New Guidelines, New Obstacles for Sport

Published by Sydney O'Connor on

With COVID-19 continuing to loom over the nation, the government has put in stronger rules to stop social gatherings of more than 6. But what does this mean for outdoor sports and organisations like Your Back Yard?

Although the government brought in this rule to simplify and strengthen the message to the people of England, there are still exceptions, and with ever changing guidelines the idea of simplicity seems a far cry from reality. As of the 22nd September, the government announced they’d be closing pubs early, encouraging people to work from home and increasing the requirement to wear face coverings, with the rule of 6 still standing. 

Although that means that you can’t have a kick about on the park with 7 pals, events such as our weekly walking football at Bramley Park are good to go for the time being. That being said, yesterday’s announcement from Johnson made it clear that indoor sports, organised or not, must be 6 participants or less. But does being outside really make a difference?  

A study executed by SPEAR (Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research) found that in outdoor areas the risk of infection is low when usual personal space conventions are adhered to, with increases in people density, circulation and time increasing the risk. It seems that so long as these factors are controlled to minimise transmission, the risk level should be decreased. 

At Your Back Yard, we are thrilled that the government is recognising the importance of sport, as well as the economy, for bringing us through this whirlwind. Allowing gyms and outdoor sports like our weekly walking football to continue operating is well documented to have profound effects on both peoples mental and physical health, which perhaps has never been more important than now. 

However, with the prospect of rising positive test results, coupled with the winter ahead, it seems optimistic to believe that there will be no interruption to outside sport- whether that be down to new restrictions or rainy days. 

SPEAR’s study shows that proper planning to mitigate close contact, people density, circulation and time, the risk of infection is low. Given this, we hope to see that the importance of wellbeing and health is not overlooked in future decisions regarding how to mitigate transmission of the virus. 

That being said, not everyone is going to feel comfortable exercising, even in small groups. Those who were previously shielding may be reluctant to grab their running shoes or tennis racket so soon! In reaction to the uncertainty, we’re currenting developing our new project, ‘Getting Active and Online’ to offer free exercise classes to older adults as a way to get some movement and have a chit chat. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep updated as this project rolls out.

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