BEF COVID-19 update 15/05/20

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issued further guidance on 13th May regarding outdoor facilities, as a follow-on from the government’s revised policy on exercise. This advice permits venues that provide outdoor sports and physical activities to reopen. At present, this applies to facilities in England, but we’re expecting an update from Wales shortly. The guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland remains unchanged.

For the equestrian industry, this includes riding centres, training facilities and venues, cross-country courses, farm rides and the like. Those involved with the facilities should feel adequately prepared to reopen and be confident that they can do so safely for their participants and staff.

Requirements for opening include:

• Any activity should fully align with government guidance regarding public health, social distancing and hygiene

• All attendees can maintain the social distancing standard of two metres

• Good hygiene practice is implemented throughout opening, including hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitizer stations, and regular cleaning

• Anyone involved who is symptomatic or suspects they have been exposed to the virus does not take part and remains at home.

• Participants should be individuals, members of the same household, or two from different households with social distancing at all times. Any coaching activity must be on a one-to-one basis.

• Organisations/venues should publish an action plan detailing their plans to re-open safely and how they’re managing risk

• Organisations/venues should be flexible and able to quickly adapt to any changes in government guidelines

• Car/lorry parking should be conducted to allow adequate social distancing

• Booking and payment should be done online or over the phone to reduce contact

• Indoor areas should remain closed except for access to outdoor facilities and/or toilets. Food and drink outlets should only operate on a take-away basis. It’s our understanding that indoor schools should remain closed.

• Participants should make use of facilities individually, with members of their own household or with one person from an additional household, provided that social distancing is maintained. This could be a coach, trainer or additional participant.

Horses can be transported to venues freely, but anyone involved in helping with the travelling must be from the same household only. This also applies when travelling by car. Where participants are under-18, a parent or guardian may be present for one to one training sessions for safeguarding purposes, but must adhere to social distancing and hygiene requirements. Read more on the government’s guidance for the public on returning to outdoor sport and recreation.

British Equestrian advises any operators looking to open their premises to read the full guidance available:

GOV.UK – guidance for providers of outdoor facilities

Sport & Recreation Alliance facilities guidance

Sport England facilities guidance