 13th

In the light of further clarification of UK Government advice British Rowing has issued a further statement on May 13th.

This advises Clubs the basis on which they may allow members to use club/shared boats (in addition to private boats) from their facilities.

Clubs should read the advice carefully and consider how they may want to take advice and proceed. This should be seen as tentative steps to allow rowing to be used as exercise in certain cases.

The full statement is here

The Department for Media Culture and Sport have also issued further Guidance with specific mention of use of clubhouses and who may row together. It is available here

We can further confirm that the Environment Agency has joined other waterways authorities in permitting water sports activities subject to adherence to the guidelines issued by government and our own governing body.

Environment Agency statement: The new guidance issued on Wednesday 13 May will allow people to undertake a number of outdoor activities which have not been allowed since lockdown measures came into force in March to limit the spread of coronavirus. Specifically, it will allow people to undertake all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, and paddle-boarding. We continue to encourage all waterways users to respect the needs of our residential waterways community and maintain appropriate social distancing in line with Government guidance ‘Staying Safe outside your home’.

Clubs with queries are encouraged to contact the Region

Clubs who wish to share the approaches they have adopted are very welcome to ‘comment’ on this page.

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