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Government issues Coronavirus guidelines for community sport, stating fitness centres and swimming pools need not close

Government issues Coronavirus guidelines for community sport, stating fitness centres and swimming pools need not close
March 19, 2020

The Australian Government has announced new community sport guidelines to combat the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Released yesterday afternoon (18th March 2020), the guidelines follows ongoing consultation with sporting organisations and is focused on providing relevant advice on change room access, physical contact, travel, and social distancing and hygiene practices.

The guidelines were developed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), comprising all state and territory Chief Health Officers and chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.

The guidelines were subsequently endorsed by the newly formed National Cabinet which is made up of all Premiers, First Ministers and the Prime Minister.

AHPPC COVID-19 Community Sport Guidelines
All community sport participants must play a role to help reduce the transmission of COVID 19, including those organising, attending or supporting attendance at these activities.

Participants should not attend and participate in Community Sport if they:
• Have travelled internationally or been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the preceding 14 days; or
• Are at a high risk including the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Attendance at Community Sport activities
Only essential participants should attend activities, i.e. players, coaches, match officials, staff and volunteers involved in operations and parents/guardians of participants.

All players, visitors should practise the following social distancing measures at Community Sporting activities:
• Players, visitors and officials should minimise physical contact as much as is practicable, for example no shaking hands, no walking out with player mascots, no pre- or post-match celebrations and no celebrating between players during the match.
• When spectating or attending a game or training session, ensure a distance of 1.5 metres is kept between yourself and others.
• Access to change rooms should be restricted solely to players, officials and essential staff.
• If spectating, try to maintain 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
• It is recommended that sporting teams, including school sporting teams, maintain local competitions only, with no inter-district, or inter-club travel. As with all gatherings, basic protective measures should be observed, such as regular hand hygiene practices before, during and after the match, do not share drink bottles, and avoid touching your face.
• It is acknowledged that contact sports have a greater risk of transmission than other sports, and as such, should be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, other mitigation strategies for match socialisation and contact must be employed to reduce the risk to players, visitors, and officials more broadly.

General hygiene measures at facilities
Facilities should ensure that:
• Spaces at each facility, surfaces and objects are regularly cleaned with disinfectant
• Provide hand washing guidance
• Promote regular and thorough hand washing by staff and participants
• Provide sanitising hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the event (particularly entry or high use areas such as a registration desk, change rooms, toilets or kiosk)
• Make sure dispensers are regularly refilled
• Promote exclusion of ill persons

Gyms, indoor fitness centres and swimming pools
Settings like gyms, indoor fitness centres and swimming pools are not required to close at this time providing they meet these requirements for social distancing and hand hygiene. Such venues should take actions to ensure regular high standards of environmental cleaning take place.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s media statement can be found at www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirusmeasures

The most recent advice released by the AHPPC can be found at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Additional information relating to the Government’s response to COVID-19 can be found at www.health.gov.au

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