Lockdown easing creates platform for conditioned return to shinty

The First Minister today provided an update to the Scottish Parliament on COVID-19 and related restrictions. The statement sets out key changes to permitted outdoor sport and exercise that will come into effect from Friday 12th March.

The First Minister also noted that she will set out a clearer timetable for exiting lockdown next week, including an updated level system due to come into effect later in April.

The key changes for outdoor sport and exercise in level 4 areas are:

Outdoor gatherings – adults 18 and over

  • The maximum numbers for socialising outdoors will increase to 4 adults from 2 households. This applies to social and recreational purposes as well as for exercise.

Outdoor gatherings – 12 to 17-year olds

  • The maximum numbers for socialising outdoors will be 4 individuals from 4 households. This applies to social and recreational purposes as well as for exercise.

Outdoor sport & group exercise – 12 and over

  • Up to 15 people can take part in outdoor non-contact sport and organised group exercise.

(NB: Guidance already permits this for under 12s.)

Travel restrictions

  • People should stay as close to home as possible, in line with current travel restrictions, however some flexibility will be given to under 18s to travel across local authority boundaries to take part in sport. Further clarity on this will be provided when it is available.

What does this mean for Shinty?

The Camanachd Association welcomed Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement for further easing of lockdown restrictions. In anticipation of the announcement updated guidance documents have already been submitted by the Camanachd Association to sportscotland following our COVID Guidance group meeting last week. These documents are required to be approved by sportscotland on behalf of Scottish Government and we anticipate we will have updated guidance to share with clubs in the coming days. The finer details of the guidance are still to be clarified and we aim to communicate these as soon as we have them to allow clubs to access the opportunities now available in line with Government Guidance.

Camanachd Association Chief Executive Officer Derek Keir said, “It is so exciting to see restrictions being lifted in a measured way and I am sure everyone in the shinty community will be excited to get back to some form of normality even if that means physically distancing in the first instance. Shinty matches are now in sight and all going well we anticipate shinty matches taking place from as early as May with continued progress. The announcement today and the guidance from our COVID Readiness group presents an incredible opportunity for all clubs who have updated their COVID readiness guidance and registered their players (&insured) to return to non contact activity with a real focus on re-establishing core skills whilst maintaining physical distancing. The opportunity to focus on these core skills and the physical conditioning in advance of competition and games will be vital in preparing players and clubs for a successful return to shinty in the weeks and months ahead.”

Next steps for clubs

We ask all clubs nominated COVID Coordinator to make contact with their Regional Development Officer to review the updated guidance when it becomes available. A COVID Coordinator meeting will take place on Wednesday 10th March. As soon as the COVID guidance is available clubs will then be in an informed position to update risk assessments and club procedures to inform players and mitigate risks. All clubs wishing to return must register their players in advance for insurance purposes and confirm updated COVID guidance with their Regional Development Officer.

Further details of updated guidance will be shared at the earliest opportunity.