Monday 23rd of March, 2020

Dear Bowls Victoria Members,

Firstly, I hope you’re all keeping well and safe.

These are challenging times, uncertain times, worrying times. As an industry and a community of bowlers, we need to do everything we can to stick together and support each other through this.

The most important thing you can do is to look after your mates. Ordinarily, we would check in on our mates at the club when we see them regularly. Given we can’t currently do that due to the Government-imposed restrictions, we need to all find ways to call our mates and check how they are going. I encourage all of you to make a list of people to call and make some calls each day.

For those that aren’t aware, the Federal and State Governments have declared that all clubs and bars should be closed as of midday Monday 23rd March 2020 until mid-April or further advised by the relevant government authorities. That will have an enormous impact on our sport, our clubs, our people, our volunteers and employees.

Several clubs have asked whether greens should continue to be kept maintained. Given the uncertainty as to the timeframe, balanced with the reduction in play, Bowls Victoria encourages clubs to do enough to keep greens in condition, without keeping them at their usual standard during the season. For clubs with a paid greenkeeper, please carefully consider their contract(s) and/or employment law for guidance.

We have had some calls this morning regarding affiliation fees for the next season. At this stage it is too early to tell if the upcoming season will be impacted and as such have not made any change to the usual affiliation fee structure and/or collection timeframe. For budgeting purposes, it would be prudent to work on last years’ fees plus 1.5%. We are hopeful that clubs will be back up and running before too long and that there will be no impact on next season.

We are also chasing advice from Government regarding not-for-profit clubs and any potential assistance that might be available, similar to the stimulus package provided to Small Business.

Competitions and matches should not be played at this time as a result of the advice of Bowls Australia and Bowls Victoria. However, roll-ups (individual practice) is permitted, provided strict hand hygiene is adhered to along with the government’s social distancing requirements.

I wish we weren’t in the situation we are in. I long for the days where we could play bowls and socialise at the bowls club without having to worry about the impacts of this disease. But it is the reality, and we all need to adapt.

As Covid-19 remains a rapidly changing and evolving global situation, BV will continue to work with relevant government authorities and will provide the Bowls community with new and updated information as it comes to hand.

We are determined to be part of the whole-of-community response to slow the spread of this virus and safeguard the health and wellbeing of bowls community – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope during this difficult period.

We will get through this together – but we all need to help our mates. Please help yours.

Tony Sherwill
Chief Execultive Officer
Bowls Victoria