Planning a safe return to rowing

With the UK Government expected to provide further updates later this week, we wanted to share with you as much information as we can about how we are planning for a safe return to rowing.

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At this stage, it is important to reiterate our advice that there should be no rowing activity (including single-sculling) at affiliated clubs or by British Rowing members until further notice and that affiliated competitions should not run at this time. Our full guidance is available at britishrowing.org/coronavirus. Any changes to the guidance will also be published at this location.

This guidance is based on both Government guidance and restrictions put in place by waterways authorities such as the Environment Agency, Canal & River Trust and Port of London Authority on non-essential waterway usage. We appreciate that this has been difficult for many clubs, competitions and members and we thank you for continuing to respect this guidance.

Decision Making

When updated Government guidance is published, we will move as soon as we can to consider what it means for rowing across the country.

We’ll aim to respond to any changes promptly but we may have to wait for the Government to provide the precise details of their guidance and/or consult with other partners such as waterways authorities before updating our advice. We are, however, looking at various scenarios that we might find ourselves in and considering how rowing might safely fit within these.

Our principal drivers in any decision we take will be ‘what is best for public health’ and ‘what will keep our rowing community safe’. As the situation develops, we may need to provide a national framework which can be applied at local or regional level based on the situation on the ground, the facilities available and other factors. Our aim is to keep alignment across rowing from high performance to grassroots so there is a consistency to the logic applied and approach taken.

Planning for the future

To assist with a smooth return to rowing, we have formed a number of groups that have been looking at the impact on different areas of the sport and any guidance that may be required. These groups report into an overall COVID-19 Situational Review Group chaired by CEO Andy Parkinson. The Situational Review Group has overall responsibility for managing British Rowing operational decisions and communications in relation to coronavirus. This group includes all of the Directors’ Team and other key staff as well as Nick Hubble and Kate O’Sullivan, given their leadership roles with the Sport Committee and Regional Chairs Forum respectively. Scottish and Welsh Rowing are also part of this group to facilitate a coordinated approach across the Home Nations and share learning.

Supporting the Situational Review Group are a number of sub-groups, each looking at specific parts of the sport: clubs, training and racing. These groups are led by Nick Hubble (Chair of the Sport Committee) and made up of both staff members and volunteers from the rowing community. At this stage, the three areas we are looking at are:

Back to ClubsBack to TrainingBack to Racing
Advice and guidance for reopening clubs including the facility, people, equipment, cleaning and hygiene matters etc.Advice on how individual and then group training/activity can be delivered in relation to any restrictions such as social distancing, size of groups etc.When and how might rowing competition restart including required timelines for planning, suppliers and any health and safety implications.
Back to Clubs:
Advice and guidance for reopening clubs including the facility, people, equipment, cleaning and hygiene matters etc.
Back to Training:
Advice on how individual and then group training/activity can be delivered in relation to any restrictions such as social distancing, size of groups etc.
Back to Racing:
When and how might rowing competition restart including required timelines for planning, suppliers and any health and safety implications.

Each group has been preparing advice based on a range of different scenarios for several weeks now so we are best placed to move quickly when Government advice changes and are able to share the advice relevant to the particular scenarios.

Lastly, we have established a group specifically focussed on providing recommendations on how best our elite athletes can return safely to training either at or outside of the National Training Centre at Caversham.

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