Following the recent announcement by the United Kingdom Government, with regard to spectators attending elite sports events from Wednesday 2nd December 2020, the following guidelines have been issued.
Below are the UK Government guidelines, however we, the British & Irish Boxing Authority, will be creating a detailed step by step BIBA Event Sanctioning Guide that will include all the relevant government COVID-19 guidelines for BIBA sanctioned events with limited spectator attendance.
Events – spectators present: Events exclusively involving Elite Athletes, hosted within the UK, where cross border travel (from outside the UK and Ireland) is permitted for individuals essential to the delivery of the Competition. Spectators can attend the Competition if the standards within this guidance are met.
Events hosted outdoors in tier one locations will be able to welcome up to a maximum of 4,000 fans or 50 per cent of stadium capacity – whatever is lower.
In tier two (high alert) locations the cap is set at 2,000 supporters or 50 percent of stadium capacity.
Indoor sporting events and fixtures in tiers one and two locations will be able to host a maximum of 1,000 fans or 50 per cent of stadium capacity – whatever is lower.
However in tier three locations, fans will not be permitted to attend elite sporting fixtures in line with hospitality venues and other large event venues being closed. Elite sport in tier three locations will still continue behind closed doors.
The following key principles continue to apply:
- UK government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Eng land) Regulations 2020 (England) Regulations 2020 should be followed
- The guidance applies to both outdoor and indoor competition venues
- Competition delivery partners should be given the opportunity to ‘opt in’ to the inclusion of Spectators and should not proceed unless competition delivery partners are completely satisfied that RTCSRS can be safely implemented
- Competition delivery partners should continue to follow the principle that only individuals essential to the delivery of the competition and associated spectator services should be accredited by the competition organiser
Assessment to determine safe RTCSRS
Three assessments have been devised to assist competition delivery partners to determine whether RTCSRS can safely proceed, and to enable Spectators to assess whether they should attend competition. Competition delivery partners should agree roles and responsibilities at the outset, and this should include agreeing the organisation that will undertake assessments two and three.
Assessment one (to be performed by the spectator)
Competition delivery partners should provide spectators with information on the steps that will be implemented to minimise the risk to spectators, including any modifications to the competition venue. Spectators (both ‘home’ and ‘away’, if both sets of spectators are to be admitted) must agree, at point of ticket purchase, to a spectator code of behaviour obliging them to:
- declare that they will not attend the competition if they display any COVID-19 symptoms and/or are required to self-isolate
- adhere to requirements stipulated by the competition delivery partners regarding SD and the movements and behaviours of spectators, and
- provide names and contact details for each ticketed individual within their booking to assist with NHS test and trace requirements
Spectators should assess the risk associated with attending the competition, both at the point of ticket purchase, and on the day of the competition, relative to their own personal circumstances, age, group size and makeup, health status and susceptibility to infection. Individuals who have been advised to isolate should not attend competition, and those at higher risk of infection (which may include, but not be limited to, individuals classified as a clinically extremely vulnerable person or a clinically vulnerable person) should assess if it is appropriate for them to attend.
Assessment Two (to be performed by competition delivery partners)
The competition delivery partners must liaise with the local authority/local PHE representatives before each competition to understand the prevailing risk environment and assess if the competition can be safely hosted. Consideration should be given to the LTLA (Lower Tier local authority) Prevalence rate, any local lockdown protocols which may be in place and the origin and travel arrangements of attending Spectators, including away and international fans.
Assessment Three (to be performed by the competition venue operator)
The competition venue operator must assess the revised capacity of the competition venue (working, where required, in conjunction with the local authority). Even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a competition venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel to or enter that competition venue. For example, it may be that travel to and from the ground including pre- and post match activities (food and drink) may create a risk of Covid-unsafe crowding on transport networks, and in hospitality businesses, particularly in Zone Ex. The revised capacity assessment will be based on the competition venue’s existing safe capacity, with adjustments made to ensure that SD can be achieved by assessing:
- the revised entry capacity
- the revised holding capacity in seated/standing areas
- capacity to maintain social distancing between household groups and individuals
- capacity to facilitate socially distanced movement inside each area or zone (including concourses, staircases, toilets, concessions, etc), and
- the revised exit/emergency exit capacity
Consideration will also need to be given to:
- the acceptable number of passengers on public transport to and from the competition venue
- the frequency of service and capacity of public transport hubs
- the size, location and design of the competition venue
- parking facilities, bike routes, walking routes
- the environment within the Zone Ex area particularly hospitality venues
- the likelihood of public gatherings outside the competition venue, and
- mitigating measures implemented by the venue operator.
The competition organiser should note that the competition venue capacity will be significantly reduced from normal safe capacity and this, along with adaptations required by this and any other related public health guidance, should be a key consideration in decisions around staging an event.
As noted, the SGSA are producing detailed guidance on calculating the revised safe capacity of competition venues, based on UK government/PHE SD requirements. competition delivery partners should consult the Supplementary Guidance to the Green Guide (SG02 – Planning for Social Distancing at Sports Grounds) for detailed information on how to perform this calculation.
Management responsibilities/operational considerations
Ticketing of seated and standing areas
Seating and standing areas should maintain SD wherever possible and reduce the movement of spectators between seats/areas. Key principles include:
- Seating should be allocated wherever possible and seat plans should be managed through the competition ticketing system
- Where allocated seating is not possible, seating or standing plans should be developed which maintain SD, with clear demarcation of the seats or standing areas which spectators can and cannot use
- Seated spectators should remain in seats registered to their contact details at the point of sale
- Spectators should be seated as individuals or where tickets were purchased in a group, within that group. Group ticket purchases should follow social distancing guidelines for seeing family and friends in regards to number of people in a group, and number of households in a group, appropriate to indoor and outdoor settings.
- All individuals and groups within seated or standing areas should maintain current SD with other individuals and/or other groups and/or within groups of two household.
- Seating and space for spectators with disabilities should comply with SD arrangements and have due regard to accessibility responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010
NHS Test and Trace
The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. competition delivery partners must assist this service by keeping a temporary record (name and contact details) of all Spectators for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for their business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This information should be disclosed in advance and in full, whether tickets are bought on line or pre-event at the venue, and will additionally support appropriately assigned seating. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. Many competitions that sell tickets will already have systems for recording spectator data, and those that do should implement this to help fight the virus. Competition delivery partners should also assist the Test and Trace service by keeping a temporary record of staff shift patterns for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.
Competition delivery partners must maintain a record of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.
Competition delivery partners must ensure that any spectator data, including data collected at the ticket purchasing stage, is processed in a manner that is compliant with relevant data protection legislation and that any data collected from spectators should not include medical data, unless this has been considered within a data impact assessment and will be processed and stored in a compliant manner.
Good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, should be emphasised during the Competition. Additional facilities, such as hand washing and sanitiser stations, should be provided for spectators – particularly at entry and exits points to the competition venue and in seating/standing areas.
The cleaning standards required in the Stages Three and Four guidance should continue to be followed. In addition, the following should be considered as part of the competition planning:
- spectator areas, including seating, concourse areas and toilets, should be cleaned more frequently than normal, including between each competition session, with attention paid to high touch point surfaces such as doors, door handles, seat arms and handrails and taps.
- One-way systems should be implemented for toilet facilities wherever possible to allow for SD
- Hand drying facilities should be provided in toilets – either paper towels or electrical dryers – and soap dispensers should be changed or cleaned as frequently as possible
- Additional waste facilities, including closed bins, should be provided along with more frequent rubbish collection
- Competition sessions should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake thorough cleaning of spectator areas between sessions
- Signage should be installed in all spectator areas and toilets to enforce SD, hygiene standards and good handwashing techniques
Catering and retail concessions
The competition delivery partners should prepare a risk assessment and mitigation strategy for the preparation, handling, purchase and consumption of all food and drink, and operation of other retail concessions such as programmes, merchandise and betting. This should comply with the most up to date UK government guidance for the hospitality and retail sectors and should consider, but not be limited to:
- Hygiene requirements for all catering, retail and other concessions
- Enforcement of SD during queuing for service
- Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other when SD cannot be maintained
- Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
- Discouraging non-essential trips by staff within competition venues by using radios and other electronic devices to communicate
- Providing contactless cash operations and adjusting location of card readers to SD guidance
- Any equipment or PPE required for staff
- The ability to revise operations where possible, e.g. providing increased catering collection points throughout the competition venue to pick up pre-ordered food and drinks or implementing ‘in-seat’ delivery services
- Removal of all buffet catering services
- The provision of an education programme for catering and concessions staff
- Consideration of providing competition programmes in a digital format and online merchandising facilities
● Prohibiting the use of sampling and distributing promotional materials wherever possible
The signage plan for the competition should be developed to include spectator areas and should consider, but not be limited to:
- Signage and floor markings both inside and outside the entire competition venue to enforce SD, seating plans, one-way systems and queuing requirements. Signage should be positioned at all potential pinch points and areas where queues will normally fall
- Signage to enforce hygiene requirements, particularly handwashing, in all spectator areas
- Signage to confirm key messaging for spectators, including common COVID-19 symptoms and the process for spectators to follow should they become symptomatic at the competition venue
● Signage confirming the maximum capacity in any spectator areas
- For any enclosed and indoor areas, particular attention should be given to ventilation and sufficient circulation space around equipment and people
- Ventilation systems should be serviced and adjusted to ensure that ventilation levels do not reduce
- Advice on air conditioning systems, particularly where these serve multiple buildings, should be sought from heating ventilation and air conditioning engineers or advisors
- Natural ventilation systems such as doors (excluding fire doors) and windows should be used wherever possible to increase ventilation in enclosed spaces.
The competition delivery partners should develop a crowd management plan for the competition and ensure, where relevant, that the SAG and the local authority are fully engaged in its approval. The crowd management plan should consider, but not be limited to:
- The revised capacity of the competition venue
- The impact of SD requirements on queuing systems and crowd flows
- Control of entry and exit:
- Extending gate opening times to spread the arrival of spectators over a longer time period and reduce queuing times. Previous analysis on demographic and arrival patterns of spectators will provide insight into potential spectator flow
- Rescheduling of competition session times to minimise the likelihood of public gatherings and overcrowding on public transport, and maximise the potential competition venue capacity
- Competition delivery partners should consider the cumulative impact of many Competition venues re-opening in a small area. This means working with Local Authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations. These could include staggering entry times with other local competition venues and businesses and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
- Space used outside the competition venue for queuing should be available and safe.
- Outside queues should be managed safely to make sure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or present additional security risks.
- The competition delivery partners must work with the local authority to mitigate the impact of queues on public spaces and traffic. Queueing in close proximity and adjacent to roads and vehicle thoroughfares and unsecured open spaces should be avoided wherever possible. Where this is not possible, vehicle mitigation plans should be put in place as part of the competition security planning.
- Competition venues should consider providing additional entry and exit points to reduce congestion and queuing
- Consideration of implementing assigned gates and/or timed entry to reduce queues
- Consideration of technology that could minimise queuing times and facilitate contactless access upon entry and exit – this could include the use of digital ticketing
- Consideration of any spectator screening requirements (security and/or medical) on entry to the competition venue and the impact on queueing times
- The welfare of stewarding personnel overseeing entry and exit and close contact security screening processes, with consideration of staff rotation, contactless security equipment, avoiding face to face contact and PPE requirements
- Implement a controlled exit process and communicate this to spectators in advance and during the competition
- Implementing one-way systems wherever possible inside the competition venue to prevent congestion and allow for SD
- Ensure that spectator flow within the competition venue is integrated into the zoning and accreditation systems and minimise cross-over of spectators with other User Groups
- Risk assess the use of lifts and stairways. Reduce the maximum occupancy for lifts and provide hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts. Encourage the use of stairs wherever possible and consider restricting the use of lifts – ensure those with accessibility requirements have access to lifts
- Consider any impact on equality and accessibility standards and make alterations where required to comply with regulations
- Emergency planning, including emergency exit protocols for the competition venue should be updated to include consideration of the revised competition venue capacity and the requirement for SD wherever possible
- Consider any implications of bad weather on spectator movement and put plans in place to manage spectators seeking shelter in covered areas
- Assess the stewarding requirements to support SD enforcement across all areas in the competition venue. Extra stewarding may be required at pinch points where queues will normally form, outside the competition venue and in the seating areas
- Where SD is difficult to maintain (e.g. spectator movement in and out of seating areas), spectators should be encouraged to avoid face to face contact when passing each other
- Competition delivery partners should retain the right to remove and exclude any individuals from the competition venue if their actions are viewed to breach any health and safety protocols (COVID-19 related or otherwise)
Zone Ex and spectator journey
The competition delivery partners should develop the transport management plan for the competition to ensure integration of spectator considerations. They should also ensure, where relevant, that the SAG / local authority / public transport providers are fully engaged in its approval. The transport management plan should consider, but not be limited to:
- The capacity of local public transport systems (service frequency and transport hub size/configuration), including a requirement to liaise with local and national transport providers to increase service frequency, where needed
- The requirement for additional car/bike parking at the competition venue
- Integration with the spectator communications plan to provide spectators with options to walk, run or cycle to the competition venue and communicate any local environmental initiatives
- Liaison with relevant Local Authorities and businesses to arrange and manage one-way travel routes, where possible, between transport hubs and the competition venue to increase spectator safety, SD implementation and minimise public gatherings outside of the event footprint, such as in visiting local pubs and other businesses in line with wider public health guidance relevant to gatherings and to those sectors.
A spectator communications strategy should be developed to provide clear guidance to assist spectators to plan a safe journey to the competition venue and meet all requirements of the competition delivery partners while at the competition. Competition delivery partners should recognise that spectator confidence may need to be built over time and that a strategy should be developed to communicate the interventions that have been made by the competition Organiser to mitigate the risk of transmission to spectators. Any messaging should be communicated before arrival at the competition, for example by email when purchasing tickets, follow up emails and the competition website, app and social media channels.
The spectator communications strategy should consider, but not be limited to, the following:
- A spectator code of behaviour which obliges spectators to confirm, at the point of ticket purchase, that they will comply with the requirements in the code
- Providing spectators with a reminder to ‘opt-in’ to attendance after careful consideration of the associated risks and their own vulnerability status. Further reminders could be provided on the day of competition to ensure spectators have considered any symptoms they may have before travelling to the competition venue
- Providing spectators with information on the restrictions within seating and standing areas in the competition venue. spectators will be seated as individuals or in group bookings, and group bookings can only be made for individuals within the same household or permitted bubble
- Any requirement or recommendation for spectators to wear face coverings when queuing or while inside the competition venue consistent with the latest government guidance. Face coverings can be made at home and spectators should be signposted to the latest government guidance on this
- Transport options to and from the competition venue (including walking and cycling routes)
- Advising spectators to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue
- Car/bike parking facilities on arrival at the competition venue
- SD arrangements & sanctions at the competition venue
- The services that will be provided for spectators inside the competition venue and any restrictions to these
- The arrangements for seating areas within the competition venue
- The process to enter and exit the competition venue, including information on dedicated gates, timed entry by appointment, queuing protocols and controlled exit
- Any considerations or restrictions for spectators with accessibility requirements
- Reminding spectators who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow SD guidance
- Hygiene protocols
- Restrictions for individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance for individuals who have been asked to self-isolate
- Medical facilities and COVID-19 protocols within the competition venue
- Allowed and restricted items, which may differ from previous competition or competition venue protocols
- Advice on public gathering outside of the competition venue (before and after the competition)
- Any wider public health guidance in a spectator’s approach to their whole event day: e.g. in transport choices; in any other business visited such as pubs, restaurants, local shops and consumer services; observation of any wider guidance on the use of face masks which may be appropriate. Competition delivery partners should also consider if there is a requirement to engage spectators in any consultation process before RTCSRS.
As required in Stages Three and Four, the competition delivery partners should appoint a COVID-19 medical officer, who will oversee all medical planning for the competition. For Stage Five, spectator medical requirements should be added, including consideration of:
- Spectator medical operational requirements
- Ambulance provision to comply with Spectator number requirements
- COVID-19 protocols for spectators and the communication of these
- Any requirement for additional isolation rooms
- Screening for spectators before attending the competition venue – this could form part of the spectator code of contact and be reinforced by competition day spectator comms and signage at entrances to the competition venue reminding spectators to stay at home if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms
- PPE requirements
- Hygiene protocols in medical areas
- Minimising burden on the NHS
There is no single approach to regulating competitions and ensuring reasonable safety in relation to COVID-19; however, it is anticipated that competition Organisers will voluntarily reflect the protocols in this guidance within the rules of their competitions and require competition venue operators to confirm their adherence to them.
General Health and Safety requirements
The admission of spectators will introduce additional requirements on venue operators contained within the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to reduce workplace health and safety risks, including those associated with potential COVID-19 exposure, ‘as far as reasonably practical’ for all those using the competition venue. Enforcement of health and safety law rests primarily with Local Authorities, with Health and Safety Executive enforcement action focused on higher risk workplaces.
General Safety Certificates
The admission of spectators will in many cases also introduce additional requirements contained within the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 through powers conferred by the Secretary of State on Local Authorities. This places an obligation on Local Authorities to issue a General Safety Certificate to designated sports grounds with potential capacities (that is, before any reduction to take account of SD) of more than 10,000, or more than 5,000 in the case of Premier (PL) and English Football League (EFL) grounds.
General Safety Certificates will contain a number of conditions that are framed around the admission of spectators, including the safe capacity of the competition venue, and may require significant amendment. Discretion rests with the local authority to include such terms and conditions in the General Safety Certificate as necessary or expedient to ensure reasonable safety at the competition venue, which could include conditions in relation to this guidance. For competition venues subject to General Safety Certificates, it will therefore be critical for competition venue operators to consult their certifying authority at the earliest opportunity to determine what amendments to the General Safety Certificate will be required.
The Operations Manual appended to the General Safety Certificate should provide more detail on arrangements for making the competition venue COVID-19 secure and will cover other non COVID-19 risks which will need to be revised in line with the new operating plans.
Powers vested in Local Authorities also extend to the closure of competition venues under emergency conditions when matters of safety give cause for concern. Local authorities also have a power of entry to competition venues which are subject to safety certification which may need to be factored into any planning.