As you will all be experiencing, there is a huge amount of uncertainty across the country in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Having carefully monitored the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus, and in line with the latest recommendations from the UK Government, Archery GB has made a number of decisions that will impact our sport.
These decisions have been taken with the health and safety our members, participants, volunteers and staff as an utmost priority and are based on the most recent information from all relevant authorities - including UK Government, Public Health England and World Archery.
We also appreciate that many of you are facing your own challenges following the new restrictions announced today, which will inevitably have financial implications across our sport, as well as implications for your personal and family life. Please be assured that we are aware of this and while we don't have all the answers, we are compiling frequently asked questions and guidance for our clubs, counties, regions and volunteers.
Our general principle has been, and will remain, to follow the advice from the Government. We want to help ensure that as a sport we minimise the risk of any spread of the virus and minimise the risk to our members and participants. As a result, this evening we have taken the following actions:
- We have reviewed all Archery GB -run events, workshops, seminars, courses (i.e. anything run and directly managed by Archery GB) until 30 April and taken the decision that none will go ahead as planned - further details will be communicated to the individuals involved and refunds will be offered along with the option to have credits placed on your account.
- The AGM scheduled to take place on the 18 April, in Birmingham will not be going ahead as planned, a further announcement on this will be communicated in the coming days.
- Our office in Lilleshall remains open at this stage. Our staff are being encouraged to work from home where able, something many are accustomed to doing. For those that are currently unable to work from home, we are working on solutions to minimise their contact with others and providing equipment so services can continue from home. We are advising our staff to make use of video conferencing wherever possible, including contact and meetings with our key volunteers. Office phone lines, where possible will be forwarded to work mobiles. Staff can access company email accounts from home.
- At this time, the Olympics and Paralympics are going ahead as planned, however, many of the major international archery events have been cancelled/postponed, please refer to the World Archery website for regular updates. We want to ensure that the GB Archery Team goes into the Games having had the best possible preparation and so we have put in place a number of protocols to manage the risk around the Team's activities and Coronavirus. Whilst prioritising the health of the athletes and staff involved with the team, we aim to keep the programme operating as close to normal as possible and are working on contingency planning where decisions have been taken out of our hands. Again, we are constantly reviewing this scenario and will provide updates if this changes.
- At this stage, we don't know enough information to make any decisions beyond the end of April but will be constantly reviewing the situation and will keep you informed through ezines, website and social media.
- The Archery GB Big Weekend is unlikely to go ahead in the current format. We hope that clubs can take a flexible approach to running have a go's and beginners' courses during the summer once/if government restrictions have been lifted. We know how important the running of these events is to clubs, we will create resources to help clubs promote their events as we currently do for the Big Weekend. Further information will be communicated shortly.
Good hygiene is as important as ever, please continue to adhere to the NHS recommendations which will help protect yourself and each other.
Summary of new guidance issued by the Prime Minister today 16 March 2020:
- Ensure that if you or anyone in your household has one of those two symptoms, then you should stay at home for fourteen days.
- That means that if possible, you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
Even if you don't have symptoms and if no one in your household has symptoms, there is more that we need you to do now:
- Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
- We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.
- It goes without saying, we should all only use the NHS when we really need to. And please go online rather than ringing NHS 111.
- Now, this advice about avoiding all unnecessary social contact, is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
- In a few days' time - by this coming weekend - it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.
The full statement from the Prime Minister can be read by clicking here.
We know our archery community is good at pulling together at times of difficulty and I'm sure it will be no different in this situation. We are working on pulling together guidance and FAQ's which will answer the many questions you may have, particularly at club level. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer them or add them to our FAQ's. Please be mindful that we are experiencing a large volume of enquiries so we may not be able to reply within the usual 72 hours.
Advice can change quickly and we will do our best to keep you up to date.
Finally, this is a stressful situation, which will undoubtedly have an impact on the mental well-being of some of our members, please click here for the most up to date guidance from the Mental Health Foundation for looking after your mental health during COVID-19
Thank you for your understanding in this unchartered territory, and please stay safe.
CEO, Archery GB