Planning for Face-to-Face Bridge in 2021

As we continue along the government’s roadmap for easing out of lockdown, bridge players will be excited about when they can get back to bridge across the table, and clubs are asking when they can open and what they need to do to be compliant.

Although we cannot answer the first question, about when clubs can open, since individual clubs make their own decisions about this as in other matters, we can help by providing information to assist them make those decisions for themselves.

Until we know what precautions will still be required after June 21st, it is difficult to make firm recommendations on how best to prepare. What we can try to do now is produce a list of things to consider, which can be whittled away at, either by them becoming unnecessary, or by clubs having complied.

Core to any re-opening is the preparation of a Risk Assessment (our current PDF and Word templates are available). If a club is in shared premises, there might be a Risk Assessment for the premises which could be used as a starting point. Alternatively, discussions may be required with the owner/manager of hired premises.

In planning for a re-opening, all of the following questions will need to be considered:

Prior to arrival at the club

  • Is the use of Test and Trace feasible?
  • Consider asking players to take a test prior to leaving home or supply testing kits at the club for use on entry. Note – test kits for those with no Coronavirus symptoms (lateral flow) are provided by the Government for free and can be obtained from a pharmacy, a local test site, by post or can be ordered from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
  • Should players take a temperature check before being admitted to the building?
  • Should you only permit players who have been vaccinated?
  • Can you stagger arrivals/ departures to avoid bottlenecks in entrance ways?

Preparing the playing room:

  • Limit the number of tables in the room to ensure there is legal spacing between tables
  • Consider the use of screens - Rugby Village BC and Northampton BC brought in screens last year.
  • Is the use of larger than normal size bridge tables a possibility? Cheltenham BC is investigating a large cleanable surface to sit on top of the table, thus separating players more. Other clubs have put four tables together to ensure players are always more than 1m apart.
  • Ensure alcohol-based hand sanitiser is available
  • Ensure there is good ventilation – do your windows all open?
  • Consult the Government Sage document on ventilation parts of which may be useful. It can be seen here
  • Catering – is it safer for players to bring their own snacks and drink? Can the club at least provide disposable paper cups?
  • Toilets – is there hot water and a supply of disposable paper towels available? Consider and plan to avoid queuing at the toilets.

Preparing for the bridge:

  • Consider using only Mitchell movements so that half the room remain seated throughout the event
  • All players should have their own bidding boxes. Will they be provided by the club, or can they be purchased by players at the time of restart?
  • Bridgemates should only be used by one person at each table (and sanitised after play ends)
  • Cards – can there be a set of boards for each table?
  • Should players be required to wear masks?
  • Payment method – is a cashless-only system possible?
  • Clubs well advanced in using these include Basingstoke BC (Spadetickets), Oxford BC (Bookwhen) and Bath BC (Bridgewebs). Our Clubs Liaison Officer Jonathan Lillycrop would be happy to help clubs find out more about this.

Other items to consider:

  • Insurance: Ensure the club’s insurance is up-to-date, and all instructions are complied with.

Wider implications of Re-opening

What proportion of players will want to return immediately to playing F2F?

Should your club open to all players on day one – will that result in too many players turning up? Perhaps you might consider advance booking.

Will some players want to continue online, at least for a period? Consider running games played simultaneously in the club and online, with scoring across the field.

Does your club have an action plan in place to enable it to respond quickly if there is a temporary return to restrictions or lockdown?

Sharing information

There was a lengthy discussion about advice on social distancing last year here on this EBU club forum and we are posting this here to start a new thread, which will allow clubs, counties and members share ideas and information with each other, avoiding everyone having to look for everything afresh.

Comments

  • Face to Face is Back!
    Rugby Village Bridge Club
    Kenilworth Bridge Club
    Stamford Bridge Club
    South Croydon Bridge Club
    Nottingham Bridge Club

  • Thanks for this Nicky. Can you give us an idea of what and how the various clubs are running, to help other clubs who are assessing their options?

  • I think Stamford and Nottingham are running pairs/teams events with a lower maximum capacity and with no movement so that they are comfortably within the rule of six.

    The other three clubs appear to have a lower maximum capacity too but without restrictions on movement. As far as I can tell, bridge clubs don't meet any exemption which would permit such a movement, but I'm happy to be corrected.

  • Did I see that the EBU were going to put together some short refresher training for the TDs who have not directed for the last 14 months? Could anyone give an update on progress?

  • Currently planned courses are shown at http://www.ebedcio.org.uk/td-course-calendar

    There are four lots of Club TD series scheduled at present, but refresher courses only at Richmond, according to the list. Best to contact Jacks Morcombe. I know that she will look at organising more if there is demand.

    Barrie Partridge - CTD for Bridge Club Live

  • @495670 said:
    I think Stamford and Nottingham are running pairs/teams events with a lower maximum capacity and with no movement so that they are comfortably within the rule of six.

    The other three clubs appear to have a lower maximum capacity too but without restrictions on movement. As far as I can tell, bridge clubs don't meet any exemption which would permit such a movement, but I'm happy to be corrected.

    Having seen this article - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-57240510 - I wonder whether the advice has changed in a similar fashion for community centres? This might explain why some clubs have reopened despite the current guidance seemingly not permitting it.

  • Clubs make their own decisions and have to interpret the government guidance, some of which is linked from our COVID-19 information page, including the guidance for community centres, though I have been surprised at the way some of them have interpreted it.

  • @Shiona said:
    Did I see that the EBU were going to put together some short refresher training for the TDs who have not directed for the last 14 months? Could anyone give an update on progress?

    EBED have asked me to post the following for them:

    EBED are in the process of organising TD refresher courses geographically dispersed around the county. Details can be viewed on our website https://www.ebedcio.org.uk/td-course-calendar Further locations will be added as we are able to confirm venue bookings. We are also in the process of planning online refresher training to supplement our face-to-face programme.

    If you would like to run a refresher course at your club please contact Jacks Morcombe Jacqueline@ebedcio.org.uk

  • In exeter we are planning to restart F2F sessions on 1 July, providing unlocking goes to plan. The venue where we play (a hotel subject to covid secure rules) requires all players to have had 2 vaccinations and to wear masks on entry / exit. We will also ensure plenty of ventilation in the playing room. Other than these rules we are planning to restart play as normal. Should we be considering any other measures?

  • Nottingham’s Risk Register is available under the information section on its web site on Bridgewebs.

    Trustees will be meeting on 19 June to discuss the options in the light of any new announcements.

  • On the note of vaccinations, some clubs may have members who are exempt or currently not eligible for vaccination. I am very much in favour of clubs reopening on a trial basis with a vaccination requirement, but clubs with junior members (not the only example but the main one) may want to be mindful of not discouraging those players.

  • What is the current thinking on screens?

    Do these just harbour droplets and impede the movement of air to send them out of the room, or are they a good way of allowing a full pairs movement?

  • The Polish Premier League is currently playing live, using screens to reduce risk.

    https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/polish-premier-league-were-playing-live/

  • Rugby Village BC plays by treating the players not as a mingling single social gathering (no masks, no distance etc), but as socially distanced groups of one. This is like going shopping in a supermarket, or sitting in a pub or restaurant alone.

    At www.bridgeforpleasure.co.uk you can find lots of information about bridge in the new normal etc.

    Please see our player briefing example for more detail.
    https://www.bridgewebs.com/bridgeforpleasure/2021 05 Anon Face to Face Player Briefing.pdf

    Kenilworth BC have a similar approach, and have checked it with Warwickshire CC who were content.

    We have a newsletter for clubs, and a monthly Zoom conference to discuss the new normal. All clubs are welcome to join.

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