Being blunt with you all, this is a horrendous set of circumstances with so many competing opinions and demands being placed on the Club.
Your Management Committee convened last night to consider all the advice available from Government, governing bodies and our membership in relation to how we should respond to the current Covid-19 crisis. We are very grateful to members who are health professionals and to those with scientific backgrounds for their input and advice.
There continues to be significant use of the Club by members, as a matter of personal choice, and we concluded that members are free to apply personal choice without judgement in respect of the current situation, providing they do so respectfully and follow simple rules. We are also advised by our governing bodies, by Government and by sportscotland that it is important people stay fit and healthy to defend against Covid-19 and that sport can play an important role in the physical and mental health of our community over the diffuclt weeks and months that lie ahead.
Having considered all the advice and facts we have, the committee has decided that the clubhouse and our courts will remain open to members at our usual times unless we are told to close by Government. Those members who have specifically contacted us to request access to our facilities as their sole means of sporting activity can therefore use the courts while abiding by some specific new rules. However, we do strongly advise those over 70 to follow government advice as they deem it applies to them.
That being said all members are asked to follow some strict rules while on club premises:
1) If you are symptomatic please do not come to the club. Specifically if you have an elevated temperature or have a new or continuous cough.
2) Please wash your hands when entering the clubhouse.
3) Please wash your hands after you play.
4) Please wash your hands whenever you have used the changing facilities or toilets.
This regime is being complimented by additional measures to clean the clubhouse with anti-bacterial disinfectant, to have handles and surfaces commonly touched around the clubhouse wiped down on a regular basis, and we intend to provide access to hand sanitiser. The latter is ordered but not yet on the premises. We have arranged for automated hand sanitiser dispensers to be available and will provide members with access to disposable gloves for those wishing additional protection. As ever, please be respectful of your fellow members, and the Club, in the volume of gel and gloves you use. I will email again to formally advise when these measures are in place.
We have also been approached by a large number of parents keen to see coaching continue. I am very conscious that this is the livelihood of our terrific coaching team and having met with them over the past 2 days they are keen to try and continue to provide sessions to members where they can. To this end, the current block of coaching will continue as planned, unless we are told by the LTA or Scottish Squash to suspend all coaching.
Parents of those in the mid-week coaching programmes will have received an email from me earlier today inviting them to participate on a telephone conference call on Thursday so we can share what we believe we can do over Easter and then into the Summer block, as well as affording me and the coaches an opportunity to assess what it is parents will be prepared to support.
Exactly what form coaching takes from early April is yet to be determined. What we can share with you now is the following intention:
1) All children attending coaching must present to the coach with their parent. Drop off in the car park or Percy Drive is not appropriate in the current circumstances.
2) We will shortly have non-contact thermometers on site to test everyone attending coaching for their temperature. Anyone with an elevated temperature will be unable to participate in a club session and is asked to vacate club premises to protect other members.
3) Session plans are designed to maintain 2 metre spacing between participants. This is a protection for the individual and requires all participants to adhere to the instruction of coaches to be effective.
4) Before entering court all players will be required to wash their hands in line with our Club policy.
5) After sessions all players are asked to wash their hands;
6) Before, during and after sessions we advice all players to refrain from handshakes and kissing as a greeting, congratulation or thank you. Elbow bumps or foot taps are less risky, but the most effective way to avoid transmission is to maintain social spacing of at least 2 metres, so a nod, wink or spoken word will suffice given the circumstances.
Please adhere to the simple rules of our Covid-19 Club Advice and Fact Sheet that are displayed around the clubhouse and provided below.
Addressing the concerns of some members about the Club remaining open to members, we believe our intended course of action complies with specific guidance issued by the LTA at 6.50pm tonight, which states:
Tennis in Britain
We are working closely with both the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Sport England to help to fully assess the implications this latest advice has for tennis in Britain over the coming weeks.
All those involved in tennis in Britain, including tennis venues and coaches, are advised to follow Government advice, referring to the latest information and the guidance issued.
While the LTA has suspended its organised activity, the Government have currently indicated that recreational exercise that takes place at a safe distance from others and in safe exercise environments is something that can continue during this period.
Guidance with regard to advised social distancing measures (defined by Public Health England as spending more than 15 minutes and within a 2-metre distance talking to someone) is provided on the Government website:
CLUBHOUSE AND BAR OPERATIONS
All our regular room hires of the clubroom have suspended all operations for at least 3 weeks, and we think it reasonable to assume this will continue through to the summer. The clubroom floor is being disinfected on a regular basis and surfaces also wiped down using anti-bacterial disinfectant wipes. Members may use this room but are asked to wash hands before and after use for their own protection and for the protection of other members.
Changing rooms, showers and toilets are all being disinfected on a daily basis. This reduces but cannot remove the risk of the virus being present once the area has been used by a member. Please stick to our hand hygiene rules to help reduce the risk of transmission to all.
We will monitor bar use on a weekly basis but have determined that the bar will remain open for members to use until we are told to close by Government. It is my intention to run down the stock of draught beers to reduce our financial exposure to loss should closure become mandated.
Again, we are working on the basis you as members will exercise individual choice as to whether you use the bar. That being said we encourage everyone to follow our hand hygiene and social spacing guidance. Our bar staff will disinfect tables after your use and there are enhanced cleaning process being followed at all times. In this fast moving world, it may be that circumstances change before I get a chance to update you, so please be patient with bar staff in the event of a need to close.
BAR AND COACHING STAFF
For most of our bar and coaching staff the Club is their sole income, so we have a duty and responsibility to look after them as best we can.
As a matter of protection for members, all bar staff and coaches have been asked to self isolate at home if they become symptomatic, specifically is they have an elevated temperature and/or a new or continuous cough. This may mean a staff shortage at short notice, which we hope you will understand is a protection of your health and wellbeing. All staff/coaches will follow our strict hand hygiene protocols and all have access to disposable gloves and a range of anti-bacterial disinfectant products to ensure any issues are dealt with promptly. This being said, none of us are experts in this field so please work with us to ensure the safety of our staff, coaches and fellow members.
We remain grateful to all members for their continued support of their Club. While we have plans to add value to membership over the coming year, much of what we intend to do may be curbed and delayed by Government controls.
You will understand from the detail provided above that club revenues will fall significantly, in respect of clubroom hires, coaching revenues and bar profits. We are, however, in a very strong position to weather the storm and to come out the other end strongly thanks to the efforts of successive committees in steering the Club to sustained profitability, as a result of which we have good cash reserves.
We believe members will expect us to use these reserves to ensure the Club survives this crisis and to support those reliant on the club for their employment. We will also apply sensible support for those members who find themselves in difficulties as a result of current circumstances. We intend to do so in a fair and sensible manner and thanks all members in anticipation of their support for their Club at this unprecedented time.
If you want any additional information or clarification please email me or call on 07951362892. I will try my best to get you any answers you need. We do plan to offer all members a telephone conference call to enable a wider briefing in real time, and I will provide details of this in due course.
Again, thank you for your support of Giffnock Tennis Squash & Hockey Club and please stick with us as we get through this extraordinary period in history.