Last week we advised of notification from the NSW Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, concerning community sports activities.
We received a further briefing from Dr Chant late last week to clarify some elements of the advice. We were pleased with her assurance that both she and NSW Health are committed to community sport. Further, advice that the Department will take a pragmatic and common-sense approach to the high-level recommendations. This is to allow each State Sporting Organisation (SSO) to work toward a tailored approach to both meet the recommendations of Health NSW while allowing community sport to operate.
During the briefing, Health NSW and Office of Sport also provided further guidance for Community Sport, for team and individual competitions for the next 6 weeks.
For our sport the important takeaways were;
– That the principle is to restrict activities to local competitions to avoid inter-mingling and potential community transmission.
– That competitions should be run within the local district, zone or association boundaries determined by the SSO. Competitions may run across local government areas within these boundaries, but if there are enough teams or players within one LGA, a more local competition should be considered.
– In greater Sydney there should be at least eight (8) ‘regions’ determined by the SSO, but ideally more.
– In regional NSW (ie outside of Greater Sydney), existing competition structures or scheduling should aim to minimise the need for overnight travel. If overnight travel is required in order to participate in sporting activities in regional NSW, carpooling or other shared transport arrangements should be avoided. The use of shared accommodation facilities that would lead to mixing of people from different households should also be avoided.
– If participants are members of a club not located within their local area, they should consider whether it is necessary to participate in club activities at this time.
The advice that boundaries can be determined by the SSO is welcomed. The difficulty given the transient nature of our membership, where they live and where they participate across the Greater Sydney area has made the application difficult. Especially so given that currently the Greater Sydney area is divided into 3 regions and the advice is that we need a minimum of least eight (8) ‘regions’ but ideally more. Therefore, our current structure will not suffice. It is also clear from the Government briefings that major concerns are held for South West and Western Sydney. In reviewing where our Affiliates are located in the Greater Sydney area, working within the Government guidelines and their concerns for South West and Western Sydney we have worked to divide the Greater Sydney area into 12 zones for the next 6 weeks. We have identified these by suburb/postcode in the attachment.
For regional NSW the Government advice is currently more relaxed. As such our current regional boundaries will suffice. We have however provided guidance in the attachment for clusters of Regional Affiliates that should be considered a “six-week zone”. Further during this time NSW Health advises that participants should not be traveling into Greater Sydney from regional NSW to participate in activities nor traveling across regions within Greater Sydney or in regional NSW. Participants from Greater Sydney should not be moving into or through regional NSW.
The NSWTA continues to make decisions placing the utmost importance on the health and safety of our stakeholders and emphasise the compliance with Public Health Orders, COVID Safety Plans and further Government advice to aid in limiting the spread of the virus across the state. We remind all of the need to follow the original advice:
– Cease activities that result in the mixing of participants and staff from different regions, for example by ceasing zone, regional or State championships or competitions
– Cease any activities that result in overnight stays (e.g. multi-day training camps) due to increased risk of COVID transmission in residential-type settings with shared facilities
– Cease face-to-face social activities relating to community sports (e.g. award ceremonies, end-of-season social gatherings, post-training group dinners)
– Avoid carpools or bus travel with people from different household groups where possible
– For local activities, limit spectators to one parent only, where the child requires parental supervision during the sporting activity.
The implementation of these recommendations commenced from Wednesday, August 19 and will need to be in place for the next six (6) weeks.
NSW Health continues to monitor the situation throughout the State, and the Office of Sport and Sport NSW will communicate any future recommendations, changes to COVID-19 Safety Plans or Public Health Orders that impact community sport.
Best wishes and stay safe.
Dean Russell – General Manager