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COVID Impacts Update

We hope our community is keeping both safe and well during these difficult times, especially for our members subject to the current lockdown orders.

As you would be aware, the COVID-19 situation has deteriorated. The Greater Sydney lockdown has been extended until September 30 and Regional NSW until September 10.

Therefore, we want to take the opportunity to provide further advice around several areas of the sport as the pandemic continues to impact all aspects of life in NSW, including participation in our sport.

Season 2 (Spring and Summer) Competitions

The NSWTA is encouraging all affiliates affected to delay the start and extend their competitions to allow our community to get back on the field. Our community’s health and wellbeing are being tested and getting back to playing as soon as possible when allowed under the health orders will be vital.

Staff are currently engaging with Affiliates to ascertain and understand all elements to ensure that this can occur. We are also working to understand any impediments Affiliates might face, especially extending to provide an entire season. Remembering that the affiliation model is based on a competition of 10 rounds as a minimum. We also understand that Public Health Orders may well be different around the state and impact Affiliates differently. As such, staff are also working with the national body on models to implement should they be required.

At this point, as difficult as it is without the government providing a return play pathway, we all need to continue our planning, engagement with and call to action for our members. Your plans need to be flexible based on any announcements by the government concerning any restrictions. It is also essential that all our affiliates review and have their COVIDSafe plans up to date and actionable for when we can return to play.

All our staff are available to offer any assistance or guidance that you may require.

Staffing

From Monday, September 6, staff will be placed on reduced hours. Member Service Coordinators, Game Development Officers, Sport, Event, and Technical support staff, will work two days per week.

Staff remain in place in a reduced capacity to assist our Touch Football community; however, it may mean that response times are slightly longer in some instances.

The Board determined that the Senior Management (General Manager, Business Operations Manager, State Participation Manager) will remain working full-time. This decision was taken to ensure the facilitation of support to our membership and staff, keep open communication channels, and ensure business continuity.

These are unprecedented times, and like everyone else, the NSWTA has been affected. While it is a difficult decision to make, we do have to act for the health and wellbeing of the organisation in a manner that gives us the best platform to assist all our affiliates through recovery.

It was challenging to deliver the decision to many dedicated, hard-working staff. All of whom consistently go above and beyond what is required to assist our members. While a decision to ensure we can manage today to enable tomorrow was needed, it did not make it any easier.

I would acknowledge and thank the staff for understanding and accepting the decision and for the professionalism in the way they have handled it.

As we move through this COVID-19 situation, I can advise Affiliates, Regions, and members alike that the Board and the staff continue to work on necessary business items.

Country Championships

We are cognisant that an event like Country Championships requires substantial travel within the state and financial commitment to accommodate for the event’s weekend. We certainly would like to see the event proceed; however, we also need to ensure the safety of our community. In line with the NSW Governments’ regional lockdown date, we have listed a go-no-go date as Monday, September 12. Part of that decision will also be the ability of the NSWTA to deliver the event. We are hopeful that by this date, via the regular industry meetings with the NSW Minister of Sport, a return to play strategy may have been indicated.

Vawdon Cup

In real terms, the way the lockdown has played out, we have only one option left for the Vawdon Cup. That option would be a weekend-style event. This does not forgo the timelines needed by affiliates to be ready, given the timing of the lockdown and 80% of affiliates yet to select teams. Should the event also proceed, it would not be the Vawdon Cup. The integrity, traditions, and history of the Vawdon Cup need to be protected. Due to the constraints that need to be implemented with a weekend event and field space, as a one-off, it would only be made available to Sydney-based affiliates, and restrictions on entries may well need to be considered. For that reason, the event would be a Metropolitan Championships. In line with the NSW Government’s Greater Sydney lockdown date, we have listed a go-no-go date as Monday, September 27. We are hopeful that by this date, via the regular industry meetings with the NSW Minister of Sport, a return to play strategy may have been indicated.

State Cup

Without further knowledge of the government’s plans for a return to play pathway and lockdown extensions, our intent and want remains for the State Cup to proceed. We will, however, be monitoring all government advice. If we were not able to deliver the 2021 State Cup, we would investigate alternatives.

Vaccinations

We have had several enquiries around the position on having participants vaccinated to play. As of today’s date, the Minister of Sport advised that no decision has been made by the government in this area. They are, as are we, heavily promoting the vaccination program as an avenue to individuals having more freedoms.

Health and Wellbeing

We are also concerned for all of you, members of our touch footballing community. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. When we can’t see our friends and family regularly, it can be harder to keep on top of how we’re feeling. Being aware of how you’re feeling and knowing what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing is an essential part of staying healthy during this challenging time.

Under these circumstances, it’s normal to feel anxious, overwhelmed, confused, sad or even bored. But these feelings can take their toll, and we all need to take the time to care for ourselves and to look out for our friends, family and colleagues.

There are things you can do to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

• Exercise (within the prevailing COVID regulations)
• Stay Connected and Reach out to others
• Develop new routines
• Seek Support

It’s normal to have ups and downs, and it is important to talk about how you’re feeling with family and friends. In times like these, they are likely experiencing similar feelings.

If you need support please utilise one of these services;

• Lifeline 131 114
• Beyond Blue 1800 512 348
• Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
• MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
• Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Would you please ensure you look after yourself, your family, and the wider community. We would encourage members to reach out to and check in on your touch footy mates or those you have a connection with from the affected communities.

We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the State, NSW Health, the Office of Sport and Sport NSW. We will communicate any future recommendations, changes to COVID-19 Safety Plans or Public Health Orders impacting our sport.

Best wishes and stay safe.

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