Update on upcoming lockdown

Whilst we wait for the Government to publish the full details of the legislation of the lockdown, we wanted to share our current understanding of the likely position


Inevitably, there is currently a high degree of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming lockdown. We are liaising, and will continue to do so, with various partners including Sport England and UK Sport to try and get as much clarity as possible. In all likelihood, total clarity will not be available until after the legislation has gone through the House of Commons towards the end of Wednesday 4 November. Clearly, this won’t give clubs a lot of time to prepare so we wanted to share the position as we understand it at this time – please note that the precise legislation has not been confirmed at this stage.

As things stand, our understanding is, it is highly likely that during the lockdown:

  • Sports clubs/facilities will be required to close entirely – this includes rowing clubs and their landing stages.
  • Whilst rowing in a single scull or a crew made up from a single household is not at this stage ruled out by the restrictions as personal exercise is allowed, the fact that club boating facilities will not be available means that for the vast majority of rowers this form of personal exercise will not be possible.
  • The navigation authorities are not planning to close waterways specifically for the lockdown.
  • University sport will not be able to take place at all.
  • Sport for juniors will only be able to take place as part of the school curriculum, i.e. during PE lessons.
  • British Rowing affiliated competitions will not be able to take place during the lockdown.
  • The only exemptions to the above will be for designated elite athletes – the definition of this will not be changing –  in rowing, these are only those senior GB Rowing Team members currently training at the National Training Centre as agreed with UK Sport.

It is clearly hugely disappointing that, despite the incredible effort by club volunteers across the country to make facilities COVID-Secure, these facilities will now be told to close for the period of this new lockdown. We made an urgent request to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for access to the minimum facilities required for boating to be considered to allow for personal exercise. This message has also been shared by multiple sporting organisations including the Sport and Recreation Alliance. Despite our request and the efforts of the sports sector as a whole, the sense we get at the moment is that the Government is not willing to grant any exemptions or change direction.

We are also concerned that many schools, who operate out of community rowing clubs, will be locked out of the sport for the period of the lockdown.

There are still a number of unanswered questions about the precise nature of the lockdown and as soon as we have clarity we will share more detailed guidance.

We wanted to share this message today to allow clubs to start making what preparations they can for lockdown. Given the potential that sculling may be possible from public slipways and private land (subject to any rules set by navigation authorities), clubs may wish to consider whether they have time and whether it is practical to allow members to collect any boats or equipment before the lockdown starts at 00.01 on Thursday 5 November. If you are a club member, please wait to hear from your club and bear in mind that your club’s volunteers will only be hearing this now too and will need time to put in place any arrangements, should they be able to facilitate this for their members.

It is anticipated that the Government will publish more detail of the new lockdown on Thursday and we will provide further clarification and update our guidance accordingly.

We recognise the massive impact that this advice will have on the rowing community but are confident that, as before, the rowing community will pull together to support each other and ultimately, when the time is right, to get the sport we love back up and running again.

As always, we remain committed to supporting the rowing community during this period, including:

  • Our Club Support team remains available to support clubs during this period and provide advice and assistance to clubs including how to apply for any Sport England funding.
  • The British Rowing Club Emergency Fund application period will be extended until 1 February 2021 and we will be extending the terms of this to allow applications related to the impact of this second lockdown.
  • As with the first lockdown period, Affiliated Competitions that are required to cancel due to COVID-19 will be able to rollover their Affiliation Fee from 2020 to 2021.

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