Sidmouth Bowls Club to remain closed – for now

Sidmouth bowling club friendly. Ref shsp 19 17TI 2428. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth bowling club friendly. Ref shsp 19 17TI 2428. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Department of Culture, media and Sport (DCMS) have published a guide for a return to bowls.

It is a very detailed report and, after great consideration, Sidmouth Bowls Club (SBC) has decided against opening – for now.

A letter sent to all members reads: ‘Late last Thursday we were notified by Bowls England that lawn bowls clubs could re-open, so long as they followed Government guidelines - and they attached a link which led to various documents.

Having read those and discussed them in detail, the executive committee do not support the re-opening of Sidmouth Bowling Club at the present time.

The main reasons for this are as follows:

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• Toilets would have to be made available, but all other areas would need to be locked and no access allowed.

• Cleaning and disinfecting of toilet areas, door handles, handrails etc etc would have to be carried out several times a day.

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• Jacks, mats and pushers would have to be made available - they would have to be cleaned and disinfected before and after every time they were made available. A safe accessible place would have to be found to store them.

• Only roll-ups with members of the same household (plus one person from another household strictly observing the two-metre social distancing rules) would be allowed to play together.

• The guidelines recommend the use of a booking system - SBC do not have a paid member of staff who could take responsibility for this onerous task.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly in our case, the outdoor greens have to be ready and made available for our club’s use ... this is controlled at present by Leisure East Devon (LED).

We know the ‘top’ green is not fit for play so that would only leave us with the bottom green.

Two of the 6 rinks are not used by SBC as a rule, but are available to the public.

That, technically, would leave us with four rinks.

So, under the circumstances, the executive committee has decided that for the time being SBC remains closed. It is recognised that, for many members - particularly those on their own - this simply compounds the isolation being suffered, but the committee hope the membership will agree that they are acting with the welfare and best interests of all members at heart and so, for the time being, the club will remain closed.’

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