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Getting Back to Squash: WSF Announces Recommendations for Squash Post-COVID-19

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Preamble

This document is the World Squash Federation’s recommendations for squash to restart following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recommendations included are not intended to substitute professional medical advice or guidelines set out by local or national authorities. This document is designed to assist with planning for the restart of squash and help federations and clubs be prepared to reopen once instructed by the relevant authority.

The three key aims

  1. Prepare clubs to reopen safely for non-competitive play as soon as permitted
  2. Assist with the reintegration of squash coaching
  3. Share useful resources and good practice from federation to federation

Key guidelines expected to remain in place throughout the reopening of squash clubs

  • Always keep 2 metres away from other people
  • Consider designated times for vulnerable individuals allowing a maximum of half the usual number allowed into the club at one time. in the club. No players to be in the club at this designated time.
  • If you or someone you live with have symptoms of coronavirus, stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. Do not come to the courts if feeling ill at all, whatever the symptoms

Key points and organisations to consider before restarting squash

  • Government rules and regulations
  • Medical advice released nationally
  • National or local sports organisation resources

Pre-phase one

  • Ensure a plan is in place before the reopening of squash courts. There will be pressure from members to restart as soon as possible, but clear policies and procedures are essential to ensure a safe restart of squash.
  • Ensure communications go out well in advance to members to encourage them back, re-assure them that safety is paramount and the regulations that will be in place.
  • Appoint a Covid-19 contact to lead the planning of a safe reopening of your squash courts and oversee an action plan. It is important this contact continually reviews processes and  the literature released by the key organisation stated above.
  • Prepare resources to assist with the education of clubs and members based on their individual responsibilities to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
  • Ensure appropriate posters highlighting the rules are positioned at all entry & exit points.
  • Agree how you will deal with players who break the strict policies in place. Players who break the rules should have their club membership suspended/terminated.
  • Reducing the number of social contacts will be essential. Consider the moving of all court booking processes online. Shared documents (such as Google-docs) could be a low-tech solution. This will also act as a log of who has been in the club and aid contact tracing as required.
  • A sign-in sign-out system should be introduced so there is a complete log of who was at the courts or in the club at any one time. This will assist with contract tracing should a member contract Covid-19.It should not be assumed that all members will respect the guideline that they should leave after their game or allotted time at the courts. Quarantine will be required for any close contacts, so need to know who they are.
  • Travel to facilities to be encouraged to be by foot, bike or car (only shared with person from the same household).
  • Hand sanitizer to be put outside every court and at entrance to and exit from the club.

At the club

  • Court time must be booked in advance. Only arrive a maximum of 15 mins before the time.
  • Court times should be scheduled to allow for players to leave 15 mins before next group arrive. Consider parking arrangements, if applicable, to help members social distance on arrival at the club.
  • Designate a waiting area away from the courts for members with 2m distance between each person and a maximum allowed at any one time, to wait if there are already the maximum number of people at the courts.
  • Determine the maximum number of players allowed in the club/ squash area at any one time.
  • If applicable, install screens in front of reception areas to protect staff.
  • Use floor markings to indicate the expected 2 metre gap in spaces where more than 2 people may gather at any one time.
  • Ensure there is a sink with soap and/or hand sanitiser close to the entrance of the club. All players to clean hands thoroughly on arrival and leaving.
  • Implement a policy of one person in the toilet / changing rooms at any one time. For clarity, the changing rooms should not be operational for showering or changing but as toilets only.
  • Toilets should be cleaned hourly. If no staff to clean, then provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray and paper towels so players can take their own safety precautions.
  • Single paper towel dispensers or airflow driers in the toilets
  • Disposal bins should be lined with a plastic bag for easy disposal of rubbish
  • If a cleaning team is not employed full time, provide disinfectant wipes or , disinfectant spray and paper towels (preferably the latter as more environmentally friendly) outside each court for all players to wipe down touch surfaces, such as the door handle, after play.
  • Ensure enough no-touch bins available to dispose of the towels / wipes
  • Hand sanitizers to be available outside every courts as well as disinfectant wipes/ spray with paper towel for players to wipe ball, racket. Players to sanitize their hands after playing before touching any surface. 
  • If there is an area near the courts for socialising, either remove or limit areas to sit near courts. Ensure 2m distance between chairs and only 2/ table. Actively discourage unnecessary socialising. Bars and catering facilities to remain closed in line with government recommendations.
  • Courts to be cleaned on a regular basis. As a minimum, there should be a daily deep clean of the courts.

On-court

  • No handshaking.
  • Use your own water bottle. No sharing, no water fountains.
  • Use your own towel to wipe away sweat. Do not wipe hands on walls!
  • Bring your own ball and racket (no hire/rental allowed).

Potential roadmap for restarting squash

Phase one (a) – limited opening

  • Limit time at the club. Arrive no more than 15 minutes early and leave immediately after playing.
  • No competitive squash competitions permitted. No spectators for any squash.
  • One player per court unless from same household, in which case two to be permitted.
  • The use of changing facilities and showers at the club to be closed.
  • Handwashing stations and toilets to be opened and cleaned regularly. Minimum daily.
  • 15-minute ‘change-over’ buffer to be built into court booking, e.g. 30 minutes of play allowed in 45-minute court booking (or extend booking time to 60 mins)
  • Where possible utilise a one-way system with separate entry and exit points to limit social contact time.
  • Members only to make tracking and tracing simpler.
  • Where possible, doors left open to facilitate ventilation. Be careful, security is also important!
  • All staff should have masks and latex or latex-free rubber gloves. Limit contact time. Work from home unless attendance is required.
  • All clubs should consider the first aid available to players. Encourage members to take small supplies to treat minor injuries and take a phone in case of emergency.

Phase one (b) – limited opening coaching

As above, but 1 to 1 coaching allowed if the 2m distance maintained or coach remains off-court. Consider whether the coach on-court can adhere to government guidelines. 

Phase two (a) – relaxing the conditions

As above unless superseded by below:

  • Two player routines/coaching allowed where social distancing can be maintained (see Swiss link for examples) – no match play or competitions.
  • 45-minute court bookings with reduced buffer to 10 minutes at the end for changeover.
  • Changing rooms and showers opened but cleaned several times a day. Limited numbers in changing rooms and showers to ensure 2m between players. Social distancing to be observed at all times.
  • Catering allowed to open but with takeaway products and contactless payments only.

Phase three

  • Phase three should be based on the successes of phase one and two and aimed at progressively broadening the number and interaction of players.
  • Consider squash ‘bubbles’ where 3-4 players who know each other and know they practice the protection measures of social distancing to play each other but no one else.

Phase four – Fully operational

As above unless superseded by below:

  • Non-members allowed.
  • Match play allowed.
  • Group coaching allowed.
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