Letter from President Laureen

Hi All,

Hope you are all well and practicing keeping COVID safe on the greens and in your daily life.

Given the current positions in Victoria and NSW, we are rapidly approaching the commencement of our season with State Fours on the 1st Nov and Pennant scheduled for Nov 7th for weekend and Nov 10th for Midweek.

A couple of issues have been raised for these games, specifically the number of people who can travel in a car and do we need to wear masks on the green.

Travel: I spoke to Sean at BV last week who told me that BV has been asking for clarification from the State government re how many unrelated people can be in a car and they have been receiving an unclear response. At this moment (Friday 23rd Oct, 3 pm) the advice of BV is two people can be in a car together, the driver and the passenger in the rear diagonal seat, both wearing masks. We will be following this up this week, and there may be changes after Sunday.

Masks when playing: There has been some posts on Facebook and some correspondence circulating which has adopted the definition of bowls as “community sport” and therefore we do not need to wear masks when actually playing but to have them with us for when we leave the green. This interpretation is NOT supported by BV who have had to accept our sport as “nonstrenuous” and therefore we DO need to wear a mask when playing.

This raises problems for clubs and to circumvent this every Club will need to develop a COVID plan for the running of pennant and competitions at your club.

These plans will need to cover all physical distancing requirements, hand sanitizing and equipment sanitizing options, the number of people that can be inside at any one time, cleaning of surfaces around your club, face masks requirements etc.

There are resources available on the BV website for the most up to date requirements and clubs will need to keep up with any changes.

The appointment of a COVID marshal/official for each competition day would help in the streamlining of this process. It is expected that the nominated COVID marshal/official would be treated with the same respect that we expect to be shown to any official.

Our Pennant season in particular will be a very different experience to the past with the Pennant committee introducing many changes to assist in keeping all players safe and well. These changes have been circulated so briefly: 21 ends, played straight through, possible rolling times for starts and breaks and mainly outside socializing at 1.5 m.

On the green all of us will have to remain super conscious of our responsibilities to keep ourselves and others COVID safe. We will have to change some things which for some of us are fairly automatic- Using our feet straightening jacks (can’t believe I wrote that), leaving others bowls alone, using sanitizer frequently if you are handling the jack and mat, keeping 1.5 distancing and probably some we haven’t thought of yet.

There is also the situation with Mansfield and Swanpool being outside of the NSW defined border bubble. The pennant committee has asked for assistance to be given to these clubs if necessary.

I have heard there is a little confusion about when games involving these clubs may be affected. If the fixture requires your club to play Mansfield or Swanpool and you have NSW residents in your side, they are not allowed to go outside the bubble. This game would need to be relocated. If the fixture requires Mansfield or Swanpool players (or anyone else residing outside the bubble) to cross into NSW, they are not eligible for a Border Resident Border Pass and so this game would need to be relocated on the Victorian side of the border.

If you are scheduled to play either club in Victoria with no NSW resident participating, the game would proceed as per the fixture.

If the Border Pass system remains in place, remember that everyone will have to have a Border resident pass and time to get through the NSW checkpoints. Factor this into your travelling plans. (FYI- from the end of the bridge in Yarrawonga to the checkpoint, if the bridge is full, will take approx. 20 minutes)

I hope this clarifies things.

The AGM will be held at Wangaratta on Sunday 8th November at 10.30 am.

Under current restrictions we can have 50 (maybe 70) people outside. We will be going with the outside option unless the weather is very, very unkind. Graham has sent out an email with these details asking you to think about if your club requires two delegates to attend. All clubs have one vote, and without wishing to disenfranchise anyone or even discourage interested people from attending the meeting we will need to have some idea of numbers attending prior to the day. I am anticipating that our further away clubs may feel better having two people attend as travelling companions. Please be prepared to respond promptly with attendees and their details when asked.

Graham also reminded clubs that there is still time for people to think about what they can contribute to the O&M by nominating for the various committees and positions.

It would be remiss of me not to note the exceptional effort put in by your committees from last year who carried on into the next season even when some were considering vacating their positions. Without their efforts we would not have a calendar of State events in place or a Pennant fixture to look forward to playing.

Keep well