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Getting ready for bowls

Following the government’s relaxation of Covid restrictions on Monday, outdoor bowlers will be joining golfers and tennis players among those who are able to pursue their favourite sport.

However, despite the green light from the government, together with one of the sport’s governing bodies – the English Bowling Federation – it is not expected that ground conditions will be playable for at least two weeks, with greens still in the early stages of preparation for the new season.

And, when the time comes, bowlers will still have to follow regulations closely, including ensuring equipment is sanitised, players are socially distanced and names of participants are recorded to meet track and trace rules.

Bowlers are ready to play again.
Bowlers are ready to play again.

For those playing organised competitions, including the early rounds of county competitions of singles, pairs and triples and domestic leagues, play is allowed, as long as a spare rink is a buffer between matches.

For casual play, the rule of six is applied. No spectators are allowed and changing rooms must not be used until April 12.

EBF secretary Dave Woods said: “The government’s roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions means organised outdoor sport can re-commence provided the affiliated counties, clubs and their members follow the guidance to return to play safely.

“The government has given an exemption for organised sport regarding the numbers of people that can mix and play at one time, whereas with informal sport the rule of six and mixing of only two households, strictly applies.”

The EBF points out that bowlers should only handle their own equipment and where shared jacks and mats are used they should sanitise hands before and after touching them.

Handshakes are not permitted and booking systems should be introduced to ensure maximum group limits are not exceeded.

Further relaxation of Covid rules are expected to be announced for next month.

On the subject of vaccination certificates, the EBF is unequivocal.

It says:”Bowlers do not need to be vaccinated to participate.

“Clubs should not stop or ban anyone who has not received a vaccination.”

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