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Covid-19

Bowls is back!

Please see the news release for details. All the relevant documents are available at the bottom of this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

On the 11th June 2020 The Department of Sport issued directives on what they have determined to be acceptable health and safety protocols that need to be in place at any venue where sport is to be practiced or played under the control measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Bowls South Africa (BSA) submitted a risk management proposal to the Department of Sport, Art and Culture (DSAC) which is based on those health and safety protocols as issued by that Department.

Subsequent to this document being made available to all members there have been numerous requests for clarity on some of the matters contained therein. To this end BSA has published a document which answers common questions that have been asked and has some guidance on other issues around COVID-19.

The main points are summarised here for ease of use.

Maximising Personal Protection

On 7 January 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus is characterised by a fatty layer on the outside and the use of soap and household disinfectants has the ability to break down this fatty layer.

Current evidence indicates that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through close contact with respiratory droplets which occur as a consequence of coughing or sneezing. Further transmission can take place as a consequence of droplets landing on objects and surfaces and then through contact with such objects or surfaces.

With regard to surfaces there is apparently no empirical proof that anyone has contacted the virus from packaging but this possibility cannot be overlooked. Surfaces and objects that are more frequently handled pose, potentially, a greater risk. Similarly it is believed that food does not transmit the virus because the virus primarily affects the respiratory organs. In a recently published study of the ability of the virus to survive on different types of packaging it was established that under controlled conditions the virus survived up to four hours on copper, up to twenty-four hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The study also found that if the humidity in the air is less than forty percent the virus will not survive as long. What is important to understand is that the virus cannot expand outside of itself on different surfaces so over time and of course assuming no further infection by outside agencies whatever the number of viruses present on any surface will either decrease or remain the same.

Currently there is no substantive proof as to how the virus fares under different climatic conditions. Based on studies done on similar virus’s refrigeration and freezing could prolong their active cycle. Additionally the virus apparently does not do well under high temperatures of roughly 30 degrees Celsius and above. This does not mean one can relax when you are exposed to higher temperatures vigilance and protective behaviour should always be practiced.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and as accepted by the government the minimum acceptable distance between two persons is six feet which has been accepted as two meters. This is best practically demonstrated by each person extending their arms horizontally to shoulder height so that the ends of their hands barely touch each other.

The minimum requirement of any face mask is that it must cover both the mouth and nose.

As a minimum the CDC suggests using two layers of tightly woven 100 percent cotton fabric such as quilter’s material or bedsheets with a high thread count folded in multiple layers.

Thicker, high-grade cotton masks are usually better at filtering small particles. However, stay away from materials that are too thick.

Full face plastic shields are also considered as acceptable for protection.

Some hints on the use of masks:

  • Before putting on a mask, clean your hands well with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
  • Cover the mouth and nose with your mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it and, if you do, wash your hands.
  • Replace the mask when it is damp.
  • To remove your mask, take it off using the elastic tags, without touching the front and discard immediately into a closed bin or, if the mask is reusable, directly into the washing machine

Face masks are not a guarantee that you won’t come into contact with COVID-19 droplets but it does certainly help minimise the risk. This is even more applicable in an environment where everyone is wearing a face mask.

Research show that gloves offer a “false sense of security”. Gloves are simply an extension of your hand and you will touch surfaces and then touch other objects in the same way as you would with your bare hand and hence should you be touching an infected surface the ability to transfer this is the same whether you use your bare hands or a gloved hand.

As discussed above the main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing or sneezing.

The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available on the websites and social media of the national Department of Health (www.health.gov.za), National Institute for Communicable Diseases. BSA website also has a dedicated link allowing you to access all this information.

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol based hand sanitiser. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain social distance of at least one meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing ideally walk away and avoid such contact. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain a virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Bear in mind that people that who do not necessarily display symptoms associated with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic and quite capable of transmitting the virus.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health facility. The national and provincial Departments of Health will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Most common symptoms

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness

 

Less common symptoms

  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • A rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

 

Serious symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Loss of speech or movement

Please seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility.

People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.

On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.

The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather.

An adult is typically considered feverish if their measured temperature is above 37.8°C.

Screening is a way to do a quick assessment if you may exhibit symptoms that could indicate whether you have COVID-19 or not. The designated person will scan your forehead to take your temperature.

When booking you may be asked the following questions which you must answer honestly

  • Have travelled to a high risk country in the last 14 days?
  • Have had contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
  • Do you have symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty in breathing?

Comorbidity and comorbid conditions refer to one or more diseases, or conditions, that occur along with another condition in the same person at the same time. Examples of this are:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes including type 1 or type 2
  • Cardiovascular disease including hypertension.
  • Severe obesity
  • Chronic lung disease

Returning to Play

Permission has been granted by the Minister for the following:

  • Level 3 – Singles and pairs allowed
  • Level 2 – Singles, pairs and trips allowed
  • Level 1 – All formats permitted

 

Greens in South Africa vary in dimension from 35 sq.mts. up to 40 sq.mts and the width of rinks can vary between 4.3 and 5.8 meters. Clubs may use up to 6 rinks per Green subject to the Club Executive being satisfied that that they comply with social distancing requirements.

Under the Level 2 regulations, competitive play is allowed and competitions may be played. Tabs in are not allowed.

Firstly we need to understand why there is a booking system in place and the reason for that is twofold:

  • No person should be able to arrive at the club and simply go to the green and play without having booked a time. The reason being is that we do not want to create a scenario were people gather without purpose.
  • The booking sheet will serve as a record as to who exactly has used the facility on a particular day. This will provide the authorities with the necessary tracking base with which to identify people who may have had contact with any person who has COVID-19 symptoms and has been at the club.

The authorities have made it very clear that they will be sending duly authorised people to visit sports venues and you can rest assured that one of the first things they will ask for is sight of the register of attendees.

Each club is responsible for ensuring compliance with this and are encouraged as far as practically possible to facilitate this process as remotely as possible.

As per the submission to the government the following details must be available:

  • Full names
  • Phone contact number
  • Email address (if you have one)
  • Residential address
  • Alternate contact person
  • Confirmation that you do not display symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus
  • Name of Club
  • Date

Should you avail yourself of the BSA booking system the above details are recorded in the database and it will suffice to enter your BSA number. You do not have to use the BSA booking system.

No water dispensers may be provided by the club under any conditions and Bowlers may not share any of their refreshments with any other person.

Clubs may serve refreshments provided they are complying with the published regulation for restaurants and other catering concerns.

Coaching on a one on one basis is allowed provide the proper social distancing protocols are in place. The limits on numbers will be adjusted according to the regulations in place from time to time.

Only spray may be used.
Chalk may not be used.

BSA is fully aware of the age demographics of our sport and any age restriction placed on our sport will be to the detriment to the vast majority of our members. With this in mind in our representation to the government we did not mention any age                  criteria and await their response and until such time that they specifically make restrictions on an age basis we will allow all members to practice irrespective of their age.

It is well documented that people of a certain age group and those with one or more comorbidity are the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and our plea to each and every one is to take your personal circumstances into account before you venture out into an environment that could be to detriment of your own health.

You are not allowed to have anyone accompany you to the venue. Under the Level 2 regulations, spectators are specifically prohibited from attending any sporting event.

According to government guidelines only sanitising agents that contain a minimum of Seventy percent (70%) alcohol are acceptable and must meet the standard prescribed by the Department of Health?

The maximum number of people allowed under the roof of a Clubhouse is 50, but this does depend on having adequate space to allow for social distancing. If your Club has a smaller area then this number may be lower.

The maximum number of people allowed on a Green is 36 - i.e. 6 rinks of Triples.

It is the responsibility of each club to ensure that all contact points are regularly sanitised.

It has been determined that under controlled conditions the virus survived up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

The virus however cannot thrive on different surfaces. Viruses in general cannot multiply outside of their host.

Each club has been issued with the protocols with regard to handling and sanitising these items and part of this will require active participation by persons using the facilities. The jack must be regularly sanitised during the practice session. Likewise mats are to be cleaned with a soft wipe before the start of each end and at the end of the session all the mats must be properly sanitised.  Members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the protocols.

Diluted household bleach solutions that are available at supermarkets are suitable for use as sterilisation agent.  As most of these are primarily chlorine based they should only be used if appropriate for the surface.

Take note of the following when using bleach:

  • Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.
  • To make a bleach solution use as per instructions but generally 150ml of concentration should be diluted with 1000ml of water. Please note these are guidelines and each batch prepared should be done in terms of the guidelines given by the manufacturer.
  • Make dilute bleach solution as needed and use it within 24 hours, as its disinfecting ability fades with time.
  • Non-porous items like jacks can be immersed in bleach for 30 seconds.
  • Roughly one minute exposure time is needed to sterilise and kill the virus. It is also recommended that cold or tepid water is used to mix the solution as chlorine can lose its effectiveness if exposed to high temperatures.

Some examples of bleach are:

  • Jik
  • Clean day and
  • Clorox

Alcohol in many forms, including rubbing alcohol and commercially alcohol based sanitisers can be effective for killing many pathogens.

Hydrogen peroxide is typically sold in concentrations of about 3%. It can be used as is, or diluted to 0.5% concentration for effective use against coronaviruses on surfaces. It should be left on surfaces for one minute before wiping.

It must be understood that there is a basic difference between chlorine and bleach in that chlorine is a natural element, while bleach is a solution of many elements normally including chlorine.

Sterilisation agents that are chlorine based should not be used on the greens. When sanitizing mats, jacks etc. this must be done well away from the playing surface.

Players who in the process of sanitizing equipment expose their hands to the liquid should clean their hands with water before returning to the playing surface.

Good practice would be to provide a bucket or similar object for sterilisation purposes together with a bucket containing water so that players can rinse their hands after using the sterilisation agent.

An alternative would be to place a plastic sheet on the area not being used on the green.

Whatever process you implement please be careful that the greens are not affected by spill.

A poster has been developed and is available for clubs to download and print according the quantities that each club may require.

In our presentation to the Minister one of the areas we agreed to implement was having posters available. The bottom line is that either those posters as prepared by BSA or those prepared by the club must be put up in prominent places throughout the club.

Require Assistance?

Should any WP Club need any clarity on the regulations, etc. please don’t hesitate to contact Graeme Kemp on 078 792 8438 or at the office.