Clubs, Huts, Meets and current Covid-19 Restrictions

Posted by Jane Thompson on 27/07/2021

With government rules, regulations and guidance changing regularly it can be difficult for clubs to keep up with what they are allowed to do. This article summarises the BMC’s understanding of the constraints on club meets and access to huts, based on information available at the time and date of publication. Please remember to check for local changes that may affect your club or hut.

First produced: 21 October 2020

This version: 27 July, 12:55

 

General Considerations:

Please remember that legal minimums are just that – minimums.  Many organisations are asking their staff, volunteers and customers to go beyond these minimums, to provide both genuinely improved safety, and the reassurance that is essential for higher levels of use.  As with all other aspects of health and safety, people in any capacity are expected to take reasonable and appropriate steps to minimise their potential to harm those who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

As always, we have to stay within guidance and increasingly allow individuals to make their own choices.  Essentially indoor meets, outdoor meets and huts will soon be operating as close to "normality" as the guidance allows if the club and their club members feel comfortable doing so, with common sense around mitigation procedures.  It would still seem sensible to encourage good hygiene (washing hands, sanitising etc.) and also, importantly, an open window policy in huts.  We are heading in stages towards a full opening with much more emphasis on personal assessments.  Those who are risk averse can always choose to avoid huts or busy meets, and those that are less concerned can use them with enhanced care.

 

Specifics:

The next steps in Wales will be confirmed on Friday 6 August, with a phased move from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 0 planned for Saturday 7 August, if conditions allow.

 

Huts – England

  • Huts in England are now permitted to re-open without a government-imposed capacity limit.
  • Hut operators still need to consider the risks from covid-19, in the same way that other risks are considered - through a risk assessment relevant to the property.
  • Consider that some members may still be cautious about attending a hut in large groups.  Hut operators still need to consider the steps they can take to help members feel comfortable in returning to using huts.
  • Click here for government advice on keeping safe following the move to Step 4 of the Roadmap
  • Click here for BMC guidance on the re-opening of huts (in the process of being updated following the latest easing of restrictions, most principles are still relevant). 

 

Huts – Wales

  • Huts in Wales are permitted to open for up to 6 people from different households, excluding children under 11, or an extended household.  You cannot meet with your extended household and an additional six people indoors, this is an either/or choice.  Meaning that if your household or extended household is already over six people, you could not meet with an additional six people at the same time in your home or in travel and holiday accommodation.  Click here for more detail (and then scroll down to “Private dwellings and travel and holiday accommodation”).
  • Hut operators are still required to undertake a specific assessment of the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the hut, and take appropriate steps to minimise those risks to all users of the hut (club members, visitors, volunteers, etc.)
  • Click here for BMC guidance on the re-opening of huts (in the process of being updated following the latest easing of restrictions, most principles are still relevant. 
  • There is some financial support available for huts in Wales impacted by the forced closures – check out Covid-19 Support for Business for more information.

 

 

Club Meets (Outdoor) – England

This section is for meets based in England, if a club from England is holding a meet in Wales the points in the subsequent section must be followed.

  • There are no restrictions due to covid-19 for clubs or club members meeting in the outdoors.
  • Click here for government advice on keeping safe following the move to Step 4 of the Roadmap
  • Consider that some members may still be cautious about meeting up in large groups.  Clubs may wish to still use some of the steps contained in the guidance produced by the BMC to help members feel comfortable in returning to meets.
  • Car sharing in England is now permitted.
  • Remember to check any restrictions that may impact on your whole journey if your route will take you over a border in to Wales or Scotland.

 

Club Meets (Outdoor) – Wales

This section is for meets based in Wales, if a club from Wales is holding a meet in England the points in the preceding section must be followed.

  • There are no number limits, due to covid-19, for clubs or club members meeting in the outdoors.
  • The organiser of an outdoor activity in Wales has a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Click here for more information.  Click here for the guidance produced by the BMC.
  • Consider that some members may still be cautious about meeting up in large groups.  Clubs may wish to still use some of the steps contained in the guidance produced by the BMC to help members feel comfortable in returning to meets.
  • Car sharing in Wales is now permitted but not recommended – click here for more details.  The expected mitigations are detailed here.
  • Remember to check any restrictions that may impact on your whole journey if your route will take you over a border in to England or Scotland.

 

Club Meets (Indoor Climbing Wall) – England

  • There are no limits to the number of people who can meet indoors, and so club meets are able to resume.
  • However, it is important that all clubs contact the climbing wall prior to any visit to ensure compliance to the rules at that wall.

 

Club Meets (Indoor Climbing Wall) – Wales

  • Climbing walls are permitted to reopen and groups of up to 6 people from different households may meet in a wall.
  • Small-scale indoor wall club meets are therefore able to resume.
  • However, it is important that all clubs contact the climbing wall prior to any visit to ensure compliance to the rules at that wall.

 

For the current position in Scotland please go to the Mountaineering Scotland website.

 

Useful links

UK Government: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread from 19 July [England]
Welsh Government: Coronavirus
 

* Mountaineering activities include rock climbing (trad & sport), bouldering, hill /fell / mountain walking, scrambling.  It does not include mountain biking, caving, kayaking and other such activities that are outside of the direct remit of the BMC.

 

 

Quick reference guide of what clubs currently can and can’t do, from 19 July

 

 I reside in / wish to arrange a meet in…

 England

 Wales

 Can I organise or attend an outdoor club meet?

Meets are permitted in England for unlimited numbers.

Meets are permitted in Wales, for unlimited numbers.

 What about sharing cars?

Car sharing in England is now permitted.

Car sharing, in Wales, is now permitted but not recommended.  Click here for more details

 Can I organise or attend an indoor climbing meet?

There’re no limits to group meeting indoors.

Check with the climbing wall prior to any visit to ensure adherence to any rules they have in place.

Indoor walls are open and up to 6 people from different households are permitted to meet indoors in regulated venues, and so indoor meets for small groups may resume.

 Who can stay in a hut?

Huts are able to reopen.

Huts are able to reopen for up to 6 people from different households.

 Can we have a club meet in a pub or café?

Yes, indoor meets in social venues are able to resume.

Pubs & cafés are open and groups of up to 6 people from different households, socially distanced, are permitted to meet in an indoor seating area.

 



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Anonymous User
22/10/2020
Great article providing the rules that we must abide by to reduce the spread of Covid 19 in our area.
Thanks for sorting this out.
Anonymous User
02/12/2020
Hi guys

The guidance here about groups of 30 does is not the same as the 2/12 update saying only up to 6 - Can you de-conflict please?
Anonymous User
04/12/2020
"From Wednesday 2 December outdoor club meets (in mountaineering activities) will be able to resume for up to 30 people if the club is following the BMC guidance"

The BMC guidance link just takes you back to this page. Where can we find this information?
Anonymous User
04/12/2020
I think the BMC is completely out of touch, Ramblers groups in theory up to 30 are able to organise group walks, subject to strict risk assessment and management rules, they even have a bar code to log members on walks
Can the BMC get into the 21C and look at interests of all at this time . Not just those wanting to go vertical solo
22/12/2020
Comments about regs above, please see legislation.Gov.uk
Rule of six applies to most gatherings.
Organised sport is an exemption allowing you to go over this number, a rugby, hockey or football game for instance.
No one can have a gathering larger than 30.
Hence no organised sport over 30.
Compare our sport to touch rugby, an hour of coming in to close proximity with 20+other people.
The key is these gatherings are happening outside, where transmission has been shown to be low.
Our challenge is making the inside elements of what we do work. Car sharing, accommodation, parking, evening socialising and buying supplies in the area of a meet.
My intention is to increase the number of local day meets and scale back the longer distance trips.
Thankyou to the BMC for being clear with their guidelines.
Anonymous User
05/01/2021
Can you give guidance on solo/2 people hiking in local areas please? This article was updated today but focuses on groups/huts and climbing walls. Thanks a lot/
Anonymous User
26/03/2021
i attended the Webinair about hut openings and listened to Medical Guidance about 72hour gap between occupency. Did I miss something though as am hearing without this hut insurance will not honour a claim asgainst Covid? Suddenly guidance became insurance requirement.

Steve

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