When We Move to Phase 2 --- Now What?
Wayne Daley - Editor
All clubs in Ontario are starting with the Phase 1 Protocols. This gives your members time to get used to the new practices that are designed to prevent disease transmission. The OLBA board will announce when our clubs are moving to Phase 2.
As the corona virus emergency restrictions are gradually being lifted lawn bowling clubs in Ontario will move to Phase 2 of the BCB protocol for Return to Play. This is the phase in which we can back to competitive bowling. But in terms of the fight against the corona virus, what does this change mean?
The first thing it means is that we are not in the summer of 2019 again. It is still the year 2020 and we are in a new world as far as our lawn bowling season is concerned. The corona virus is still amongst us either to a large or small extent.
The second thing it means is that many of the restrictions that have been keeping us safe and healthy are still in place and must be followed. That means that social distancing must be observed; personal hygiene such as the frequent washing of hands must be done; and we must protect others when we cough by covering our mouths. We may even need to wear a mask.
Both the national Board and our provincial Board have one purpose in the face of this emergency. Both want to ensure that no lawn bowler in Ontario gets ill with Covis-19 while lawn bowling. To do that every single lawn bowler must take on the responsibility to follow the rules laid down to keep him or her safe and healthy.
In Phase 2 we can begin to go back to competitive bowling, which is something we all enjoy. However, we must still do those things listed in the BCB protocol designed to keep us safe.
The number of people on a green is limited to ten. Later, if the number of new cases continues to drop in Ontario this number could be increased to thirty. Still, there is a limit on the number of people on club grounds either engaged in playing the sport or in assisting those who are playing the sport. Any additional people who arrive at the club should then be turned away. Of course, spectators inside or outside the fence should be asked to leave. A system of reservations would seem appropriate. Clubs should look at creating either a Public Google Calendar or use a system like SignUpGenius.com.
There are a number of other regulations which continue to be useful such as the closing of the clubhouse and its facilities, that there be only two people on a rink and each must maintain social distancing, that each rink in use must have unused rinks on either side, that some equipment such as rakes and mats not be used because of the difficulty of disinfecting them, that there be no sharing of equipment, and that each piece of equipment used be disinfected before and after use. This last stipulation can be handled readily with a bucket of soapy water for washing and a supply of paper towels to be discarded for drying. These and other regulations are meant to do only one thing and that is to keep a very contagious virus at bay. These regulations are not a welcome addition to our sport. However, each bowler should accept and follow the regulations or other club members may not be safe. Still, as the fight against the virus continues and the virus begins to disappear, we may be able to eventually discard some of these regulations.
Besides making full and continuous use of the regulations designed to keep the virus as bay, each bowler, each club, the provincial authorities, and the national authorities have a legal responsibility to do whatever is necessary to keep lawn bowling facilities virus free. Not to do so may involve court action and legal consequences.
Three documents have been developed to protect both the clubs, the provincial and national authorities. There are two waivers that must be signed at the beginning of the season and a declaration that must be read, understood, and signed each time a member visits a club. The declaration may be digitally signed online, or club members can print the declaration and bring it with them to the green. This will help avoid transmission. The waivers define the responsibilities of the authorities in the sport and those engaged in it. The declaration will serve two purposes. In the first place it will ensure that each club member knows the risks involved in the corona virus and says that the risks are acceptable. Secondly, it will assist in the tracing activity that would follow if one or more club members become ill while at the club. Currently, there is no effective tracking app for smartphones outside of Alberta. Individuals will initially need to personally track their movements and contacts.
BCB has come out with five documents, which have been approved by OLBA for our use. Copies of these documents are available on the OLBA web site for clubs and bowlers to download. These documents are well worth reading.
One of the BCB documents is of importance as we move to Phase 2. That document describes a series of games we can play allowing us to be competitive while still staying within the regulations. The games look to be challenging and enjoyable. The selection is broad. If one game does not appeal there is another one to try. Each bowler taking part will need all the skills that he or she has developed. It seems we can have some fun even while we continue our efforts to reduce the impact of the corona virus.
Even as we move into Phase 2 of our Return to Play protocol each of us must do what we can to keep ourselves safe, to be kind to one another, and to stay healthy. It is a team effort. Let’s get with the team.