What Level 2 means for sport

By Will Johnston

There are a number of restrictions sport and recreation must adhere to under Alert Level 2, Sports News Taranaki looks at what protocols are in place for sport to operate under these restrictions

In May, when New Zealand originally moved out of Alert Level 3, Sport New Zealand released a three-page document on regulations for sport and recreation to operate safely under Level 2. Focusing on sport, each code now has to refamiliarise themselves with these if they decide to continue operating – decisions that are over to each individual code based on the best interest of their community.

First, commercial sport, like Super Rugby and the ANZ Netball Premiership, are classed as ‘workplaces’ and have a slightly different variation of the rules but encourages safe practice.

It goes without saying, if they are feeling unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19, participants should stay home and are encouraged to be tested or self-isolate.

All facilities should practise sanitation measures and must record contact tracing details – something we have become accustomed to lately.

Multiple gatherings can take place at the same event or facility, as long as they can be separated. This is a potential loophole sports can take advantage of by keeping to the rules.

Mass gatherings are limited to 100 people under Level 2, but if sports section off zones – like holding pens – around open fields or courts, they can have more people at one venue. Stadiums can use this with 100 people sitting on one side, with separate exits to the other side. Social distancing still must take place in these scenarios though but more people can attend. No doubt it would create additional headaches for administrators to manage.

Clearly, participants should wash and dry their hands before and after playing sport, but this is where it gets hard for sports, especially volunteer ‘mums and dads.’ All equipment should be washed and dried before and after use, this includes balls, tackling pads, post pads, cones, benches etc. A big undertaking, especially when volunteers have potentially set up procedures at work or home.

People may participate in team sport and physical activity, including those instances in which distancing cannot be maintained. This means training and competition for contact sports is possible with the above health measures observed.

This is where the rules become ironic. After the activity, participants should maintain social distancing, despite contact sport being played.

If codes keep it simple, they can train and play and still enjoy their sport.

They are advised to contact their governing body for specifics around their sport.

Click here for the Sport NZ Alert Level 2 guidelines