New coronavirus restrictions have been announced across the UK – find out what this means for your club

This afternoon a number of tougher coronavirus restrictions have been announced by governments across the United Kingdom. This is as direct result of information presented about a new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus.

I wanted to share with you what this means for our sport as quickly as possible. The key points to note are as follows:

England – American football activity is immediately suspended in new Tier 4 areas for over 18s but activity for under 18s only (including those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020) may continue. Clubs in Tier 4 areas in England should revert to Stage 1 on BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap for adult activity but can continue at Stage 4 for under 18s.

Wales – American football activity for all age groups is suspended with immediate effect. Clubs in Wales should revert to Stage 1 on BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap.

Scotland – All of mainland Scotland will be placed in Level 4 restrictions with effect from 26 December. Stage 4 of BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap has now been approved in Scotland and includes sportscotland permission for socially distanced team activity only in Level 4.

Below is a more detailed breakdown of information for England, Wales and Scotland.

We will continue to keep you updated as restrictions are reviewed, and as we receive more information from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).  But, to set your expectations, it is fair to assume this will delay our plans to move to Stage 5 of our Return to Play plan.

For now, please make sure you follow your nation’s guidance in order to keep yourself and your loved ones safe as we hit another challenging stage of this relentless pandemic.

Pete

England
New Tier 4 areas with tougher restrictions similar to those in the last national lockdown in November will be introduced from midnight tonight in areas across the south and east of England previously designated as Tier 3.

BAFA has taken the decision to immediately suspend all adult American football activity for over 18s in areas with the new Tier 4 designation. Clubs in Tier 4 areas should revert to Stage 1 on BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap. Activity for under 18s only (including those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020) may continue. Clubs in Tier 4 areas in England should revert to Stage 1 on BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap for adult activity but can continue at Stage 4 for under 18s.

BAFA members in Tier 4 areas must not travel outside of their area to a tier with lower restrictions for the purposes of participating in American football activity.

American football activity can still take place in Tier 1-3 areas, but BAFA members in Tier 3 areas are reminded that they also must not travel outside of their area to a tier with lower restrictions or into Tier 4 for the purposes of participating in American football activity.  Those in Tier 1 – 2 areas are also reminded they should not travel to areas with higher restrictions for the purposes of participating in American football activity.

The Tier 3 areas changing to Tier 4 from midnight tonight are:

  • Greater London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
  • Kent
  • Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey (excluding Waverley)
  • Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth
  • Rother and Hastings
  • Bedfordshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
  • Peterborough

Wales
Planned Alert level 4 ‘stay at home’ restrictions for Wales have been brought forward and now come into effect from midnight tonight.

Restrictions at this level are equivalent to the recent firebreak regulations, meaning significant changes for sport and leisure. Organised outdoor and indoor sporting activity is not permitted for any age group. Clubs in Wales should revert to Stage 1 on BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap.

Scotland
This afternoon the Scottish Government announced that all of mainland Scotland faces a return to Level 4 restrictions from Boxing Day. Restrictions will initially last for three weeks. Cross-border travel has been banned and it will also be against the law to travel outside local council areas – except for essential reasons.

We had only just received approval from sportscotland for Stage 4 of BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap, which now applies with immediate effect. This also includes permission for some socially distanced team activities which will hopefully be welcomed following today’s news.

We appreciate that many facilities may close during the period of higher restrictions, however, where possible, BAFA Stage 4 guidance for Scotland allows participants in Level 4 areas to participate in socially distanced training activities organised by their club in a team setting of up to 30 participants. Permissions for a ‘field of play bubble’ are suspended, and participants must be 2m distanced at all times passing activities involving the transfer of a ball between participants are permitted with regular cleaning protocols in place.

Amendments to the guidance for Stage 4 have been highlighted in yellow, and I encourage all of our clubs in Scotland to read them before undertaking any new activity. We have also updated our protection levels activity guide for Scotland, to highlight what’s now permitted in each level of the Scottish Government strategic framework.

Got any questions?
Contact covid-19@britishamericanfootball.org

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