Following the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) Covid-19 Steering Group Meeting which took place yesterday, today, Wednesday 13 May, the HPA have announced their 6th Update for Clubs and Members, which is effective as of tomorrow, Thursday 14 May for England with the following announcement:
Please find attached Update No 6 and the procedures that need to be put in place. Also attached is a draft Risk Analysis which clubs may wish to use or adapt. Each club and ground will be different is some way. How you score the risk and mitigating measure is left up to each club as some clubs will prefer different ways of doing this. The important point is that in the event of something going wrong, the club can show that it has done a risk assessment which justified it going ahead.
The 6th Update and Procedures are all outlined in full below (visit the HPA wesbite for the draft Risk Analysis), but for readers’ ease, here are some of the most pertinent points for the resumption of polo in England;
• The earliest start date for competitive polo is still hard to predict, but the HPA have now removed their one month warning for Victor Ludorum tournament polo, which means that, while still uncertain, there is a reasonable chance of competitive polo by mid-June, although initial matches may have to be with no contact.
• Individual players will be allowed to prepare themselves and their ponies through stick and balling from 14 May (provided procedures are in place), this could be progressed at a later date to more extensive no contact training.
• Teams can train or practice with no contact and with a maximum of five persons on any ground at any one time in order to maintain safety and social distancing in due course (date not specified).
• One on one lessons or of a ‘same household’ will be allowed from Thursday 14 May.
• All of the above activities are permissible only when following the correct procedures.
Update No 6 for Clubs and Members
As at 12 May 2020
Effective Thu 14 May for England
1. Virus Outlook. Lock down eased for England but not significantly. Earliest start date hard to predict but clear statement that there would be no team sport before 1 Jun (start of Phase 2) but sporting events behind closed doors could be phased in during Jun with further easing after 1 Jul (start of Phase 3). During Phase 1 (from 13 May to 1 Jun):
• Everyone is encouraged to take more exercise.
• Everyone is encouraged to travel to work.
• Quarantine will be imposed for those coming in from overseas; from when and for how long tbd.
2. Training. Agreed that the revised conditions allowed individual players to start to prepare themselves and their ponies through stick and balling from Thu 14 May incl provided procedures are in place, and that in due course this could be progressed to allow more extensive no contact training prior to competitive tournament games being played (if necessary with no contact rules) in Jun at some stage. Any training or practice shall involve no contact and shall initially be limited to 5 persons in total on any one ground at any one time for safety and social distancing reasons. As well as exercising players and ponies, this also enables professionals to work. For the procedures, which should apply to any venue where members are playing, see Annex A.
3. One Month Warning for Tournament Polo. Agreed that the one month notice for the start of the VL tournaments shall now be removed. Although no certainty, there is now a reasonable chance of competitive polo in mid Jun although the early games might have to be with no contact.
4. The Programme. This will need to be reviewed.
5. Lessons. One on one lessons or of a ‘same household’ group shall now be allowed from Thu 14 May incl provided procedures are in place.
6. FAQs. These will be updated.
7. Adherence to HPA and Government Conditions. There are 2 points for any person who decides to ignore the guidelines and conditions, for example to play chukkas:
• Cover provided by the HPA Members Public Liability Insurance is on the understanding that the HPA and any individual is following government guidelines. If there is no HPA cover, any claim will probably be against the venue or individual concerned.
• Adverse publicity, for example caused by a player having to be treated by A & E, a neighbour reporting a team sport being played or procedures not being followed rigorously enough.
One of the above could happen and if so the HPA will not be in a position to defend your actions and indeed will be forced to take action which will most likely be by way of a suspension for the club and/or players concerned.
EXERCISING, TRAINING AND POLO UNDER COVID-19 AS AT 12 MAY 2020
Clubs shall adhere to the Government C-19 guidance as described at the time in general. These may change at short notice. The HPA will be issuing the following Directive:
“No member of the HPA shall be allowed to exercise, take part in training or to play polo or go to an affiliated club unless they have been symptom-free for the last 14 days, nor been in contact with anyone who has those symptoms (except in a professional capacity as a doctor, nurse, or allied health professional). This also applies to any person working for or supporting the said member who shall be responsible for ensuring that they comply with this Directive and any other rules in force for Covid-19.”
The requirement for social distancing and strict hygiene protocols continues as does a policy of no gatherings.
Any training or practice shall involve no contact and shall be limited to 5 persons in total on any one ground at any one time.
Clubs. Clubs may wish to appoint a " C-19 Club Official " to coordinate club responsibilities for the various mandatory measures as set out below:
o Source/supply appropriate hygiene and cleaning equipment.
o Display and communicate hygiene protocols.
o Position cleaning material at necessary locations.
o Regularly disinfect high risk areas and contact zones.
• On training days:
o Check for visual signs of C-19. No entry for attendees showing C-19 S&S.
o Log declarations and liability waivers for all attendees.
o Have a vehicle separation and parking policy to ensure social distancing measures can be met.
o Ensure 2m social distancing can be maintained in high risk areas such as pony lines, washdown areas, loos, team tents.
o Where social distancing measures cannot be applied or are difficult, restrict their use and require persons to wear face masks.
o Space training to allow time for safe entry, unboxing, boxing and exit of traffic/players/grooms.
o Complete C-19 Risk assessment for the club and its different grounds at Annex A (to follow).
o Be in position to provide individual club statistics on accidents requiring patient transport/treatment by NHS to all chukkas/activities played in 2019 and in previous years if available.
Attendees. Each vehicle should have its own hand sanitiser displayed on entry and used on getting out of the vehicle and each attendee their own face mask, also displayed on entry.
Photograph: The HPA have announced the next steps for UK polo. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com