As restrictions from COVID-19 ease, the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing advised all peak sporting and recreation bodies of the requirement to submit a plan for resumption of activities, which adhered to the national and state regulations. The formal, approved plan for walking is below. The key points are to:
- Maintain walking groups of 10 or fewer
- Maintain physical distance and hygiene practices
- Avoid sharing equipment
Covid-19: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B
This plan for walking clubs has been formulated in accordance with, and is effective immediately:
- National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities [PDF]
- Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment [PDF]
South Australian Restrictions
- Emergency Management (Non-Essential Business and Other Activities No 4) (COVID-19) Direction 2020and
- Emergency Management (Gatherings No 2) (COVID-19) Direction 2020
The resumption of walking activities can contribute many health, economic, social and cultural benefits to Australian society emerging from the COVID-19 environment and international evidence to-date is suggestive that outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission.
The resumption of activities should not compromise the health of individuals or the community and will be based on objective health information to ensure activities are conducted safely and do not risk increased COVID-19 local transmission rates.
During Level B restrictions, walking club activities will be restricted to groups of 10 or fewer. Moving to the next stage of restrictions (Level C) will be dependent upon National, State/Territory and/or Local Public Health Authority guidance. Importantly, resumption of walking club activities may be non-linear. Increasing restrictions may be required in response to fluctuating numbers of COVID-19 cases. All organisations need to be flexible to accommodate and respond to changes in community transmission rates and the associated changes in advice from Public Health Authorities.
At all times walking clubs must respond to the directives of Public Health Authorities. Localised outbreaks may require organisations to again restrict activity and those organisations must be ready to respond accordingly. The detection of a positive COVID-19 case in a sporting or recreation club or organisation will result in a standard public health response, which could include quarantine of the group, and close contacts, for the required period. Due to the risks associated with large gatherings all walking club activities should limit those present to the minimum required to support the participants. All meeting venues should be assessed to ensure precautions are taken to minimise risk to those participating by accommodating social distancing requirements. Ideally, meeting points should be outside at the walk location and walk routes should favour loops or ‘there and back’ to avoid car-shuffles, noting many cars would not meet distancing requirements. Some walking clubs meet indoors prior to commencing walks or finish their walks with a social activity indoors. As recommended by the national guidelines, the current approach to club activities should focus on ‘get in, walk, get out’, minimising unnecessary contact in bathrooms and indoor areas. During Level B restrictions, walk leaders should choose clearly marked walking trails to minimise the likelihood of any first aid contact being required. Ensure club safety protocols are in place, including a communication plan for each activity undertaken (e.g. mobile phones are carried, and numbers exchanged). Clubs and individuals should apply a graded return to mitigate injury risk, understanding that sudden increase in training load will predispose to injury.
All walks should be conducted with the social distancing and other requirements in place at the time, ensuring no contact between participants. This includes:
- 1.5 metre minimum distance between participants
- 4m2 minimum area per person
- No single gathering shall exceed 10 people
For these purposes, a walk conducted by a club or involving club members is considered a gathering. Walks involving more than one club should not be held unless the total number attending is fewer than 10. Where a walking group exceeds 10 people, the walk should be split into 2 or more separate groups so that none exceed 10 people. If there is a possibility the number of people attending a walk will exceed 10, the leader should organise additional leaders for the separate groups. Where the groups intend to follow the same route, the leader of each following group must ensure that the group does not overlap or merge with the group ahead.
The configuration of each group shall not change during the walk. Except as necessary to deal with an emergency, participants should not move into a different group part way through the walk. Where possible, the walk participants should register with the walk leader before commencing. A simple record of all participants in each walk should be kept for at least 2 months to assist with contact tracing in the event a participant becomes unwell.
Steps for clubs to take prior to recommencing activities:
- Provide advice to all participants not to return to club activities if in the last 14 days they have been unwell or had contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19. Any individual with respiratory symptoms (even if mild) should be considered a potential case and must immediately self-isolate, have COVID-19 excluded and be medically cleared by a doctor to return to the training environment.
- Create a club-specific protocol for recording walk participants and managing illness or injury (both during walks and if alerted to a participant’s illness after a club activity). Special consideration should be made for any participants with medical conditions as they may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
- Have cleaning protocols in place for any equipment and facilities utilised.
- If relevant, provide hand hygiene (hand sanitisers) on entry and exit to meeting venues
- Advise walk leaders to plan walks based upon the guidelines contained within this plan.
- Communicate this plan (and any club-specific steps) to all club members.
Steps for all club members:
- Apply personal hygiene (wash hands or use hand sanitisers) pre and post activities. Consider bringing hand-sanitizer for personal use.
- Do not share drink bottles, food, cups, plates, or any utensils for cooking, eating or drinking, or other personal items.
- Do not attend any walks or activities if unwell (contact doctor).
- Spitting and clearing of nasal/respiratory secretions while walking must be strongly discouraged.
- Thorough full body shower with soap before and after walking club activities (at home).
- No socialising or group meal.