HM Government announced on 23rd June that it will be relaxing the social distancing requirements with effect from 4th July. A number of clubs and other chess organisers have asked the ECF whether they will be able to re-open on 4th July, given that social distancing requirements are due to be relaxed on that date.
HM Government have recently issued advice in respect of community facilities here. Although not necessarily applicable to all the types of premises that chess clubs use, the advice gives a good idea of what is generally expected. Compliance with the guidance is likely to be onerous, and the ECF advises all chess clubs that are considering re-opening to read the advice carefully and consider whether they are in a position to comply with it. Ability to comply with the guidance may (or may not) have a significant effect on clubs’ ability to start up again depending the nature of the premises they use.
If clubs are thinking about re-opening, the ECF strongly recommends that they should first do a risk assessment. To help with this the ECF is making available to clubs a comprehensive risk assessment document [links below, Word and PDF] based on what the English Bridge Union has developed and which the ECF has been given permission to adapt for chess clubs. Going through this document methodically should highlight the various things that need to be considered in preparation for re-opening when the time is right.
In summary, in the ECF’s opinion the issue is less when chess clubs can re-open and more when and in what way the premises they use can re-open, and whether chess clubs consider that they are able to comply with HM Government’s guidance if they are minded to re-open. Given the nature of the HM Government guidance, and because each club’s circumstances are different, the ECF is unable to provide general advice, and each club needs to make its own decision in the light of the information above. In these uncertain times clubs need to keep a close eye on further HM Government announcements and also liaise closely with their venues.