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RYA Northern Ireland - Return to sport update

by Emma Blee 26 Mar 10:31 GMT
RYA Northern Ireland calls for safe re-opening of sailing and boating © RYA Northern Ireland

As the First Minister announced last week, restrictions for outdoor activity are set to ease from 1 April 2021. This is very welcome news and follows on from engagement with the Minister of Communities, who has continued to be an advocate for sport and outdoor activity.

It is RYA Northern Ireland's understanding that this will include further easing of restrictions for boating activity, namely around venue access.

We still await the issuing of the Regulations and guidance from the Department to understand implications across the boating community in full. We have summarised the announcement below and will issue full guidance as soon as possible.

Below is a summary of the position as we understand it:

  • Updated Regulations are yet to be laid in order to confirm venues etc that may reopen from 1 April.
  • In the absence of the Regulations, we understand that affiliated boat clubs will be able to reopen outdoor facilities from 1 April, however, there will be stringent protocols required, including very limited numbers.
    • Sailing, Windsurfing, Powerboating as individual, single household/ bubble recreational activity will be permitted from 1 April.
    • Activity with two different households is permitted only where two metres social distancing can be adhered to at all times and with a maximum 10 people.
  • Sport NI/ DfC will be briefing NGBs in coming days of the phases for Outdoor Sports, including more detailed guidance.
  • The current sub-phases under Step 2 will move from recreational through to training and potentially competition.
  • Once received, RYA Northern Ireland will be working to create guidance for clubs, centres and the wider boating community and we will share this as soon as practically possible.
Although this announcement is welcome and further details are to follow, our current guidance remains in place, where club and other water sports facilities must remain closed.

We appreciate this will raise a large number of questions and will work to ensure appropriate guidance is issued at the earliest possible opportunity in order to allow you to make informed decisions.

See executive announcement here

From 1 April, the regulations will change to:

  • Permit 10 people from two households to undertake outdoor sporting activities as defined in the regulations.

  • This allows sports such as golf and tennis to resume from this date in small groups of individuals from two households, however club houses and sport facilities including changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms must remain closed apart from essential toilet facilities.

The Executive also agreed an indicative date of 12 April for:

  • Allowing for sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to 15 people but with all indoor spaces closed except for essential toilet facilities; and
  • Removal of the 'stay at home' provision in the legislation; stronger promotion of the stay local and work from home messages.

RYA Northern Ireland will continue to provide updates when further information becomes available

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