Outdoor Activity Guidance - Northern Ireland Only - British Gymnastics

Outdoor Activity Guidance - Northern Ireland Only

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UPDATED: Thursday 14th October 2021

Outdoor sport and physical activity are permitted, including team sport, with no limit on group sizes. There are no longer any limits on the maximum number of participants and/or spectators. To determine the maximum number of people permitted to attend or participate in an outdoor sporting activity/event, the organiser or operator must carry out a risk assessment. Where an outdoor sporting activity/event has 30 people or fewer, a COVID-19 risk assessment does not need to be carried out. 

Where possible groups should remain fixed, and group sizes should be suitably managed for safe outdoor activity, and to reduce the risk of transmission and possible outbreaks within gymnastics. Any changes to group sizes should be informed by reviewing the Covid-19 risk assessment. Mixing of different groups/classes/sessions should be avoided once fixed without suitable control measures in place. Coaches/instructors should also remain with the same group to reduce the risk of transmission.  

Changing rooms (for indoor or outdoor sport) can be used in line with a completed risk assessment. Gyms should avoid or minimise use where possible (for example, by arriving in kit and showering at home) and minimise time spent in the changing area. 

All entrances, exits, car parks etc. should be risk assessed to ensure appropriate control measures can be applied. 

Any behaviour which may encourage the risk of transmission around sports activities, such as car sharing, congregation of people on the side-lines and sporting celebrations, should be avoided.  

Social Distancing: 
There is no longer a requirement to social distance in gymnastics sessions. However, as part of a phased and gradual approach, British Gymnastics encourages clubs and providers to consider planning relaxations to social distancing within sessions cautiously.  

The Return to Coach Contact (RTCC) and Team Sport Framework (TSF) will no longer apply, and as such partner/group work and sharing of hand apparatus/equipment is now 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, reintroducing this in a phased or gradual way.  

Coaches and instructors will still be required to wear a mask/face covering for coach contact activities unless exempt. 

The Return to Coach Contact and Team Sport Framework will remain available so they can be used to help risk assess contact activities and to put reasonable mitigations in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Consultation with your membership should take place to help gain a better understanding of how your staff, parents/carers and gymnasts feel about the restrictions easing. Feedback from the consultation should help inform your risk assessment and the degree of measures required. These should include: 

utilising the frameworks and using a phased approach if not yet returned to contact activities 
minimising the number of contacts any one person has, increasing number or contacts in a careful and steady way 
Where the wearing of a mask/face covering may be appropriate throughout a session/facility (a mask/face covering will still be a requirement for coach contact activities unless exempt) 
limiting the changing of partnerships/groups during a session 
continuing to use opt in forms to ensure all returning to contact activities are aware of the increased risks and measures in place 
regular hand sanitising for coaches/instructors and 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 attend or perform contact activities 
discouraging gymnasts and coaches/instructors to touch their face, mouth, nose or eyes and practice good hand hygiene. 
Avoid 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 Outdoors: 
British Gymnastics endorses activity outdoors for group sessions giving you the opportunity to further connect with your members. 

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

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

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 staff and members. Activity should not include the development of new skills.  

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

Outdoor sessions 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 can be used throughout the session as listed within the Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List. Large equipment such as bars, trampettes, mushrooms and beams must not be used.  

In any coaching session with children, safeguarding policy rules must be followed by ensuring the coach is in sight of another adult who can act in a supervisory capacity. For example, a parent/carer or another coach.  

Risk Assessments 
Whatever the level of activity, correctly assessing the risk is an essential part of the preparation.  

Outdoor activities involve a greater number of variables that increase the risk of the activity and make carrying out effective risk assessments more difficult. This includes weather, ground conditions and other members of the public – all of which are out of the coach’s control. Controlling and mitigating those risk factors is key in delivering safe activity. 

A sample risk assessment form to help with planning, preparation and decision making is available to download below: 
document Outdoor Risk Assessment (1.08 MB)