Friday, August 21, 2020

Back to the water guidance documents

Scottish Swimming is pleased to share guidance documents highlighting new measures to help ensure a safe return to our sport. Through direct dialogue with the Scottish Government, Scottish Swimming has provided detailed information for clubs, pool operators, aquatic participation and learn to swim programmes (including swim schools), and the Scottish Government brought forward the date for the reopening of pools to 31 August 2020. The key changes for 31 August are:

  1. Indoor sports facilities: All indoor sports facilities will be able to re-open following appropriate guidance
  2. Children under 12: Will be able to undertake both contact and non-contact sports activity in indoor facilities
  3. Adults and young people aged 12 and over: Will only be able to participate in non-contact sports activity in indoor facilities

With an earlier date comes expectations and we must note that the opening of pools will vary in each local authority area, as well as pool to pool. Many leisure staff remain on furlough and facilities must be given the necessary time to train staff and embed the guidance into practice, which will allow them to reopen safely.

Scottish Swimming thanks pool operators, Swim England, Swim Ireland and Swim Wales in taking a collaborative approach to developing guidance which has been on-going since April. In producing these guidelines, alongside partners at sportscotland and Community Leisure UK, we can share a consistent message and set out clear rules and protocols   allowing individuals to get back to the water safely.

As previously stated, details have already been shared and our regional team continue to support clubs and pool operators in advance of an opening to help support a phased return of as many swimmers as possible across what will be a gradual opening of pools. All documents are held on our COVID19 Hub on the Scottish Swimming website. Scottish Swimming guidance documents published today are:

The documents should be used in conjunction with guidance from individual pool operators, with whom Scottish Swimming has worked closely during lockdown.

Speaking about the guidance documents, Jeremy Chittleburgh, Chair of Warrender Baths Club in Edinburgh said,

“As a club we are delighted to hear the news from the First Minister announcing the reopening the pools from the 31 August. As a club we have be working closely with Scottish Swimming and our local pool operators to prepare for this return. A lot of information has been provided in draft by Scottish Swimming which has enabled us to prepare to ensure we have the right things in place to provide a safe well controlled environment for the pool users. It cannot be underestimated the amount of effort that will be required by volunteers to allow all of this to work with all the guidance provided.”

Speaking about the move to open pools, Robert Hammond, Head of Operations at East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure, said,

“For several months, I have been working alongside Scottish Swimming, sportscotland and many of my wider Community Leisure colleagues from the sector. The collaboration that exists in the Leisure Sector is like no other. The output of this means we have a document which achieves the safe phased return of swimming in the current environment. Everyone across the sector accepts it’s not returning to “normal” and indeed the only safe approach is to start small and scale up as we evolve to a new normal.

“The adaptations will present significant challenges as we return. Not all sites, previous access arrangement or programmes will return quickly. Whilst we celebrate the ability to re-open, the underlying campaign #saveleisure is still relevant and everyone should be aware without sector support, similar to that which was quickly extended to Arts and Culture, we are in for a difficult journey.”

While the reopening of pools on 31 August is good news for our sport, Scottish Swimming supports the need for the leisure industry to receive emergency funding from Government for the long term viability of facilities.