Covid-19 Guidance (England Only) - British Gymnastics

Covid-19 Guidance (England Only)

UPDATED: Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 2.55pm – changes to self-isolation requirements. 

We're working hard to ensure this page is kept up-to-date with changes to government legislation, advice and guidance. Information available from the Government can be updated and changed at short notice so please check the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support - GOV.UK website for the most up to date announcements 

This guidance explains the actions gymnastics clubs and providers in England should take to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their environment. 

The FAQ’s have been updated based on the current guidance available from the UK Government and the Department for Education’s Actions for Out of Schools Settings. Please note the DCMS guidance is continually evolving and is subject to change. Our guidance and FAQ’s will be updated accordingly as more specific information becomes available. 

The Government have confirmed that England will move to ‘Plan B’ of the COVID-19 Autumn/Winter Plan, in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. This includes: 

From Friday 10th December, face coverings will be legally required in most public indoor venues. 
From Monday 13th December, office workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go to the workplace. 
From Wednesday 15th December, certain businesses and some events are required by law to check the COVID status of workers and customers, using the NHS COVID Pass. This includes unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees. To enter or work in these venues and events, customers and workers must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative in the last 48 hours (unless they are exempt from these requirements). 

There may be other changes which affect some organisations. Read the guidance on how to stay safe for more information. 

COVID-19 remains a risk, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. We are all responsible for taking action to reduce the risks and should follow the below guidance to stay safe and protect others. 

Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business, by carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment and taking reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify.

Click here for general COVID-19 guidance
COVID-19 remains a risk, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others. All of us can play our part by understanding the situations where risks of COVID-19 infection and transmission are likely to be higher, and taking action to reduce these risks. Following this guidance will help you to understand situations where there is a greater risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and the steps that you can take to stay safe and protect others. Every action you can take to help reduce the spread will help reduce pressure on the NHS during the winter months. 

All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance

Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. The working safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including: 

identifying poorly ventilated areas in the venue, and taking steps to improve air flow in these areas 
ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue 
providing hand sanitiser to enable staff and customers to clean their hands more frequently, and cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly 
communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place 

Settings in which face coverings are required must display signage or take other measures to ensure customers are aware of the requirement to wear a face covering on their premises where there is no applicable exemption or reasonable excuse. 

Businesses are also encouraged to continue displaying NHS QR codes for attendees wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app so they are alerted if there’s an outbreak and can take action to protect others. 

The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish. The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities.  In general, the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher: 

in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious 
in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air 

The risk is greatest where these factors overlap, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices. British Gymnastics encourages gymnastics providers to continually review and update their risk assessments, and consider the following: 

limiting close contact within the venue where possible 
implementing capacity restrictions and/or social distancing for areas which are prone to crowding or poorly ventilated 
continuing to minimise the number of close contacts coaches and gymnasts have 
where the wearing of a mask/face covering may be appropriate throughout the facility, including during coach contact activities 
any requirements for staff, volunteers, visitors and customers to be regularly tested such as Lateral Flow Testing before attending 
still displaying a QR code for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 App, or having a process in place to collect contact details for parents spectating or visitors at the venue (especially for drop in/pay and play/free roam • sessions where a register may not be in place.)  

While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. It is important to regularly review and update current operating procedures and risk assessments, in line with changes to legal requirements and government guidance. Any amendments to your current processes and procedures should be carefully planned and take into account the need to consult and communicate with staff and members. When preparing and implementing your revised normal operating procedures you should consider: 

How you are going to regularly review the control measures in place, and who needs to be involved 
How you can respond to any changes in legislation and/or government guidance and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented 
How, what and when you are going to consult and communicate with staff and members 
Those that are more apprehensive and may wish to take a more cautious approach, putting adaptations in place and providing the opportunity and space for them to feel safe 
New information, signage and/or videos for any updated processes 
Providing clear descriptions for any changes, not everybody will be aware of what was in place before  
Updating your procedures on what to do if a gymnast, staff or visitor develops symptoms while at your venue 
Any extra precautions needed for those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) (CEV Guidance
Contingency plans for if there is limited staff availability due to positive cases 

Your legal duty of care is to try to ensure the environment is safe for those who attend your gym. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that your gymnasts, staff and visitors will be safe whilst attending for the purpose of their visit. You will need to regularly review and update your risk assessments, treating them as ‘live documents’, as the circumstances in your setting and the public health advice changes. Following this guidance will help you stay safe and protect others by controlling the spread.

FAQs

Please note the British Gymnastics Offices will be closed from Thursday 23rd December 4pm to Tuesday 4th January at 9.15am. This page may not get updated during this time with any changes so please consult the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support - GOV.UK website for the most up-to-date information.

Following the Government announcement on 8th December, the FAQ's below have been updated to reflect new legislation and guidance. References to step 4 roadmap have been removed. 
15/12/2021 - When will gymnasts and coaches be required to self-isolate?
For the most up-to-date information on self-isolation, please check the government’s website: NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted - GOV.UK.

It is still law to self-isolate if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

If someone from your gym develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if their symptoms are mild. They should self-isolate at home while they book a test and wait for the results. They must self-isolate if they test positive. The isolation period includes the day the symptoms started (or the day the test was taken if they do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This is the law.

When self-isolating, follow the stay-at-home guidance. This will help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other members of their household and community. You must stay at home at all times and not have contact with other people. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following notification by NHS Test & Trace.

Self-isolation exemptions
Individuals are not legally required to self-isolate if they are notified they have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

They’re fully vaccinated
They’re below the age of 18 years and 6 months
They’ve taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
They’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

If they are aged 5 years and over and have been identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19, but are not legally required to self-isolate, they are strongly advised to:

take a rapid lateral flow device (LFD) test every day for 7 days, or until 10 days since their last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier
take this daily LFD test before they leave the household for the first time that day

If they take an LFD test and the result is positive, they should immediately self-isolate to prevent them from passing the infection on to other people. They should arrange to have a PCR test. If this PCR test result is positive, they must self-isolate for 10 full days starting from the date the PCR test was taken. If this PCR test result is negative, they can stop self-isolating but they should continue to take their daily LFD tests.

NHS Test and Trace will contact them to let them know that they have been identified as a contact and check whether they are legally required to self-isolate. If they are not legally required to self-isolate they will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Even if they do not have symptoms, they will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible.

Even if they are vaccinated, they can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If they are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 but they are not required to self-isolate, they can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.

If someone develop symptoms at any time, even if these are mild, they should self-isolate immediately, arrange to have a COVID-19 PCR test and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

For more information please click here: Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Gyms should ensure they have procedures in place for what to do if a gymnast, staff or visitor develops symptoms while at their venue and have contingency plans for if there is limited staff available due to positive cases amongst the workforce.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements for masks/face coverings?
From the 30th November, face coverings are legally required in some settings, see here for more information.

Gyms, exercise facilities (including dance studios) and leisure centres are exempt from wearing a face covering.

While not mandatory, the government encourages you to continue to wear a face covering in indoor places, which are crowded and enclosed and where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Therefore, gyms should consider as part of their COVID-19 risk assessment where the wearing of a mask/face covering may be appropriate throughout the facility, including during coach contact activities.

It is a legal requirement for face coverings to be worn in community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs, however, face coverings are not required in parts of a premises where the main activity is exercising. Therefore, if your gym hires a space in one of the settings above, you will be required to wear a face covering in other areas of these environments, when not taking part in exercise/physical activity.

Some people, including children under 11, are exempt from having to wear face coverings in any setting. For more information on exemptions please click here.

Gymnasts: Both British Gymnastics and the government do not recommend the use of masks/face coverings during sports activities. All forms of face coverings may restrict breathing efficiency and should not be used during exercise except on specific advice from a physician. Gymnasts may choose to wear masks whilst not on apparatus, between time on apparatus, if they so wish, but masks should not be worn whilst on equipment or performing any form of gymnastics elements, including warmups/cool downs.

Preschool (Free Roam) and Indoor Play Areas for children:
It is a legal requirement for a face covering to be worn in indoor play centres, and areas including soft play.

For sessions where children under 5 and adults have free movement of the gymnastics space, it is now mandatory for adults (11+), who are not exempt, to wear a face covering during these sessions when not involved in strenuous activity/exercise.

These types of drop in/pay and play/free roam sessions do not meet the definition for supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s and therefore should refer to BALPPA for more information. This includes any indoor play areas such as structures such as indoor play frames, dedicated soft play areas, or any unsupervised play activity. 

It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this, and provide the opportunity and space for others to feel safe.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements for gymnastics events and competitions?
Gymnastics events and competitions (including inter club training/regional squad sessions) can take place, and there’s currently no requirements for capacity restrictions, social distancing, or legal gathering limits for event participants and spectators.

The Return to Events Framework no longer applies, however, you may wish to use this as a guide to support you with planning your event and completion of a COVID-19 Risk Assessment. British Gymnastics encourages event organisers to take a cautious approach and put in place reasonable mitigations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Organisers running inter club training/regional squad sessions should consider contact activities as part of their COVID-19 Risk Assessment and put appropriate measures in place. Please see the Return to Coach Contact (RTCC) RTCC and Team Sport Framework (TSF) FAQs for more information.

If hiring a space to run an event, it is essential that organisers work in collaboration with venue management to ensure that appropriate safeguards and control measures can be agreed and implemented.

Clubs and/or regional associations wishing to run a gymnastics competition/event, (including inter club training/regional squad sessions) still have a legal duty to manage risks for those attending their event by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Organisers should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.

Organisers should review the guidance for events and attractions, which sets out advice on the risks you should take into account when managing events, along with options for managing and reducing these risks.

The DCMS’s Guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) measures for grassroots sport participants, providers and facility operators should also be consulted when planning an event.

NHS COVID PASS:
From the 15th December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated (currently a full course of vaccination without the need for a booster, but this will be kept under review), have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or that they have an exemption. This means that those aged 18 years or over must show their NHS COVID Pass, or an alternative proof of a negative test result, such as an email or text proof, to gain entry into these venues.

The use of the NHS COVID Pass is required as a condition of entry into the following places:

indoor events with 500 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions;
outdoor events with 4,000 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals; and
any events with 10,000 or more attendees indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events

There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass including mass participation sporting events.

We are awaiting further information from the government regarding the NHS COVID pass and will update this FAQ shortly.

Where it is not mandatory, the DCMS’ guidance suggests considering the use of the NHS COVID Pass for those over 18 to reduce the risk of transmission as a pre-participation safety measure. The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they are at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity. It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

Children under the age of 18 do not need to show a COVID Pass to get into venues in England. 

Use of the NHS COVID Pass is voluntary for some individual organisations, if using the NHS COVID Pass for an event, you should read the full guidance available here to ensure it is implemented efficiently and that you comply with all relevant legal obligations and guidance, including on equalities.  

It is still important to follow the rest of the guidance and put measures in place, even when using the NHS COVID Pass, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue or event. 
14/12/2021 - Who is required to work from home?
Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday 13th December e.g., club administrators and management. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work - for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in person e.g., coaches/instructors.

If you need to continue to go into work, consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others.

Employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.

For those who are attending their workplace, employers should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance to reduce the risks. Gyms should consider this guidance when preparing their health and safety risk assessments and put in place suitable mitigations.
14/12/2021 - Do we still need to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment?
All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance and DCMS Guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) measures for grassroots sport participants, providers and facility operators.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. The Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations clubs and gymnastics providers should consider including:

identifying poorly ventilated areas in the venue, and taking steps to improve air flow in these areas
ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
providing hand sanitiser to enable staff and customers to clean their hands more frequently, and cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place

The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this, and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish. The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities. In general, the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher:

in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air

The risk is greatest where these factors overlap, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices.

British Gymnastics encourages gymnastics providers to continually review and update their risk assessments, and consider the following:

limiting close contact within the venue where possible
implementing capacity restrictions and/or social distancing for areas which are prone to crowding or poorly ventilated
continuing to minimise the number of close contacts coaches and gymnasts have
where the wearing of a mask/face covering may be appropriate throughout the facility, including during coach contact activities
any requirements for staff, volunteers, visitors and customers to be regularly tested such as Lateral Flow Testing before attending
still displaying a QR code for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 App, or having a process in place to collect contact details for parents spectating or visitors at the venue (especially for drop in/pay and play/free roam sessions where a register may not be in place.)

You will need to regularly review and update your risk assessments, treating them as ‘live documents’, as the circumstances in your setting and the public health advice changes. Following this guidance will help you stay safe and protect others by controlling the spread.
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements for NHS Test and Trace?
For more information regarding the requirements for Test and Trace please go to the following website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

British Gymnastics and the government are encouraging venues to still display a QR code for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, or having a process in place to collect contact details for parents spectating or visitors at the venue (especially for drop in/pay and play/free roam sessions where a register may not be in place.)

Please contact NHS Test and Trace on 119 if you have any questions regarding positive cases at your gym.
14/12/2021 - What precautions should be in place for an accident/incident e.g. first aid?
Those working in sport should familiarise themselves with the guidance for first responders, in case of emergency situations.

If you are required to come into close contact with some one as part of your response to an accident or incident e.g. to provide first aid, you should make sure you are familiar with and understand the steps required to keep you and others safe:

Hand hygiene - Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser after close contact with others and after touching any surfaces in the area you are working in.
PPE - Where it is not possible to limit close contact and you are required to deliver hands on care, the following PPE is recommended:
        • disposable gloves and a disposable plastic apron
        • a fluid resistant surgical face mask (FRSM)
        • If a risk assessment indicates the likelihood of contamination by splashes, droplets of blood or body fluids, use disposable eye protection (such as a face visor or goggles).
        • Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or sanitiser before putting on and after taking off PPE.
        • The safe removal of PPE is a critical consideration to avoid self-contamination. Guidance on correct use of PPE is available. Use and dispose of all PPE according to the instructions and training provided by your employer or organisation.

Physios and other medical personnel should ensure that equipment and surfaces are frequently cleaned and disinfected, and maintain hygiene standards when treating participants.

Where close face-to-face contact is required, medical personnel may decide that they and patients should wear a face covering. This is particularly important when they are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose.

After contact with an injured participant, physios and other medical personnel should clean their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This applies in all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact.

For more information, including guidance around providing CPR to both adults and children please see the COVID-19: guidance for first responders - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements for coach contact (spotting/supporting)?
Spotting and/or supporting during gymnastics sessions is currently permitted. The Return to Coach Contact Framework no longer applies, however, the framework is still available and British Gymnastics encourages gyms to continue with a cautious approach when implementing control measures for contact activities. The framework can be used to help gyms further risk assess contact activities within their sessions and to put reasonable mitigations in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. These could include:

utilising the framework and using a phased approach if not yet returned to contact activities
reviewing and minimising the number of contacts any one coach has
limiting the number of groups or facilities coaches work with
encouraging the wearing of masks/face coverings
continuing to use opt in forms to ensure all returning to contact activities are away of the increased risks and measures in place
regular hand sanitising for coaches/instructors and gymnasts
self screening or lateral flow testing to ensure those with symptoms do not enter the building or perform contact activities
Gymnasts and coaches/instructors being discouraged to touch their face, mouth, nose or eyes and practice good hand hygiene.
Gymnasts and coaches/instructors being discouraged from celebratory touches such as high fives/hand shakes/hugs

It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this, and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - Do we still need to socially distance throughout the gym/during sessions?
Social distancing is currently not a legal requirement. However, British Gymnastics encourages gyms to consider implementing capacity restrictions, social distancing and/or wearing a face covering for areas which are prone to crowding or poorly ventilated. Venues should still consider the flow around the building, taking into account pinch points and areas that may become congested and put in place reasonable mitigations to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Return to Coach Contact (RTCC) and Team Sport Framework (TSF) no longer apply, and as such partner/group work and sharing of hand apparatus/equipment is currently permitted within all types of gymnastics sessions if risk assessed and reasonable mitigations are in place. Gyms should continue to consider the risks of close contact with others and look to minimise the number of close contacts coaches and gymnasts have. More information can be found in the RTCC or TSF FAQs.

It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - Are there any restrictions to venue capacity and/ or group sizes?
There are currently no restrictions on group sizes or maximum occupancy rates in place for any types of sessions, or the requirement for fixed groups or ‘bubbling’.

British Gymnastics encourages gyms to consider implementing capacity restrictions, social distancing and/or wearing a face covering for areas which are prone to crowding or poorly ventilated.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements relating to ventilation?
The government’s Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations clubs and gymnastics providers should consider as part of their COVID-19 Risk Assessment including keeping occupied spaces well ventilated and identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow.

When your gym is in operation, it is important to ensure it is well ventilated and that a comfortable environment is maintained. You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces as part of your risk assessment and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas, giving particular consideration when holding events where spectators are onsite.

If using a mechanical ventilation system this should be adjusted to increase the ventilation rate wherever possible and checked to confirm that normal operation meets current guidance and that only fresh outside air is circulated. If possible, systems should be adjusted to full fresh air. Where mechanical ventilation systems exist, you should ensure that they are maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations.

Opening external windows can improve natural ventilation, and in addition, opening internal doors can also assist with creating a throughput of air. If necessary, external opening doors may also be used (if they are not fire doors and where safe to do so, maintaining safety and safeguarding protocols). You should balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature.

The Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak and CIBSE COVID-19 advice provides more information.
14/12/2021 - How often should equipment be cleaned?
The assessment of cleaning needs and frequency of cleaning for each gym area and the equipment within remains the gym’s individual responsibility based on users, cleaning policy and equipment being used. Cleaning practices must follow the user instructions and the cleaning product directions. Cleaning requirements should be included in the risk assessment. 

Hand sanitisation and stopping those with symptoms entering the venue are important measures to help reduce the risk of transmission.
14/12/2021 - How often should hand sanitisation take place?
Hands touch many surfaces and can become contaminated with viruses, including COVID-19. Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19 and therefore regular hand washing/sanitising should form part of a COVID-19 Risk Assessment.

It is good practice to have hand sanitising processes in place at the gym so that gymnasts and coaches/instructors can keep up good hand hygiene. The number of stations is dependent on the size of your facility and should be assessed within your risk assessment. In smaller facilities, it may be only necessary to have hand sanitising stations at entry and exit points.
14/12/2021 - Are we still required to have a COVID-19 Officer or responsible person?
Each gym should have a competent person who is responsible for ensuring there are measures in place to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 within the gym. This person could be your director, head coach, welfare officer or a dedicated person within the organisation. They do not need to be a Covid-19 officer, they should be responsible for ensuring the risk assessment is carried out and the control measures are in place and being adhered to.
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements for workplace testing?
For the most up to date information regarding workplace testing please see gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
14/12/2021 - Are spectators permitted?
Yes, spectators (parents/carers watching their child’s session), are currently allowed both indoors and outdoors without any restrictions.

British Gymnastics encourages clubs and gymnastics providers to consider as part of their COVID-19 risk assessment the use of capacity limits, social distancing, and/or the wearing of face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces, and areas that are poorly ventilated.

When communicating any changes to your spectator policy within your facility, you may need to provide clear descriptions for any changes and ensure you’re always maintaining a safe and open training environment.

Whilst it is no longer a legal requirement, gyms are encouraged to still display a QR code for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app or have a process in place to collect contact details for parents spectating or visitors at the venue (especially for drop in/pay and play/free roam sessions where a register may not be in place).

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - What requirements are in place for other facilities such as changing rooms/cafés? Can refreshments be consumed during training?
Changing rooms, shower facilities and communal spaces such as areas used for training breaks are currently open.

British Gymnastics encourages clubs and gymnastics providers to consider as part of their COVID-19 risk assessment the use of capacity limits and/or the wearing of masks/face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces, and areas that are poorly ventilated. Other mitigations could include:

Encouraging people to minimise time spent in communal areas.
Staggering break times for individuals and/or groups.
Communicating clearly to members on how they can use the area safely. Ensure that staff and members are aware of the additional risks in these areas.
Take particular care to clean water fountains, and where possible encourage the use of refillable personal bottles or containers. Avoid face-to-tap drinking.
Maximise natural ventilation flows (though opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible) in communal areas, maintaining safety and safeguarding protocols.
Hand sanitiser to be used before and after all breaks in training
Wash or sanitise hands before and after eating
Avoid the sharing of food and drink, including their containers/bottles.
Implement regular cleaning and increased hygiene procedures for communal areas.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.

Facilities that include a shop, café, or provision to sell food and drink, should consult and follow the government guidance on hospitality settings (England).
14/12/2021 - What are the requirements for the Team Sport disciplines and activities?
The Team Sport Framework does not currently apply for the identified disciplines and activities, and as such partner/group work and sharing of hand apparatus/equipment is currently permitted within all types of gymnastics sessions if risk assessed and reasonable mitigations are in place.

The framework is still available and British Gymnastics encourages gyms to continue with a cautious approach when implementing control measures for contact activities. The framework can be used to help gyms further risk assess contact activities within their sessions and to put reasonable mitigations in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. These could include:

utilising the framework and using a phased approach if not yet returned to contact activities
reviewing and minimising the number of contacts any one gymnast has
limiting the changing of partnerships/groups during a session
continuing to use opt in forms to ensure all returning to contact activities are away of the increased risks and measures in place
regular hand sanitising for gymnasts
frequent cleaning of hand apparatus/equipment
controlling the sharing of hand-held equipment between different pairs/groups
use easy to clean equipment such as wooden or plastic equipment
self screening or lateral flow testing to ensure those with symptoms do not enter the building or perform contact activities
Gymnasts and coaches/instructors being discouraged to touch their face, mouth, nose or eyes and practice good hand hygiene.

It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this, and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - Do gyms still need to follow the Foam Pits Guidance?
The foam pits guidance is currently not applicable; however British Gymnastics encourages clubs and providers to review and update their Covid-19 Risk Assessment with appropriate control measures for limiting the spread of the virus when using foam pits. The ‘Reintroduction of foam pits’ guidance will still be available to provide information on possible control measures.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - Can gymnasts work in pairs and or groups and share handheld equipment such as hoops/bean bags?
The Team Sport Framework does not currently apply for the identified disciplines and activities, and as such partner/group work and sharing of hand apparatus/equipment is currently permitted within all types of gymnastics sessions if risk assessed and reasonable mitigations are in place.

Gyms should review their use of hand equipment and toys (preschool/recreational sessions) with the associated cleaning needs and risks according to the materials they are made of and any cleaning related instructions.

It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.

Please see the Team Sport Framework FAQ for more information.
14/12/2021 - Can gymnasts share personal equipment such as handguards and/or chalk?
There are currently no restrictions in place on the sharing of personal equipment, however clubs and gymnastics providers should still consider limiting the sharing of such items where they are not easily cleaned (e.g. hand guards). If sharing personal equipment, appropriate mitigations need to be included in a COVID-19 Risk Assessment, for example: regular hand sanitising, frequent cleaning of equipment.

Gymnasts should continue to refrain from spitting on their hand guards and should use their own water spray.

If allowing personal items to be left in the gym, consider how these could be kept separate from others to help reduce the spread of the virus. Thought should also be given to the cleaning frequency of areas that house personal belongings.

If using communal chalk bowls, this will need to be considered within your COVID-19 Risk Assessment.
14/12/2021 - Can those considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) take part in gymnastics? What considerations should be put in place?
There are currently no additional requirements in place for individuals previously identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV). Those who were previously considered to be CEV are not currently being advised to shield again, however should take advice from their health professional on whether additional precautions are right for them.

Gymnasts who were considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) are currently able to take part in gymnastics sessions. They will be required as a minimum to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, as there is a higher risk of someone considered CEV of becoming seriously ill if they were to catch COVID-19, gymnastics clubs and providers may wish to think carefully about additional precautions and reasonable adjustments that can be put into place. Care should be taken to discuss and communicate with parents/carers and gymnasts on their individual needs. Measures could include:

Limiting close contact with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, particularly in areas where COVID-19 disease levels in the general community are high.
Making sure the space is well ventilated
Considering whether coaches, staff and volunteers have been vaccinated, CEV individuals might want to wait until 14 days after their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
Regular hand washing
Gymnasts and coaches/instructors being discouraged to touch their face, mouth, nose or eyes and practice good hand hygiene.
Continuing to practice social distancing if individuals feel that is right for them
Asking those attending the session to take a lateral flow test beforehand
Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19
Coaches, staff and volunteers to wear a mask/face covering for coach contact activities

It is important to respect and consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.

If parents/carers are concerned about their child’s attendance at gymnastics, they should speak to the welfare officer, manager or coach about their concerns and discuss the measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. They should also discuss other measures that can be put in place to ensure their children can regularly attend.

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - Are children’s birthday parties allowed to run?
Birthday parties are currently allowed to take place. There are currently no capacity, ventilation, social distancing or legal gathering limits that must be adhered to.

Singing and music are currently permitted. Some activities, however, can increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more droplets as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices. The risk is greatest where these factors overlap, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices and exercising. In situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19, clubs and gymnastics providers need to ensure reasonable mitigations are in place through a COVID-19 risk assessment. For example, mitigations could include:

ensuring the space is well ventilated
discouraging shouting or singing loudly
keep any background or accompanying music to levels which do not encourage raising of voices
back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face)
limit the length of singing activity as far as possible

The Return to Coach Contact (RTCC) and Team Sport Frameworks (TSF) no longer apply and manual support, partner work and sharing of equipment is currently permitted within Birthday Parties if risk assessed and reasonable mitigations are in place. Please see the RTCC and TSF FAQ for more information.

Please see the ‘What requirements are in place for other facilities such as changing rooms/cafés? Can refreshments be consumed during training?’ FAQ for more information and possible mitigations regarding the provision of food/refreshments at birthday parties

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.

Preschool (Free Roam) and Indoor Play Areas for children:
It is a legal requirement for a face covering to be worn in indoor play centres, and areas including soft play.

For parties where children under 5 and adults have free movement of the gymnastics space, it is now mandatory for adults (11+), who are not exempt, to wear a face covering when not involved in strenuous activity/exercise. This includes any indoor play areas such as structures such as indoor play frames, dedicated soft play areas, or any unsupervised play activity for all ages. 

Facilities that include a shop, café, or provision to sell food and drink, should consult and follow the government guidance on hospitality settings (England)
14/12/2021 - Can holiday clubs run?
Yes, there are currently no restrictions on the types of sessions that can run. If running holiday clubs, gyms should complete a risk assessment, including identifying the risks for COVID-19 and put in place reasonable mitigations.

The FAQs included on this page provide further information to support with the planning and risk assessing of these sessions.
14/12/2021 - Can singing take place in sessions such as Preschool?
Singing and music are currently permitted. Some activities, however, can increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more droplets as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices. The risk is greatest where these factors overlap, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices and exercising. In situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19, gyms need to ensure reasonable mitigations are in place through a COVID-19 risk assessment. For example, mitigations could include:

ensuring the space is well ventilated
discouraging shouting or singing loudly
keep any background or accompanying music to levels which do not encourage raising of voices
back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face)
limit the length of singing activity as far as possible

Gymnastics providers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the identified risks. Gyms should be prepared to adapt to any changes in restrictions and have a plan in place to respond to any local or national restrictions being implemented. For more information, please see the ‘Covid-19 Risk Assessment FAQ’.
14/12/2021 - Can gymnastics activity take place outdoors?
British Gymnastics endorses and permits activity outdoors as part of its membership benefits.

The permissible insured activity is limited to British Gymnastics endorsed programmes:

GymFIT
Jump into Gymnastics
Proficiency (specifically those made available during lockdown)
FUNdamentals
Activities centred around fitness, conditioning, and flexibility

For a full list of skills permitted outside (including prohibited skills) please see the Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List.

The variables of the environment will determine which skills are appropriate for the session. A thorough risk assessment of the environment and activity should take place before each session, which is clearly communicated with your staff and members. Activity should not include the development of new skills.

Outdoor sessions still require the use of sufficient matting, the approved outdoor activity skills list is based on all outdoor skills taking place on a safely matted surface. Approved hand apparatus (found in the Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List) can be used throughout the session. Regular cleaning of equipment and hand sanitisation must take place as per the gym’s Covid-19 Risk Assessment. Large equipment such as bars, mushrooms, trampettes and beams must not be used.

British Gymnastics gymnast to coach/teacher ratios and safeguarding policies should be adhered to at all times.

Please see here for further guidance on Outdoor Activity and to download a sample risk assessment
14/12/2021 - Can online sessions continue to run?
British Gymnastics Membership includes access to, and fully comprehensive, insurance for British Gymnastics endorsed activity at home and virtual activities based around fitness, conditioning and flexibility.

For information on how to manage and deliver online floor-based activities safely at home please consult the Online activity session guidance.

The Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List outlines approved and prohibited skills for gymnasts at home. The permissible insured ‘at home’ activity is limited to British Gymnastics endorsed programmes: 

GymFIT 
Jump into Gymnastics 
Core Proficiency Awards (specifically those made available during lockdown) 
FUNdamentals 
Activities centred around fitness, conditioning, and flexibility 

When planning your at home sessions and choosing activities and/or skills, please consult the Online Activity Skills List to ensure your delivery is in line with the following categories:

Parent or Carer supervised training
Online live supervised sessions
Online live supervised sessions with competency

#GymnastsatHome activity can be found here.
14/12/2021 - Do gymnasts need British Gymnastics membership to take part in online activity sessions?
All gymnasts must be British Gymnastics registered members to take part in online activity sessions. Those joining the club for the first time are entitled to two free taster sessions and should take out British Gymnastics membership thereafter.
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