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Tue 17th Mar 2020

HPA Releases Covid-19 Response

Keeping polo playing for 2020 UK polo season

Yesterday afternoon, following a conference call with a number of UK polo clubs, the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) Chairman, Nick Wiles, released a letter outlining measures to effectively limit the effect of Covid-19 on the 2020 UK polo season. 
It is Polo Times’ understanding that the meeting and HPA statement preceded the later statement yesterday afternoon by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, which increased the UK response to Covid-19.
In the HPA statement released the following objectives have been agreed:
• To agree a co-ordinated response between HPA and Clubs in order to support members and allow them to make informed decisions with respect to their polo plans for the 2020 season.
• To ensure the judgments supporting these HPA plans are based on appropriate consultation and the best available information,
• To ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone while making every effort to safeguard the sport and keep the sport open and playing during this period.
It was agreed that every club affiliated to the HPA should adopt a strict set of hygiene guidelines which will be refined following further advice and comments from clubs but will be along the following lines:
1. When polo is being played each club must retain a record the names of all those entering the club.
2. Each person must self-certify that they have no virus symptoms. Ideally temperature testing should be
3. Clubs should make soap and water or equivalent available on entry to ensure all entrants observe hygiene
4. Anyone with signs of sickness such as a fever or cough or any flu like symptoms should self-isolate and
avoid entering a club for at least 7 days.
5. Anyone coming into contact with someone who has been infected with the virus should avoid entering
a club for a minimum of 14 days.
6. Clubs should discourage public spectators and everyone in attendance at games should respect social
distancing and practice good hygiene as above. This includes the banning of mate sharing at games etc.
7. Every individual needs to take these responsibilities seriously and comply fully.
In addition, other polo organisations such as livery yards and polo schools should adopt these practices.
It is recognised that the Covid 19 outbreak is a rapidly moving situation and our response may require further adaptation as it develops and if the Government changes the conditions. The HPA has set up a Steering Group to deal specifically with Covid 19 and the implications for polo this season as the situation develops. It will be chaired by David Woodd and the members are Victor Chua, Mark Tomlinson, Antony Fanshawe, Josh Tuthill and Chris Bethell.
Our priority is to keep the sport open. There may be a need to show flexibility in some areas but there is no reason why polo as played on most days at most clubs should not go ahead subject to any conditions imposed on us by the Government.
We will continue to update members with regular communications. During this uncertain period it is important to keep the sport open and supported for the long term.

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