Government Guidelines On Outdoor Sporting Activities – Republic of Ireland, December 2021.
A number of new public health measures were announced on December 17 effective December 20 2021 through January 30th 2022.
Full details of the announcement can be found here – gov.ie – New public health measures announced – Friday 17 December (www.gov.ie)
In relation to organised sporting events the following apply:
Outdoor Sport e.g Rugby
- Attendance at outdoor sporting events are limited to 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 attendees, whichever is the lower.
- The 8pm time restriction does not apply to outdoor sporting events or outdoor training.
On October 19th, the Government of Ireland announced its plan for the next phase of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full details of the announcement can be found here.
Clubs/Schools should continue to implement strong protocols with regard to training, competition and other sporting activities. Sport Ireland recommends:
- The collection of contact tracing data.
- The use of COVID 19 Officers.
- Recommending symptomatic individuals do not participate in or attend sporting activities.
- The ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene.
- The wearing of face coverings in relevant settings.
- Ensuring that indoor spaces are well ventilated.
- Consideration of indoor space densities and duration of indoor activities.
Monitoring, oversight and compliance activities should continue to be reinforced by clubs/schools. Up to date and active Communication on existing measures will also assist with the ongoing promotion of public health measures at a local level.
In addition to the protective measures outlined above the Return to Sport Expert Group strongly recommends that all eligible individuals consider vaccination as a matter of priority.
Summary of the Measures (Source: Sport Ireland, October 2021)
Outdoor Sport e.g Rugby
- Outdoor group activities should continue to implement the relevant protective measures as outlined above.
- Proof of vaccination or recovery will no longer apply for spectators attending outdoor events.
- Fixed capacity limits will no longer apply for spectators or participants at outdoor events.
Indoor Sport (including gym activity within a clubhouse)
- The use of a COVID Certificate (vaccine or recovery certificate) will be required for accessing indoor sporting activities.
- Where individuals have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult coaches/instructors).
- Multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures.
- The overall number of pods will have regard to the size of venue and there should be substantial social distance between individual pods.
- For Vaccinated individuals no fixed capacity limits apply to these activities.
Transport To and From Activities & Events
Clubs/Schools organising transport to/from events should implement protective measures such as mask wearing etc. as appropriate.
Private transport (carpooling) carrying those not yet vaccinated or of mixed immunity should be aware of the higher risk. The use of appropriate face coverings is recommended. If carpooling consider use of a pod system in which the same participants pool together for all activities.
Showers / Changing Rooms / Sports Clubhouse Gyms
Where all individuals are vaccinated the full use of showers and changing rooms is permitted.
Where individuals have mixed immunity status the use of these facilities should be pod based.
The type of protective measures implemented will be determined by the type of facility users ( i.e. vaccinated / mixed immunity).
Sample protective measures may include:
- Limit overall duration of individuals in a changing room for example implement a 15 minute window / 5 minute shower rule etc.
- Implement adequate social distancing measures in changing areas for example the use of every second changing space/shower head etc.
- Recommend the wearing of masks in shared areas (showers an exception).
- Provide clear signage highlighting any relevant space capacities and time durations.
- Close off any unnecessary spaces or those not in use/not permitted.
- Monitor toilets with agreed capacity numbers and limit to participants/patrons only.
- Implement flow management systems where necessary.
- To improve ventilation consider an open window / open door policy (subject to privacy).
- Provide sanitisation stations as appropriate on entrances and in shared areas.
- Continue to promote hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette through signage, posters etc.
- Ensure deep cleaning of shared areas on a regular basis.
Indoor Meetings & Educational / Coaching Courses
Sports may wish to continue to conduct Meetings & Educational / Coaching Courses remotely or outdoors.
Coaching or Educational programmes that contain a practical element should be delivered in line with other sporting measures permitted i.e. the use of pods of 6 for mixed immunity participants.
Appropriate protective measures and COVID protocols should be in place.
Ongoing consideration to Room densities, meeting durations and ventilation should continue throughout the Winter months.
In line with a move towards personal judgement and responsibility sports may wish to begin to unwind the ongoing use of health questionnaires for training and events from October 22nd. The promotion of the Governments COVID TRACKER APP and the ongoing recommendation that symptomatic individuals do not attend sporting activities or events until 48hrs symptom free should continue.
ROI COVID Tracker App: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/da832-download-the-covid-tracker-app/
IRFU Advisory: The IRFU recommend the use of health questionnaires in monitoring and tracking the attendance and wellness of rugby players and volunteers. A sample declaration is outlined below:
“I confirm that I am well and, to the best of my knowledge, have no current symptoms of COVID-19. If I begin to feel unwell, or develop symptoms of COVID-19, I will not attend any upcoming training session/match without first consulting my COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer.”
Substantial Distance amongst Pods
Indoor activities made up of Mixed Immunity Participants should continue in pods of up to 6. Multiple pods will be permissible and should take into account the overall size of the venue. Substantial social distancing between individual pods should be implemented. The levels of ‘substantial distance’ will differ depending on the nature and intensity of the activity.
To any independent onlooker it should be clear that the pods are completely separate groups operating independent of one another with no interaction or sharing of equipment and there is no opportunity for them to mix or stray into one another’s group or playing space.
In addition it is not recommended that Coaches/instructors participate in multiple pods. A single Coach/Instructor may however coach/instruct/oversee/ supervise more than one pod. This Coach/Instructor should ensure that they are not directly engaging with or in close proximity to any individual members of the pod. To any independent onlooker it should be clear that the Coach/Instructor is completely separate to the groups he/she is overseeing.
Sharing of Equipment
Sport particularly competitive team sport will require a certain degree of equipment sharing. Where this can be reduced or limited for example in individual sport or in training activities, it may help decrease overall risk. Where there is any sharing of equipment, appropriate sanitisation practices should remain in place. Rugby balls are categorised as equipment.
Use of Masks
The use of masks in indoor settings particularly for those not participating in activity continues to be recommended. The use of masks on public transport remains a requirement, while the use of masks in shared private transport continues to be strongly recommended. Medical staff should continue to use masks and appropriate PPE when treating participants.
In outdoor settings, the wearing of a face covering is advised for all non-playing personnel, including coaches and replacements where social distancing is difficult.
Ventilation will remain a core component of the COVID-19 response. The HSA has published a new COVID-19 Work Safely Protocol employer checklist on ventilation. Further expanded details on ventilation can be found in the Appendixes.
How can clubs and schools help to keep each other safe throughout the 2021/22 Season?
The IRFU are encouraging a #ProtectAndPlay approach to continuing safe behaviours for the 2021/22 season.
#ProtectAndPlay posters and signage design will be available to clubs from October 22nd onwards.
The IRFU believes every precautionary measure that can be taken must be taken to keep the rugby community safe.
Club members who have developed new symptoms, including cold or flu symptoms are advised not to attend their rugby club and contact their GP.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued work and vigilance in delivering on your club’s COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan.
Clubs are advised to ensure sectoral guidelines are in place for all hospitality services:
Frequently Asked Questions:
COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form:
The COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form should be used when any of the following affects the ability of a club to field a team in a competitive fixture.
• A confirmed case of COVID-19
• A suspected case of COVID-19 (where a player has been referred for testing by a GP/Public Health)
• Contact tracing has determined the need for players to restrict their movements
The form should be emailed to the competition’s designated administrator/manager immediately after any of the above situations are confirmed. Please note, a club does not have the authority to cancel a match. Matches are only cancelled on the basis of medical advice or instructions from Public Health. In the event that a match is called off, the competition’s manager/administrator will notify all parties.
PLEASE NOTE: If completing this form after 5pm on a Friday also send a text/whatsapp to 087 6167461 to notify that the form has been submitted to ensure the entry is detected in a timely manner
- Connacht Rugby Competitions Only: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form
- Leinster Rugby Competitions Only: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form
- Munster Rugby Competitions Only: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form
- Ulster Rugby Competitions Only: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form
- IRFU Competitions Only: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form (/Energia AIL Men’s & Women’s)
- November 1oth: Sport Ireland Return to Sport Guidance – November 2021
- October 28th: Sport Ireland Return to Sport Guidance – October 2021
- October 28th: Guidance On Ventilation (Sport Ireland)
- September 23rd: Safety Considerations For Clubs Reopening Facilities After Prolonged Inactivity
- September 16th: Sport Ireland Return to Sport Guidance September 2021
- August 31st, 2021: Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form 6.0
- August 24th 2021: COVID-19 Match Management Guidelines 2021/22
- August 18th, 2021: COVID-19 Safety Notice To Clubs Ahead Of 2021/22 Season
- August 17th, 2021: Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form 5.0
- June 23rd, 2021: Club Advisory On Easing Of Government Restrictions
- June 23rd, 2021: Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form 4.0
- June 15th, 2021: Guidelines For Match Officials 3.0
- June 8th, 2021: Guidelines For Players (Updated)
- June 8th, 2021: Guidelines For Coaches (Updated)
- June 8th, 2021: Guidelines For Parents (Updated)
- June 8th, 2021: Guidelines For Events – Adult Based (Updated)
- June 8th, 2021: Guidelines For Events – Children & Youth Based (Updated)
- June 7th, 2021: Return Of Spectators (Sport NI)
- June 7th, 2021: Individual, Indoor Training – Practical Guidance For Sports Sector (Sport Ireland)
- May 5th, 2021: Contact Readiness Training Guide
- March 25th, 2021: Update For Clubs & Schools In Northern Ireland
- March 16th, 2021: #ReadyForRugby Overview
- December 31st, 2020: Guidelines For Level 5 Restrictions 3.0
- December 23rd, 2020: Guidelines For Level 5 Restrictions 2.0
- December 22nd, 2020: Club Rugby Update For Northern Ireland
- November 30th, 2020: Guidelines For Level 3 Restrictions 3.0
- October 21st, 2020: Guidelines For Level 5 Restrictions
- October 7th, 2020: Guidelines For Level 3 Restrictions 2.0
- October 5th, 2020: Guidelines For Level 3 Restrictions
- October 1st, 2020: Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form 3.0
- September 9th, 2020: COVID-19 Match Management Guidelines 2.0
- September 1st, 2020: Updated Guidelines for Clubs in Kildare
- August 28th, 2020: Return To Rugby Guidelines For Match Officials 2.0
- August 26th, 2020: COVID-19 Suspected/Confirmed Case Response Guidelines
- August 26th, 2020: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form (See below)
- August 26th, 2020: COVID-19 Match Management Guidelines
- August 22nd, 2020: Interim Guidelines For Clubs & Schools in Kildare
- August 21st, 2020: IRFU Recommendations To Clubs On Updated Government Guidelines 2.0
- August 19th, 2020: IRFU Recommendations To Clubs On Updated Government Guidelines
- August 17th, 2020: Return To Rugby Guidelines For Match Officials
- August 5th, 2020: Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form 2.0
- July 23rd, 2020: Guiding Principles In Assessing Contact Risk of Rugby During The COVID-19 Pandemic
- July 21st, 2020: Performance, Injury Reduction & Return To Play After Prolonged Inactivity
- July 17th, 2020: IRFU Contact Stage Guidelines
Please note, a club does not have the authority to cancel a match.
#ReadyForRugby Support Webinars:
- Webinar 1: Considerations For Updating Your COVID-19 Safety Plan – https://youtu.be/9nQM_q7UBM8
- Webinar 2: How To Run A Touch Rugby Competition – https://youtu.be/79BF-GQMLy8
- Webinar 3: Making Your Club An Amenity For Your Community – https://youtu.be/jg0R1mdfETE
- Webinar 4: An Introduction To Coaching Touch Rugby – https://youtu.be/99yaXfB39KI
- Webinar 5: RugbyConnect Refresher For Administrators – https://youtu.be/3lT_qAvgRPc
- Webinar 6: Protecting Player Performance With Warm Ups – https://youtu.be/IJLTN7ra-nc
- Webinar 7: Training Hard & Smart – Workload Guidelines For Return To Rugby – https://youtu.be/LGpd994tDEo
- Webinar 8: Understanding Players’ Needs In Returning To Rugby – https://youtu.be/uyV9KpgOOYo
- Webinar 9: Getting Contact Ready – https://youtu.be/hWGuTOE88YA
- Webinar 10: Using 7s and 10s In A Graduated Return To Rugby – https://youtu.be/IbnlWcLkk2Q
- Webinar 11: Creating Games For Skill Development – https://youtu.be/aup7OU6a37Y
- Webinar 12: Helping Players Transition From Mini To Youth Rugby – https://youtu.be/QjgF__4yjfw
- Webinar 13: Helping Players Transition From Youth To Adult Rugby – https://youtu.be/1LDJaWKPm0o