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RYA welcomes return of grassroots sport in England

by Loretta Spridgeon, RYA 24 Nov 2020 16:40 UTC
Grassroots sport back on in all tiers, including in highest risk areas with some mitigations © Alex Irwin /

The RYA has today welcomed the UK Government's COVID-19 Winter Plan, which presents a programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going and providing a route back to normality.

The COVID-19 Winter Plan ensures the current national restrictions in England can be lifted on 2 December. Grassroots sport, including sailing and boating, will be allowed to resume from this date - and clubs and centres will be able to reopen across all tiers, benefitting the health and wellbeing of people across the country.

The prevalence of the virus, however, remains high across the country with regional differences. The Government is therefore re-imposing a tiered regional approach in England to keep suppressing the virus through the winter period.

The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday, 2 December and on Thursday, 26 November the Government will announce which areas are in which tier. The RYA understands that across all tiers everyone must follow the gathering limits for their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances. Elite sport will continue to be permitted in all tiers.

Welcome news

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, says: "We are pleased that Government guidance has confirmed that all forms of grassroots sport, like sailing and boating, are not only permitted, but are being actively encouraged in England in recognition of the significant physical and mental health benefits they bring.

"Boating is the perfect activity for the whole family to be involved in. As well as positively impacting physical and mental health, outdoor activities like sailing and windsurfing have also been shown to aid character development in young people. So we welcome the opportunity to switch off the screens, get active outdoors and enjoy the many benefits our sport has to offer.

"As always, we should carefully consider the potential impact that we could have on other water users when we go afloat and ensure that we do not place any unnecessary strain on the RNLI, Independent Lifeboats and other emergency services. We can do this by helping to minimise risk and by taking an extra considerate approach to our boating."

Next steps

The RYA will continue to support the national effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and assist members of the RYA family with any variations that might develop at a local level. We are currently in the process of updating our guidance on the Covid-19 hub in line with the Government's Winter Plan and will publish this as soon as possible.

Whilst the regulations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be different, they are all aimed at controlling the virus. Clubs should be aware that the pace at which restrictions are being eased varies between the four nations and they should heed country specific guidance available on the RYA website.

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