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Thu 21st May 2020

HPA Update No.7

More guidance given & updated procedures

Yesterday, Wednesday 20 May, the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) released their Update No 7 for Clubs and Members along with three annexes to accompany the update, 

which aim to shed light on the HPA’s current outlook for the resumption of polo. Annex A outlines the HPA’s Updated Procedures, Annex B contains the Protocols of Guards Polo Club (only provided to clubs) and Annex C is an extract from Recovery from Covid-19 and Sport England.
 
The full Update and Annex A are detailed below (Annex C extract is detailed on HPA website here), but for readers’ ease here are some of the pertinent points from Update No.7 and Annex A:
 
The aim is to “implement a successful progression of training, in conjunction with Public Health England and clubs, which provides a safe yet effective environment for players and their associated staff to prepare for the start of tournament polo, targeted for the early part/middle of June.” The HPA understands that in order to participate in tournament polo, players and ponies need to be able to “move from stick and balling to ‘no contact’ socially distanced supervised training sessions as set out in Annex A. Professionals are at work when attending a training session as they cannot do it at home.”
The protection of persons from Covid-19 is of the greatest importance, therefore only those who are essential to training may attend. 
Rule changes are being considered, but the HPA hopes these will be kept to a minimum and only used in order to get polo going as soon as possible. 
The main change in the Updated Procedures in Annex B is that people attending polo clubs should check their own temperature the day before and stay home if it is over 37.8 °C, plus temperatures must be checked upon entry to clubs. 
The HPA also made it clear that polo played on private grounds is not within the remit of the HPA, unless it brings the sport into disrepute, and that some private grounds are going against their guidance and playing chukkas. 
There are three levels of training and clubs must be approved by the HPA to conduct each level of training and approval will be dependent on a club having confirmed to the HPA that they have 1) Conducted a risk analysis and 2) Put in place the required procedures.
 
Update No 7 for Clubs and Members Wednesday 20.05.20
1. Outlook.
a. Dates and restrictions are dependent on the various tests set by the Government being met, so that Government can announce that they are moving into Step 2. The start date for Step 2, which allows for sporting events behind closed doors, is not before 1 Jun.
b. The aim is to implement a successful progression of training, in conjunction with Public Health England and clubs, which provides a safe yet effective environment for players and their associated staff to prepare for the start of tournament polo, targeted for the early part/middle of June. To meet that target, it is important that players and ponies have the opportunity to train for the HPA Victor Ludorum fixture list as published on the HPA website and hence the intention is to move from stick and balling to ‘no contact’ socially distanced supervised training sessions as set out in Annex A. Professionals are at work when attending a training session as they cannot do it at home.
c. The protection of all persons from Covid-19 is of the greatest importance and hence the numbers attending the training sessions must be kept to an absolute minimum. Only those who are essential to training may attend.
d. Rule changes are being considered in case they are necessary, but our hope and intention is that any rule changes will be kept to a minimum and will only be made to assist getting the sport going as soon as possible.
e. Testing is not currently a condition of the Government, but new tests are being developed and testing will be kept under review.
2. Procedures. These have been updated. The main change is that it has been agreed that all attendees should check their own temperature the day before and should stay at home if it is over 37.8°C. It must also be checked on entry. Attached at Annex A are the updated procedures. Clubs only will be sent a copy of Guards Polo Club protocols at Annex B which they should find very helpful. I have put in italics the bits which Clubs will want to change and there may be other bits to be updated. At Annex C is a summary of the main points from the Government’s 50 page ‘Recovery from Covid-19’ document and Sport England’s guidelines.
3. Other Points of Note.
a. Polo played on private grounds is not within the remit of the HPA unless it brings the game into disrepute. It is considered to be very unhelpful that some have been and are playing chukkas and putting the whole sport at risk.
b. The Government has not yet imposed a 14 day quarantine for those entering the UK, but it may be imposed at the end of the this month.
 
Procedures
Exercising, Training And Polo Under Covid-19 As At 20 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 has issued 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 session shall involve no contact and should include a Covid Marshall, to ensure that social distancing is maintained by those stick and balling or training. They may be a player or official, on or off the ground.
Clubs must be approved by the HPA to conduct each level of training and approval will be dependent on a club having confirmed to the HPA that they have:
• Conducted a risk analysis and
• Put in place the required procedures.
Before a Club can progress to Level 2 it must confirm with the HPA that its procedures have been satisfactory for Level 1 and adjusted for Level 2.
Level 1: Individual Stick and ball limited to 5 players in total on any one ground at any one time.
Level 2: Training session limited to 7 players in total on any one ground at any one time.
It is intended that Level 3 will be limited to 9 persons in total on any one ground at any one time and the HPA will announce when this will be permitted.
 
Clubs. Clubs should appoint a "C-19 Club Official" to coordinate Club responsibilities for the various mandatory measures as set out below and Daily Liaison Officers as required to carry out duties on site on his behalf:
• Hygiene:
o Source/supply appropriate hygiene and cleaning equipment. 
o Display and communicate hygiene protocols.
o Position cleaning material at necessary sanitisation stations. 
o Provide clear communications and signage for the above
o Regularly disinfect high risk areas and contact zones.
• On all stick and ball and training days:
o Check for signs of C-19 which must include a recorded temperature check for all personnel. No entry for attendees showing C-19 S&S. There needs to be room for them to turn around and leave.
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 without impacting on local traffic.
• Other
o Complete C-19 Risk assessment for the Club and its different grounds.
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 Responsibilities
• Each vehicle should have its own hand sanitiser displayed on entry and used on getting out of the vehicle.
• Each attendee should have their own face mask, also displayed on entry.
• Each attendee should take their own temperature the day before and the morning of play.
 
Photograph: The HPA have released their 7th update. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com
 

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