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COMMUNITY RUGBY LEAGUE STEP 4 SUMMARY – 19TH JULY 2021

A SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STEP FOUR OF THE GOVERNMENT’S ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN

On Monday 19th July, England will move to step four of its roadmap in easing Covid restrictions. This means almost all legal restrictions of social contact will be removed. However, the Government is encouraging people to act with caution and in respect of team sports in accordance with NGB Guidance.  Our guidelines have been amended to fall in line with the new Government guidelines and can be found below.

The move to step four of the roadmap is applicable to society as a whole. Recent weeks have shown both in a team sports setting and in wider society there are still significant public health challenges in terms of increasing numbers having to self-isolate and rising infection rates. This is particularly true in many of the areas where the majority of our activity takes place.

The majority of our players have yet to be fully vaccinated. The season so far has been challenging in terms of the numbers of games across all levels of the sport being postponed with Covid a significant factor. The situation is likely to get worse before it improves if the 19th of July is perceived as ‘freedom day’ and infection rates continue to rise. We would urge clubs to take a pragmatic and cautious approach to the easing of restrictions and message accordingly.

The summary key points are below, with more detail on subsequent sections: 

  1. Changes to the Team Sports Framework
  2. No limits of how many people can meet.
  3. One-metre-plus rule is removed.
  4. The definition of close contact remains the same, however the rules on self-isolation will be changing from the 16th of August.
  5. Changing rooms can be used, however participants should use their own judgment and minimise use where possible to avoid close contact in a crowded area for a prolonged time.
  6. No capacity limits for spectators, but good practice is encouraged.
  7. Hospitality is permitted without restrictions.
  8. NHS Test and Trace QR codes are not required by law but are encouraged.
  9. No travel restrictions.

 

SUMMARY

 

TEAM SPORTS FRAMEWORK

In previous RFL guidance, we set out the required adaptations to the playing of the game, to align to the Government’s team sports framework. As part of step four and for the remainder of the year the removal of scrums will remain in place. The reintroduction of scrums would lead to further transmission and impact on public health. It would also inevitably lead to close contacts (i.e., anyone in a scrum would be a close contact) that would lead to requirements to self-isolate impacting on fixture completion rates. 

 

CLOSE CONTACT AND SELF-ISOLATION

It is important to note that the definition of close contact remains the same in step four. Examples of close contact include:

  • Face-to-face contact under one metre for any length of time – including talking to someone or being coughed on;
  • Being within one metre of each other for one minute or longer;
  • Being within two metres of each other for more than 15 minutes in total in one day;
  • Travelling in the same vehicle.

 

It is important to note that players must continue to self-assess prior to activity and if they are experiencing any symptoms and awaiting a test result, they must stay at home.

 

Furthermore, it should be noted that local authorities and/or Government do have the power to insist on self-isolation based on prevalence in the Community at that time and their assessment of the factors involved in each case (as necessary).

 

QR CODES

While there is no legal requirement for use of QR codes, Government is encouraging businesses and facilities to continue using these.

 

CHANGING ROOMS

Changing rooms can be used. However, given that the definition of close contact is not changing, participants may wish to consider this and minimise use of changing facilities where possible to avoid prolonged contact with people in a crowded space. Clubs and facilities may also wish to consider taking precautions to avoid close contact, for example, asking participants to socially distance and ensure thorough ventilation.

 

SPECTATORS

As part of step four, there are no limits on spectators for indoor or outdoor activity, this includes parents and carers. All facilities can open without restrictions on capacity; however, facilities should follow Government guidance on how to best manage crowds, particularly for bigger events.

 

HOSPITALITY

All outdoor and indoor hospitality will be allowed as part of step four and can operate without restrictions on capacity limits or how people order food and drink.

 

TRAVEL

All participants may travel to games with no restrictions in place for travel. Participants should be aware that travelling in cars is now permitted, however this does mean that they will likely be in close contact and should manage any risks linked to this.   

Minibuses and coaches are now permitted to be used.

 

TEAM SHEETS

Team sheets are no longer required to be completed by each team individually.  Clubs must complete team sheets in accordance with the relevant Competition Rules.