Good morning and welcome to our first day in Tier 2.
We’ve now had confirmation from the EIBA that, unless we are under 18 years of age, disabled or playing singles with a family member, we cannot bowl indoors. Obviously operating under these restrictions is not financially viable so we will have to remain closed.
However, we are very unhappy about this and Howard has written to Peter Thompson, the Chief Exec of EIBA detailing our concerns. A copy of the letter follows:
Good morning Peter,
This is neither a personal attack on you nor one on the EIBA; it is a plea for help.
I am asking for your help, Peter, in explaining to my members just what the rationale is for what is happening from today regarding the rules being applied to indoor bowling in Tier 2.
Just to confirm, indoor spectator sport is allowed, as is travelling on public transport, visiting a retail store and going to work (if you can’t work from home).
In all the above cases … Hands – Face – Space … is the mantra.
Space is defined by the government rules as follows…
Space: stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)
When meeting people you do not live with, it is important to do so outdoors where possible, or to make sure that any indoor venue has good ventilation (for example by opening windows so that fresh air can enter).
Given the Covid secure measures we took during the first lockdown we were checked by our local authority and passed as Covid Secure. We then added a Covid secure winter bowling etiquette, that further enhanced an individual’s safety, plus we adopted the Rule of Six.
The club thrived after the 27th July reopening until forced to close in early November. No known cases of Coronavirus have affected club members and we have a playing membership aged 10 to people in their 90’s. To enhance our Covid secure preparedness, we initiated a new fresh air source system into the club during the second lockdown.
Now, your latest guidelines detail severe restrictions on ‘mixing’, to the point that normal bowling cannot go ahead and the club will have to stay closed until who knows when. We can have normal bowling for both disabled or under eighteen year olds, but not our general membership. Like most indoor clubs some of our older members live alone and the club offers something more important than gentle exercise; it provides company, conversation, laughter – all the things that help prevent mental isolation and the stress that brings to an individual.
What was the point of all the time, effort and cost of making ourselves Covid secure, and meeting all the current Space requirements that apply in other mixing scenarios, only to be informed now that Space in a bowling club is different from Space in spectator sport, travelling on public transport, visiting a retail store or going to work?
This is patently illogical and completely unfair. The negative impact on members’ mental and physical health is going to be horrendous. Please do not let this unjust ruling be the starting gun to the increasing rapid decline of our sport.
On behalf of all like-minded bowlers, please do your utmost to have a fair application of the national Space rules applied to indoor bowling and seek a change to EIBA guidelines from the very earliest date possible.
So, back to my plea for your help.
Can you please explain the rationale put forward by the Department for Sport, that you have accepted, for Space meaning different things in different indoor scenarios – to the total detriment of the sport of indoor bowls and the physical and mental health of all our members?
Thank you and stay safe
HowardH Watkin-Jones, Chairman MidGlos IBC
We will keep you informed of the feedback to the letter and any changes which may occur in the future. In the meantime, look after yourselves and try to be positive. We are doing everything we can to try to change the decision made yesterday.
Director (PR & Marketing)