Latest Update

16/07/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update – A welcome return for all squash in Scotland

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on Tuesday (13th July), which confirmed the move to Level 0 for all of Scotland, we are delighted to confirm that squash will be able to return in all clubs and facilities, and for players of all ages, as of Monday 19th July.

The ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ has been updated to reflect the recent Scottish Government announcement and can now be accessed via the link above or at the website page below:

https://www.scottishsquash.org/guidance-for-squash/

This guidance is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach as we appreciate that squash clubs and facilities vary across Scotland. As such, and while public health remains all of our primary priority, individual squash clubs should risk assess appropriately to ensure these procedures can be implemented.

Please continue to err on the side of caution; clubs should not open, or return all aspects of their programme, until all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of players and volunteers can be implemented. Some topics and FAQs, and accompanying ideas and suggestions, have been added to the website at the link above. Thank you to all the clubs who have supported in pulling this information together; we encourage your club to continue to engage via the Club Support Forum.

Players should only play if they feel fit, well and can adhere to the guidance put in place by their club. Also, given the length of time squash activity has been suspended, it is advised that anyone returning to court eases themselves back into play gently. There is absolutely no urgency or pressure to return to the court, however, if clubs and players feel ready and the guidance is adhered to, squash activity can resume under the stated conditions. Where clubs require additional time to re-open, or to return certain aspects of their programme, please be patient and respect their decision.

We hope you enjoy a safe return to the court!

Previous Updates

28/06/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update – Letter to all members of Squash in Scotland

Dear Members

I write to you in relation to the impact the ongoing government restrictions are having upon our sport, and the position that we are taking, and would encourage members to support.  While the number one objective remains the health and safety of all our players, officials, and the wider population, we remain frustrated by the slow progress in the opening up of our sport.

We had all hoped that we would be experiencing further lifting of restrictions, including those for Squash at this time, and we remain frustrated at the continued lack of movement. However, we remain hopeful that Squash will resume in the near future, as restrictions continue to be lifted in line with the Scottish Government roadmap.

At Scottish Squash, we have received a number of comments and questions on our position on the following:

  1. Categorisation of Squash as an indoor contact sport
  2. Squash in Scotland experience versus other Home Nations
  3. Success of programmes such as vaccines, and testing, and the relevance for Squash
  4. Fears and opportunities for the future of Squash as Scotland moves across levels
  5. Lobbying of Scottish Government

Categorisation of Squash as an indoor contact sport

Members will be aware that Squash has been categorised as an indoor contact sport, aligning to other indoor contact sports such as boxing and judo. The background to the categorisation is explained by World Squash in their briefing paper ‘Squash during the Covid-19 Pandemic’. Please refer to the section ‘how does this affect squash’:  https://www.worldsquash.org/covid-19-recommendations.

Throughout the pandemic, we and our members have asked why the sport is not aligned to other indoor racquet sports such as table tennis, badminton and tennis. The above paper explains the additional risks which have been assessed to be present within the sport of Squash. However, at Scottish Squash, we continue to press Scottish Government that Squash is not a natural contact sport. We feel that Squash is unique in that, whilst the sport may be played in close proximity, the actual aim is to avoid contact with an opponent.

On Tuesday 22nd June, the First Minister announced the publication of the ’Review to physical distancing Scotland’. Here there is an opportunity for the categorisation of Squash in Scotland to be reviewed. We have approached the Government with a request for this to happen and we are receiving support from sportscotland in this goal.

Squash in Scotland experience versus other Home Nations

Members may also have seen that Scottish Government have a more cautious approach to lifting restrictions than some other nations such as England and Wales. This cautious approach is felt across a number of sectors and is particularly difficult for the sport of Squash, and again we have been expressing our views, and those of members within the context of a more cautious national approach. In England it was the reduction of physical distancing, from 2 metres to 1 metre, which led to the review of the categorisation of Squash and the return of the game.

Success of programmes such as vaccines, and testing, and the relevance for Squash

Members can see the great work that has taken place around test kits and vaccines, and we all had hoped that the positive impact of these programmes might allow greater creativity in the approach to reopening of sport. This too forms part of the world wide and Scottish approach for professional squash, and we will continue to press for these factors to be considered in an early opening up of our sport.

Fears and opportunities for the future of Squash as Scotland moves across levels

Squash clubs and members do fear that as society moves across tiers, the approach to re starting squash would be very stop/start, thus making any consistent reopening extremely difficult. Once again we have shared these concerns with sportscotland and with Scottish Government and recommend vaccines and testing, alongside other infection prevention measures, as a way to manage a return to the sport.

Engagement with Scottish Government

We have consistently engaged with the Scottish Government, both through our partners sportscotland, and directly to make the positive case for the return of squash. We will continue that approach on behalf of our sport, and our members, to try to address the inconsistencies outlined above. We attach our most recent letter to the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, and we thank the membership for sharing the observations contained therein.

While we understand the approach being taken to the easing of restrictions is sector-wide for sport, we feel that the categorisation of the sport and a potential opportunity around reduced social distancing may encourage the Scottish Government to review the position for Squash in Scotland. We have recently asked the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport to encourage Scottish Government officials to reconsider the categorisation of Squash and to prioritise a safe reopening of Squash facilities.

If full Squash is still not deemed to be safe, we have asked that officials support a no contact socially distant version of Squash, where players will be positioned in a similar way to other non-contact indoor sports such as indoor tennis, badminton and table tennis, as soon as the data shows that the time is right to do so.

We thank members for your patience and understanding at this difficult time, and encourage your understanding and support for the sport, our clubs and fellow members in Scotland.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Adderley

President

Scottish Squash

03/06/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on Tuesday (1st June), confirming further easing of restrictions in some local authorities from Saturday 5th June, we’re pleased to confirm that the current ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ remains up to date.

From Saturday 5th June some Island local authorities, (including Shetland, Orkney and the Western Islands), will move to Level 0 which permits unrestricted squash for adults and those aged under-18.

We are continuing to work closely with The Scottish Government and sportscotland to safely accelerate the easing of the remaining restrictions if at all possible. We will keep you up to date through the regular communication channels and we would encourage you to continue to maintain an open dialogue via these channels.

The new BounceBack competition structure continues to grow, offering competition opportunity for all under 18-year-olds. Please see below for a list of BounceBack sanctioned competitions which are confirmed and visit our website if you are interested in delivering a BounceBack sanctioned competition in your club or facility.

14/05/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update

Scottish Squash welcomed the announcement from The Scottish Government on Tuesday (11th May) which confirmed further easing of restrictions across society. The current ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ remains up to date, and we are continuing to work closely with The Scottish Government and sportscotland to safely accelerate the easing of the remaining restrictions if at all possible. We will keep you up to date through the regular communication channels and we would encourage you to continue to maintain an open dialogue via these channels.

The current guidance has seen a welcome return to the squash court for all under 18 year olds. Clubs and facilities across Scotland have been utilising the new BounceBack competition structure, which provides an opportunity to re-introduce competitive squash in line with Scottish Government guidance. Edinburgh Sports Club kicked off the BounceBack sanctioned competition return earlier this month and a number of other BounceBack competitions have now been confirmed (further details below).

23/04/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update – A welcome return to the court 

Following The Scottish Government’s announcement on Tuesday (20th April), confirming the further easing of restrictions from Monday 26th April, we are pleased to confirm that the ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ has now been approved by The Scottish Government. The full guidance and supporting documents can be accessed via the Scottish Squash website and at the link below:

https://www.scottishsquash.org/guidance-for-squash/

As anticipated, the guidance allows for the re-opening of squash clubs and facilities from Monday 26th April and, in line with The Scottish Government’s strategic framework document (version: April 2021), supports the opportunity for under 18’s, solo and household (including extended household) squash activity. Full details can be accessed via the guidance document referenced above and a summary of the impact on squash activity can be accessed via the link below:

https://www.scottishsquash.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Timetable-for-easing-coronavirus-restrictions-Back-to-squash-timeline-v1-30.03.2021-1.pdf

Whilst we welcome this positive step on the road to a full return to all squash activity, we continue to recognise the challenges that clubs, coaches and players continue to face across the country. We are continuing to work with sportscotland and other partners to achieve as early and safe a return for all squash activity as possible, and we again would like to thank everyone in the squash in Scotland community for your support and patience.

Please do keep in contact and maintain a dialogue through our regular communication channels. In addition, and to support any questions that clubs, coaches or players may have ahead of the potential re-opening of clubs and facilities on Monday 26th, the following Executive Staff are available across the weekend (24th-25th April) and should you have any specific questions or queries:

Garry McKay – 07483 909 720

Allan McKay – 07483 908 890

As we continue our progress out of the most recent lockdown, we wanted to remind you about what we know this to mean for a return to the squash court. As things stand, and as we continue to wait with cautious optimism, we remain on track to see the potential reopening of squash clubs and facilities from April 26th; initially for under 18’s, solo and household (including extended household) squash activity. Please click here for the full update that we released following The Scottish Government’s announcement on 16th March, and click here for the latest roadmap for squash as we understand it.

In continuing to work towards the reopening from 26th April, we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about the process ahead of the governing body being in a position to confirm and release updated guidance for such a return:

  1. The First Minister makes an announcement to the Scottish Parliament on a Tuesday afternoon, which in this case will be Tuesday 20th This is the first time that the governing body and sportscotland hear the content of the announcement.
  2. The details of the announcement go through a legislative process before guidance is issued from the Scottish Government to each of the different sectors.
  3. sportscotland are issued with the generic guidance for sport.
  4. This guidance then goes through points of clarity and understanding before being issued to individual sports.
  5. The governing body then interprets and produces/updates specific guidance for squash.
  6. This guidance then needs to be checked and approved by sportscotland/Scottish Government before it can be issued.

We recognise that this process can delay the release of confirmed guidance, and we understand that this may cause some frustration, but we would ask for your continued patience as we all work towards the safe return for squash.

Clubs are also reminded about the requirement to appoint a COVID-19 Officer ahead of re-opening. The COVID-19 Officer registration form can be found by clicking on this link and the appointed person will be the identified contact for Scottish Squash to share information in relation to the impact of COVID-19 and on any new measures required to be implemented as part of the safe return for squash. For further information on the role, we would also recommend that the appointed person completes sportscotland’s COVID-19 Officer e-learning module which can be found via this link.

Whilst we continue to wait in anticipation for future announcements, we would again like to draw your attention to some of the resources that might be useful for your preparations ahead of the return to squash.

‘Prepare for a Return to Squash’ Resource

‘Prepare for a Return to Squash’ is an interactive pdf with embedded links to off court squash specific workouts that can help your club members prepare their body for returning to squash in the near future.

For full details on the launch of the resource, please click here: https://www.scottishsquash.org/prepare-for-a-return-to-squash/

To access the resource, please click here: https://www.scottishsquash.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PRTSFinal.pdf

‘Getting your facilities fit for sport’ Resource

Please follow the link below where you’ll find some comprehensive and useful guidance from sportscotland around preparing facilities for a re-opening. There’s a plethora of considerations and potential work/tasks to bring a facility/club out of lockdown, particularly important if it has been completely dormant for a period of time.

https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/getting-your-facilities-fit-for-sport/

‘Getting coaches ready for sport’ Resource

The ‘Getting coaches ready for sport’ guidance and accompanying resource can be found here:

https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/getting-coaches-ready-for-sport/

We will continue, as we have done throughout the pandemic, to provide you with regular updates from the COVID-19 Working Group through the regular communication channels and we would encourage you to continue to maintain an open dialogue via these channels.

Please continue to stay safe and well.

30/03/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on 16th March, confirming more details of the timetable for the easing of restrictions in Scotland, we hope you are all as excited as we are to be heading ever closer to the long awaited return to the squash court.

Our sport having a potential return date to work towards is unquestionably good news. However, public health and suppressing the spread of the virus must remain a priority for us all, as such we will continue to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of everyone in the squash community is paramount.

As we look ahead to a gradual easing of restrictions, we want to share what we know to date about the Scottish Government’s route out of lockdown and what this means for squash. Please click here (or follow the link below) for the latest roadmap for squash as we understand it.

https://www.scottishsquash.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Timetable-for-easing-coronavirus-restrictions-Back-to-squash-timeline-v1-30.03.2021.pdf

 

A message from the Chief Executive, Maggie Still. “On behalf of Scottish Squash, I would like to again say a huge thank-you to member clubs, coaches and players who continue to support each other and the Governing Body through these challenging times. We recognise that the start of 2021 has created further difficulty for everyone involved in the sport. However, as summer approaches and the vaccine rollout continues, there’s cautious optimism that brighter times lie ahead for squash. With this in mind, we believe the latest roadmap – shared above – offers a clear and realistic return for the sport. Undoubtably there will still be challenges and difficulties along the way, and naturally we urge caution because dates remain subject to change based on Scottish Government guidelines. But we really do feel that all of us can now look forward with a sense of optimism, as clubs and facilities begin reopening and players return to court.”

 

In recognising that many clubs and facilities have been closed and players have been off court for a while now, we wanted to recirculate some useful resources that you can find below.

 

‘Prepare for a Return to Squash’ Resource

‘Prepare for a Return to Squash’ is an interactive pdf with embedded links to off court squash specific workouts that can help your club members prepare their body for returning to squash in the near future.

For full details on the launch of the resource, please click here: https://www.scottishsquash.org/prepare-for-a-return-to-squash/

To access the resource, please click here: https://www.scottishsquash.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PRTSFinal.pdf

 

‘Getting your facilities fit for sport’ Resource

Please follow the link below where you’ll find some comprehensive and useful guidance from sportscotland around preparing facilities for a re-opening. There’s a plethora of considerations and potential work/tasks to bring a facility/club out of lockdown, particularly important if it has been completely dormant for a period of time.

https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/getting-your-facilities-fit-for-sport/

 

‘Getting coaches ready for sport’ Resource

The ‘Getting coaches ready for sport’ guidance and accompanying resource can be found here:

https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/getting-coaches-ready-for-sport/

 

We will continue, as we have done throughout the pandemic, to provide you with regular updates from the COVID-19 Working Group through the regular communication channels and we would encourage you to continue to maintain an open dialogue via these channels.

Please continue to stay safe and well.

14/03/2021

COVID-19 Working Group update

As the vaccination programme continues across Scotland, and more plans for the easing of restrictions are confirmed, we are looking forward to further announcements expected from The Scottish Government this week.

It is anticipated that a revised strategic framework, to continue to set out the roadmap out of lockdown, will be published and we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that our COVID-19 Working Group will study it and what it means for the return of all squash activity. We look forward to sharing details in due course.

In the meantime, and in case you missed it, we wanted to signpost members to the letter that was sent to the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Mairi Gougeon, following her attendance at a recent Governing Body CEO Forum:

https://www.scottishsquash.org/sgb-ceo-forum/#toggle-id-1

The Working Group would also like to remind clubs that the most recent Club Impact Survey (4) has been distributed to all main club contacts. The survey is similar to those that we released on a quarterly basis through 2020 and will continue to help us to understand both the impact on every individual club and on a national level. This information is vital to allow us to continue to shape any individual club support plan (to safeguard the future of all squash facilities) and to identify any future challenges from a national perspective.

Please continue to stay safe and well.

As the vaccination programme continues across Scotland and plans for the reopening of schools continue to take shape, we are looking forward to the Scottish Government’s announcement scheduled to take place tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd).

It is anticipated that a revised strategic framework, to set out the roadmap out of lockdown, will be published and we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that our COVID-19 Working Group will study it and what it means for the return of all squash activity. We look forward to sharing details in due course.

Be assured, we will continue to work with sportscotland and Scottish Government to develop and agree a pathway for squash within the new roadmap, that gets as many players as possible back on court as soon as possible.

In the meantime, and in recognising that this continues to be a hugely difficult and frustrating period for squash clubs, facilities, coaches and players across Scotland, we’re again drawing attention to the financial support available for clubs and facilities via the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework Business Fund.

We would like to thank all the clubs and facilities who have shared details of their successful application. This learning has been invaluable for continuing to support squash clubs and facilities across Scotland. Please continue to reach out via ross.cairns@scottishsquash.org with such details or to get in touch should the financial position change at any point.

In addition to the financial support available as part of the Strategic Framework Business Fund, we are also continuing to work with relevant agencies to support clubs and facilities on a bespoke basis and where this is required.

For those who might be travelling abroad, please note the latest requirements on travel and return to Scotland which have recently changed: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Please continue to stay safe and well.

With the progress of the vaccination programme across the country, hopefully we are on the last few laps through and out of the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, this is a time when the squash community should redouble our efforts in planning for the future and develop an even stronger culture of collaboration and partnership in so doing. The health and wellbeing of individuals and communities across our country needs to become a greater priority for our national and local governments, and as a sport we need to be ready to play our part by promoting the benefits of physical activity, sport and leisure being in the vanguard of this approach.

Further to the above, we again wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the focused work of the COVID-19 Working Group.

Financial support for squash clubs and facilities

Building on the previous update that reminded clubs and facilities about the financial support available via the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework Business Fund, we have been continuing to support various clubs and facilities across Scotland with their applications for support.

Please note that we are only aware of the specific local position of any club or facility based on the information that they are sharing with us. Therefore, we plan to continue to issue the high level club impact surveys as the primary means to assess the financial position of all clubs and facilities across Scotland. This information allows us to understand where we can best align the support and assistance we are able to provide. It also allows us to understand the situation on a national level and shape discussions with other relevant organisations as appropriate.

In between the issuing of the club impact surveys, please continue to reach out to ross.cairns@scottishsquash.org if your club requires assistance in accessing any of the financial support available or if the financial position of the club changes. In addition to the financial support available as part of the Strategic Framework Business Fund, we will continue to support clubs and facilities on a bespoke basis where required.

Member engagement

Whilst we remain off-court, playing our part in suppressing COVID-19, you can still engage in squash workouts from home. We’ve been taking a look back at some of our Stay At Home resources that were released last year and proved really popular. The videos and resources are great for keeping squash-fit and a creative way to introduce squash to adults and children during lockdown.

From the schoolsquash series to H//T SQUASH and our Stay At Home Technical videos, we have plenty of bases covered as you gear up for a return to court. You can watch all the training videos over on the official Scottish Squash YouTube channel.

Please keep checking our regular communication channels for further details, and we look forward to working with regions and clubs to support everyone to continue to engage members and players alike.

Opportunity for adults to help build our future and return to court

As we witnessed in 2020, the Scottish Government restrictions allowed for an earlier return to play for under 18s and with this came the opportunity for the sport to raise its profile amongst young people and to inspire and attract a future generation of squash players. We recognise that the pandemic has altered the way in which people can engage, train and develop in coach education, so we have adapted our Level 1 coaching course so that it can be delivered in an online and remote format.

This affords adult players a great opportunity to get back on a squash court earlier than expected by coaching juniors and building our future.

Please follow the link below to find further details of our coach education programme. Please also continue to check this page for updates of all future coach education opportunities.

https://www.scottishsquash.org/take-part/become-a-coach/

The news on vaccines is very positive, but as you will all know, it will take some time to deliver them to all members of the population included in the programme. As a result of the new COVID-19 variant, society has closed down even more in this new year as the Scottish Government and their Public Health advisors seek to continue to suppress transmission and save as many lives as possible. These tougher restrictions have once again impacted on the sport and leisure sector with many facilities forced to close. We understand how challenging this is for everyone but this is a time when we can look to the future and continue to collaborate and plan recovery.

Despite the current lockdown restrictions that remain in place across mainland Scotland and some islands, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind the other areas in protection level three that the current guidance (published 12th November, 2020) remains up to date.

Financial support for squash clubs and facilities

Squash clubs and facilities are reminded about the Temporary Closure Grant and Business Restrictions Grant, both available as part of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework Business Fund, that remain open for applications. Please follow the link below for full details.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-strategic-framework-business-fund/pages/overview/

Where clubs do decide to pursue an application, we would be grateful if you could share any details of the process, learning points etc. in the Club Support Forum (please email ross.cairns@scottishsquash.org if your club is not part of the Club Support Forum & you would like more details) to help colleagues across other clubs and facilities with their applications.

If your club has an application rejected, we would be grateful if you could share details with ross.cairns@scottishsquash.org so that we can support where possible with an appeal and to allow us to share this feedback with the appropriate agencies on a sector wide level.

Member engagement

Following the positive response to the online delivery of various programmes – including ‘H//T SQUASH from Home’ & ‘Squash PE from Home’ – and the positive engagement with various other initiatives – including the ‘Squash Around Scotland’ competition as part of World Squash Day 2020 – during the lockdown in 2020, we are preparing a similar series of resources and initiatives to help people to remain active and to stay connected with the squash community throughout the pandemic. Please keep checking our regular communication channels for further details, and we look forward to working with regions and clubs to support everyone to continue to engage members and players alike.

Junior and workforce development

As we witnessed in 2020, the Scottish Government restrictions allowed for an earlier return to play for under 18’s and with this came the opportunity for the sport to raise its profile amongst young people and to inspire and attract a future generation of squash players. We recognise that the pandemic has altered the way in which people can engage, train and develop in coach education, so we have adapted our level 1 coaching course so that it can be delivered in an online and remote format. Please follow the link below to find further details of our coach education programme. Please continue to check this page for updates of all future coach education opportunities.

https://www.scottishsquash.org/take-part/become-a-coach/

Future competitions and events

It was with deep regret but a certain degree of resignation that we, in partnership with the European Squash Federation (ESF), announced the postponement of the European Masters Individual Championships. However, we are pleased to confirm that we have agreed with the ESF that the event will now take place in Edinburgh next summer (2022) and specific dates will be announced in due course. For the full update, please follow the link below:

https://www.scottishsquash.org/european-masters-championships-rescheduled-for-2022-in-light-of-covid-19-pandemic/

In the meantime, we are continuing to work on preparations for the 2021 Springfield Scottish Squash Open and we would encourage you to visit the dedicated event website for further details (link below). We are also working closely with the Professional Squash Association to continue to explore additional opportunities for Scottish players to compete on home soil and support preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

http://scottishsquashopen.com/

Thank you to all the clubs that joined us on our sixth Club Support Forum video call last Thursday (12th November) to talk through the recently submitted version 7. We discussed the decision for this not to be approved at this current time, and our next steps. Following on from this call, we have continued to work closely to understand the impact on squash clubs and facilities and this week have released the third Club Financial Impact Survey. Please could you either complete this survey or encourage your club main contact to complete it as soon as possible. The information is critical to our ability to continue to influence at the most senior levels in Scottish Government.

As you will be aware the Scottish Government provided an update on the local protection levels for each local authority in Scotland on Tuesday (17th November). You can view your local protection level by accessing the postcode checker tool here.

From Tuesday 24th November both East Lothian and Midlothian are to move to Level 2.

From today, Friday 20th November, the following local authorities will move from Level 3 to Level 4. This includes East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian.

A reminder of what this means for squash can be found in the impact on squash Summary table and the COVID-19 Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland.

Again we thank you for your support and patience at this difficult time and hope you continue to remain safe.

12/11/2020

COVID-19 Working Group – Coaching Update & Version 6 Approval

Further to our earlier communication, we’ve worked further with sportscotland and Scottish Government to develop guidance (version 6) that supports greater opportunity for our coaching workforce in Scotland. Our latest guidance now permits coaches to return to the court to deliver sessions while following strict physical distancing measures.

Coaches will be required and encouraged to develop and deliver sessions in a structure where they always physical distance from participants. In addition, face coverings will have to be worn by coaches at all times while on court delivering.

Coaches who are returning to court to deliver activity are encouraged to have in place a valid Coach Licence to ensure they are always kept up-to-date with the latest information as well as appropriate insurance. For further details on the Coach Licence or to apply please check the Scottish Squash website.

Full updated coaching guidance can be found in the ‘COVID-19 Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches & Competitions in Scotland’ on our website.

2 coaching network calls have been scheduled when we can talk through the guidance further and look to provide greater clarity. It will also be an opportunity for coaches to share best practice between the network. The calls will take place on the following days and times:

  • Monday 16th November, 16:00 – 17:00
  • Tuesday 17th November, 11:30 – 12:20

To sign up please e-mail Allan McKay (allan.mckay@scottishsquash.org).

 12/11/2020

COVID-19 Working Group update and latest position

Scottish Squash believe that squash can be played safely during the current pandemic. As part of our plans to bring back the game we continue to work closely with sportscotland to present Public Health Scotland and Scottish Government with new proposals that will enable the sport to resume as quickly as possible. As many in the squash community are already aware, Public Health Scotland has categorised squash as an indoor contact sport. Contact sport or activity is defined as “a sport or activity in which the participants necessarily come into bodily contact or as a matter of course encroach within 2m of one another”. Squash is therefore categorised with other indoor contact sports such as Netball, Basketball and Judo.

The introduction of physically distanced squash would bring in a different version of squash which would more closely align with those sports categorised as indoor non-contact sports such as Badminton, Table Tennis, Indoor Tennis and Gymnastics.

The following table outlines that which Public Health Scotland and Scottish Government have approved across all sports:

In accordance with the next step in the process outlined by Scottish Government, we recently submitted our Version 7 of the squash guidance. The guidance seeks permission for the following:

  • A coach to be present on court (within safety guidelines and with required PPE)
  • physically distanced squash (front and back / side to side)

As one of a small number of indoor contact sports we have been listening to our clubs and coaches across the squash community and we created a plan that we are confident will enable the sport to progress quickly upon its return.

Whilst our submission was welcomed by Scottish Government and was scrutinised by the highest clinical authority, it has been intimated that, in the best interests of public health, now is not the appropriate time to launch physically distanced squash. To be specific, we received the following feedback:

Public health clinicians are not initially supportive of the adapted game proposals. Essentially they have concerns about the small indoor area used in a squash game, and the high respiratory rates and lack of ventilation involved, however decisions are made on a range of criteria including economic and health risks.

As Scottish Squash continues to put public health first, we reluctantly accept the current position of the Scottish Government, thank them for their initial response and will continue to work collaboratively to reach a positive outcome for our sport.

Our next steps will be as follows:

  1. Request detailed data from Scottish Government to further understand why the proposal was not approved.
  2. Work with authorities to try to find alternative and acceptable guidelines that would allow physically distanced squash to be played.
  3. Push for an interim step on the pathway to allow coaches back on court.

We also need to work with clubs, coaches and players, as a matter of urgency, on the following:

  1. Gather further information around the impact on physical and mental health.
  2. Gather updated data on the financial situation and pressure clubs are under.

We have welcomed the word ‘initially’ in the feedback and are incentivised to continue to shape our proposal ready to resubmit as soon as there is a material change in circumstances. We will also work with the Scottish Government to develop an even greater understanding of what is required to further reduce the risk within the squash environment, addressing the key issues that have brought about the aforementioned decision by government clinicians.

It is an unfortunate reality that the COVID-19 situation in Scotland is not improving at the rate the authorities initially envisaged. Recent rises in COVID-19 cases and deaths and the current 2nd lockdown in England remind us that we are still very much in the midst of a global health pandemic.

Squash clubs, coaches and players have worked diligently and shown  great responsibility in doing all that is practicable to help suppress the spread of the virus. However, the official measure of infection, the R-number, which represents infection rates, remains high in certain areas of the country and contextualises our ongoing efforts.

For now, our focus will remain on preparing and supporting clubs and members to be ready for the time when we are able to return to physically distanced squash. Scottish Squash will continue to work alongside Public Health Scotland to understand what else is required to generate the confidence necessary to enable us to launch physically distanced squash as soon as possible.

Your continued support matters to the future of squash in Scotland. Thank you to all those  who have given their advice and encouragement at this difficult and frustrating time, and for your patience and understanding.

Club Support Forum video call #6 – Thursday 12th November 2020 (6.30-.7.30pm)

If your club have any questions or would like to discuss the detail in this update further we would very much like you to join us on the Club Support Forum video call on Thursday (12th) evening 6.30pm – 7.30pm. All club main contact(s) have been sent the full details, but please contact info@scottishsquash.org to receive a reminder of the details or to sign up for the call.

03/11/2020

COVID-19 Working Group update – 18+ Squash Activity

We wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate our update released on Sunday (1st November) in regard to squash activity for players aged 18 years and above.

A proposal to seek physically distanced squash (i.e. front & back, side to side conditioned activity) to allow two adults (18+) from different households is currently being considered by the Scottish Government. We would like to thank all the clubs, players and coaches who continue to engage through our regular communication channels and to sportscotland for their support in finalising this proposal.

It is the introduction of the Scottish Government’s 5-level strategic framework on Monday (2nd November) that has enabled the proposal above to be submitted. We await feedback on its potential inclusion and, if approved, at what level(s). We will update everyone connected with squash in Scotland via our regular communication channels when we are able to do so.

SSL COVID-19 Working Group

We are pleased to confirm that the ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ has now been updated (version 5) to reflect the introduction of the new 5-level system that will come into effect from Monday 2nd November 2020.

The full updated guidance document can be accessed via the COVID section of the Scottish Squash website and via the following link: https://www.scottishsquash.org/guidance-for-squash/

With the introduction of the Scottish Government’s new 5-level system comes the opportunity for the sport to publish the route back to unconditioned/regular squash. Please click here to view a summary for squash in regard to the new 5-level system. This is the first time we have been in a position to confirm this route since the earlier indicative dates for a return for indoor contact sport were shared but subsequently withdrawn.

We are continuing to work with sportscotland to seek approval from Scottish Government to allow coaches to be positioned on court and to seek approval for the introduction of physically distanced squash within the new 5-level system.

Please keep in contact and maintain a dialogue through our regular communication channels.

We can confirm that the following change will be made to the Squash Activity (3.5 & 4.5) and Squash Coaching (5.2) sections of the current ‘COVID-19 Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’:

  • all current conditions (i.e. unconditioned/regular squash) for children under 12 years old will be increased to apply to children and young people under 18 years old.

This will be applicable from 06:00 on Monday (2nd November) and all of the other squash specific conditions (as per sections 3.5, 4.5 & 5.2 for age 18+) will remain as they are in the current guidance. The non squash specific guidance will be updated in line with the latest official guidance for exercise and activity and we are aiming to release this in full as soon as possible.

At this point, we can also confirm that unconditioned/regular squash will return for children/young people and adults at Level 0. Similar to the above, full supporting guidance will be made available as soon as possible.

Furthermore, we are working with sportscotland to seek approval from Scottish Government to allow coaches to be positioned on court and to seek approval for the introduction of physically distanced squash.

We again thank everyone in the squash in Scotland community for their support in these difficult times. Please keep in contact and maintain a dialogue through our regular communication channels. In addition, the following Executive Staff are available this weekend should you have any specific questions or queries ahead of the introduction of the new 5-level system on Monday (2nd November):

Garry McKay, Chief Operating Officer – 07483 909 720

Allan McKay, Head of Coaching & Competitions – 07483 908 890

Dear squash player 

I wanted to write to thank you for your perseverance and support for our sport and set out our latest plans and hopes for the coming months.  

First, I hope you and your family and friends remain well, and are managing in the current circumstances, which are possibly the most difficult we have experienced for our nation and sport ever. 

I particularly wanted to thank those who have engaged in dialogue over the last few months. We are always open to discussion should you need any particular advice, help or support. 

The team at Scottish Squash have been working to ensure that squash players across the country are safe and well. We continue to work with sportscotland and Scottish Government to keep players as active as possible and play as much as possible within Scottish Government and national public health advice. A copy of the current guidance can be found here: https://www.scottishsquash.org/guidance-for-squash/  

In the context of COVID-19 regulations, squash is classified as an indoor contact sport. An indoor contact sport is defined as ‘a sport or activity in which the participants necessarily come into bodily contact or as a matter of course encroach within 2 metres of one another’. As such, until indoor contact sport is allowed, squash can only be practised under strict guidelines. The national public health advice in Scotland may differ from other Home Nations as has been seen by the differing restrictions applied in England.  

On Friday 23rd October 2020, the Scottish Government outlined a new 5-level system/strategic approach to tackle the coronavirus. This new approach is set out in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework document. 

We wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on the current work and priorities of the Scottish Squash COVID-19 Working Group as we move towards the introduction of the new 5-level system from 2nd November 2020. 

The strategic framework was debated in parliament on Tuesday 27th October and will be finalised this week. Once finalised, the official guidance for exercise and activity will be updated. We will then be in a position to finalise squash specific guidance for clubs, players, coaches and competitions in Scotland. Specifically, we are hoping that the new 5-level system will allow us to release guidance (for clubs, players, coaches & competitions) specific to each of the 5 levels. 

In summary, the impact on sport and exercise – aligned to the public health advice – at each level is as follows: 

Level  Sports & Exercise 
Level 0  All sporting activity permitted 
Level 1  No adult (18+) indoor contact sport (except professional sport) 
Level 2  Same as level 1. 
Level 3  No adult (18+) indoor non-contact group sport / exercise or adult (18+) indoor contact sport. No outdoor adult (18+) contact sport (except professional sport). 
Level 4  Indoor sports facilities closed. No outdoor contact sport allowed for any age (except professional sport). 

Since March, we have lobbied hard and asked challenging questions on your behalf to try to bring about a return to full play whilst taking our responsibility to keep people safe seriously. In incredibly difficult circumstances, through our lobbying and consultation with Scottish Government, we have achieved the following (pending confirmation of the strategic framework referenced above being finalised): 

  • the age for unrestricted squash will move from under 12s to under 18s; 
  • the overarching framework will be adapted once more to enable a new system with 5 levels of restrictions; and 
  • squash guidance will be able to be applied relevant to each local authority and level. 

We will continue to keep the health of our squash community and all players at the forefront of any decisions that are made, and will continue to keep clubs updated through our usual communication channels, and all the latest advice will continue to be made available on our website. 

Following guidance is important for your safety, and the safety of those around you. And I would reiterate we are doing all we can to get squash playing back as much as possible as soon as possible.  

We thank you again for your support and patience at this difficult time, hope you remain well, and encourage you to keep fit, stay safe and follow all health and safety guidance. Please keep in contact and maintain a dialogue through our regular communication channels. 

Thanks 

Mark Adderley 

President, Scottish Squash

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on Wednesday 7th October, outlining further temporary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus (that came into effect from Friday 9th October), we wanted to take this opportunity to confirm that our current guidance (published on Wednesday 26th August) remains up to date and applicable for squash clubs, facilities and players across the country. Although there are no specific changes to the guidance; squash clubs, facilities and players should note the additional information provided in ‘Appendix 1 – Local Measures & Restrictions’ (section 8, page 31).

Whilst we appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating time for squash clubs, facilities and players across Scotland, especially given the current and ongoing restrictions for play, we would like to thank you for your continued patience and for all your ongoing efforts to ensure that our sector maintains our collective responsibility to do all that we can to continue to suppress the spread of the virus.

All partners across the sporting system are committed to the safe return of sport. However, recent figures serve as a timely reminder that the virus has not gone away and we understand the very difficult decisions taken by the Scottish Government as it continues to deal with what is a public health emergency.

In the meantime, the Working Group are continuing to work with sportscotland and the Scottish Government to address the challenges that still need to be overcome before the delivery of sport in local communities and at a club level will be considered in any way back towards anything like normal.

In closing, please find below a personal message from the Scottish Squash President, Mark Adderley, and we would encourage you all to share this message and the update above with the wider squash community.

A message from the President. “We recognise the difficult circumstances many of you are operating within and we are keen to ensure that we are all supporting each other and looking towards the future of squash together. Scottish Squash is your governing body and your organisation. We have asked for and responded to your feedback provided during these difficult times. Government advice and regulation has been complex and fast-changing, so we have been supporting clubs, players and coaches by providing access to clear guidance, financial expertise, individual support and advice. Should you need access to any of the webinars or advice, then please check our website or get in touch via info@scottishsquash.org

We have lobbied and listened carefully to The Scottish Government and responded accordingly. In Scotland, we see that the government recognise and invest in safe, compliant and reliant organisations and we have worked hard to present ourselves in this way. We are ready to go, and have guidance prepared, once the way is clear, to play full squash safely. This will ensure that when the time is right, we will be well positioned to move forwards accordingly.  

We have worked with and listened to you, our member clubs. We understand that the Scottish Squash message may be a difficult message to share with players and members who may be frustrated, want to get back to playing squash as soon as possible and want value for money for their membership. To this end, we want to listen further to your challenges, plan a financial way forward, and work together to support each other through these challenging times. For players, there are ‘getting ready’ videos to build fitness in preparation for getting back on court, that can be found via our website or on our social media channels, and for clubs we have a revised approach to membership.

We hope that you will continue to support your governing body and share with your members what we are all trying to achieve, the challenges we are all facing and the resources that we have developed. Please do let us know what else you need to help you to weather this storm, and we will continue to do all that we can to support your needs.”

 Mark Adderley. President, Scottish Squash

18/09/2020

COVID-19 Update – Updated Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland

The Scottish Squash COVID-19 Working Group can confirm that the ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ has been enhanced to include the addition of The Scottish Government’s ‘extended households’ within the permitted activity for household squash (see sections 3.5, 4.5 & 5.2 for full details). For the definition of an ‘extended household’, please visit The Scottish Government website via the link below:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/pages/seeing-friends-and-family/#Extended%20households

Further updates and additions to the ‘Guidance for Squash Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’ should be noted as per the sections listed below:

  • 3.1 Club Management
  • 3.3 & 4.7 Health, Safety & Hygiene
  • 3.4 & 4.8 Test & Protect
  • 3.7 & 5.7 Bookings & Payments
  • 3.9 Equality & Inclusion

To access the full ‘Guidance for Squash, Clubs, Players, Coaches and Competitions in Scotland’, please follow the link below:

https://www.scottishsquash.org/guidance-for-squash/

Whilst we appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating time for squash clubs, facilities and players across Scotland, especially given the current restrictions for play, we would like to thank you for your continued patience and for all your ongoing efforts to ensure that our sector maintains our collective responsibility to do all that we can to continue to suppress the spread of the virus.

In the meantime, the Working Group are continuing to work with sportscotland and Scottish Government to review and update both the general guidance and the return to performance sport guidance, and will continue to endeavour to ensure that squash can move through the phases of its return in line with Scottish Government advice. At the moment, the new indicative date for a return to indoor contact sport (subject to guidance) is Monday 5th October, pending the First Minister’s announcement on the 1st October review.

Following the latest update to the Scottish Government’s route map, as outlined by the First Minister on Thursday 10th September, we wanted to take this opportunity to confirm that our current guidance (published on Wednesday 26th August) remains up to date and applicable for squash clubs, facilities and players across the country.

Whilst we appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating time for squash clubs, facilities and players across Scotland, especially given the current restrictions for play, we would like to thank you for your continued patience and for all your ongoing efforts to ensure that our sector maintains our collective responsibility to do all that we can to continue to suppress the spread of the virus. With that in mind, we would encourage all of you to promote the Protect Scotland app which has been designed to help us protect each other by reducing the spread of coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns.

In the meantime, the Working Group are continuing to work with sportscotland and Scottish Government to review and update both the general guidance and the return to performance sport guidance, and will continue to endeavour to ensure that squash can move through the phases of its return in line with Scottish Government advice. At the moment, the new indicative date for a return to indoor contact sport (subject to guidance) is Monday 5th October, pending the First Minister’s announcement on the 1st October review.

This week marks an important next step towards the return of sport in communities across the country with indoor sports courts and swimming pools now able to reopen in line with the latest Scottish Government public health guidance.

The Scottish Sports Governing Bodies Forum and Executive Group welcomes Monday’s communication from Stewart Harris, CEO, sportscotland announcing the release of a £1.5m COVID Support Fund to support Scotland’s sporting system (sportscotland set up £1.5m Covid support fund for governing bodies). This timely statement recognises that whilst progress has been made with the re-opening of sports facilities across Scotland, this does not mean a full restart of sport as we know it and that many sports, particularly those reliant on accessing indoor sports facilities for club training and competition, face a much slower return as Local Trusts and leisure operators take a cautious and phased approach to the re-opening of their facilities.

We want to see more progress made in line with the latest public health guidance at all levels of sport, to ensure that clubs and local communities have access to facilities. The SGB Forum continues working with partners across the sporting system including sportscotland, the Scottish Government and Local Authorities and Local Trusts to bring about the safe return of sport, and is committed to ensuring that all of Scotland’s sports club members, volunteers and communities can access critical and much loved sporting and physical activity opportunities as soon as possible.

However, whilst there is a clear desire from all partners to reopen facilities and get our sports into these facilities as quickly as is safely possible, the ongoing difficulties presented by COVID-19, including facility staff on furlough, training requirements and venue remodelling to comply with social distancing measures, means that it is unlikely that all venues will be able to reopen fully for some time to come.

In the meantime, as a sector, we need the support, understanding and backing of all our clubs and members now more than ever as we work to protect the rich sporting fabric of our nation and strive to bring sporting activity back to being at the heart of our Scottish communities once more. 

The Scottish Governing Bodies Forum

The announcement by the First Minister that indoor sport facilities and gyms can reopen from 31 August onwards, is the latest step forward in relation to the phased return of sport at all levels, as we continue to follow the Scottish Government’s route-map through and out of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Scottish Squash welcomes the announcement. In recent months a wide range of partners across the sporting system, including the Scottish Government, sportscotland, Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs), local authorities and leisure trusts, the third sector, as well as the further and higher education sector have been working together to progress plans for the safe return of sport, in line with the latest public health guidance. The reopening of facilities, which will play a key role in Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic, will be widely welcomed by clubs, individuals and the wider public. However, it is important to recognise that several challenges including the current economic landscape still need to be overcome before the delivery of sport in local communities and at a club level will be considered in any way back towards anything like normal.

While the desire from all partners to reopen facilities is clear, the difficulties presented by COVID-19 means that it is unlikely that all venues will be able to do so on day one, or for some time to come. Reduced capacities due to the required physical distancing will have a direct impact on the operational capabilities of venue operators and the economic viability of some facilities. We understand this will be frustrating for many people but while we all continue to work towards our shared goals and objectives, the continued support, patience and understanding of everyone involved, is more important than before.

As a sector we are committed to working together to address the challenges that still lie ahead. We want to see more progress made in line with the latest public health guidance at all levels of sport, to ensure that clubs and local communities have access to facilities, and that will remain our number one priority. From Monday 31st August the Government confirm that the following will be allowed:

  • Indoor sports facilities: All indoor sports facilities will be able to re-open following appropriate guidance. Scottish Government has published general guidance  for these facilities, while sportscotland has updated its Getting your Facilities Fit for Sport guidance with further information for specific types of facilities.
  • Children under 12: Will be able to undertake both contact and non-contact sports activity in indoor facilities. Relevant SGBs will publish guidance for undertaking their sports activity.
  • Adults and young people aged 12 and over: Will only be able to participate in non-contact sports activity in indoor facilities. Relevant SGBs will publish guidance for undertaking their sports activity.

The Scottish Squash COVID-19 Working Group wish to highlight what this means for squash clubs, facilities, and players across Scotland:

  1. Currently we remain in Phase Three of the government route map and there will be no change to the squash specific guidance until Monday 31 August.
  1. The Scottish Squash COVID-19 Working Group have taken the guidance from Government as outlined above and have been preparing the general guidance for squash clubs, facilities and players.
  1. Government now require Scottish Squash to submit the guidance for approval i.e. demonstrating how squash will meet social distancing and hygiene standards and limit any potential for transmission of COVID-19.
  1. It is likely that this will initially involve:
    4.1. Solo squash and household squash for players aged 12 and over
    4.2. Regular unconditioned squash for under 12’s only
  1. Upon approval by Government, and as soon as possible prior to 31st August, Scottish Squash will share a comprehensive Return to Squash Guidance document.
  1. Scottish Squash will ask clubs to ‘sign up to’ and implement the guidance

A further Government review date is expected on 10 September which may indicate a further relaxation of restrictions and here it is our intention to drive for a full return to Squash. Therefore, the period from 31st August is an important review point for the sport. We recommend that you work through the guidance; use the period of restricted squash activity to test procedures and embed new protocols. Take time to ensure that our facilities, and also our bodies, are fit for a return to squash.

In terms of local restrictions, where a locality or region is subject to localised restrictions, not all of the changes above will apply. Details of local restrictions are available here. Public health and wellbeing remain the most pressing priority, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to continue to suppress the spread of the virus. Once again, thank you for your continued support and patience, and please stay safe and well.

Mark Adderley

Chair

Following a formal communication sent to the First Minister on the morning of 30th July 2020 from 32 individual Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGB), the SGB CEO Forum welcomes the recognition by the First Minister of the requirement to move forward the re-opening of sports facilities.

As a sector, we are disappointed that the indicative timescale for a return to sport is not sooner. We have submitted evidence in mitigation of any risk to public health and ask for clarification as to what more compelling information is required to ensure our sports can return to activity and competition within the indicative dates given.

However, we will continue to work with The Scottish Government and sportscotland to understand the level of evidence we need to provide so all requirements for indoor sport to safely return in late August can be met. As ever, we will react positively to any encouragement from The Scottish Government to review the dates.

We are especially concerned for those SGBs which only have the small 2020 summer window to restart their sport and competitions. Without access to facilities – both indoor and outdoor, wet and dry – our member Clubs cannot function and cannot contribute effectively to the recovery that the whole of Scotland so desperately wants and needs.

As we are all aware the reality is that ‘sport-in-Scotland’ is more than just ‘sport’. This has been clearly demonstrated through the national focus on maintaining daily physical activity throughout lockdown and effectively contributes to the social fabric of our local communities as a whole through (although not exclusively):

  • The health and wellbeing of the Scottish Nation;
  • Equality and inclusion;
  • Contributing to effective learners;
  • Mental health and wellbeing;
  • Tackling obesity;
  • Social inclusion; and
  • Women and Girls in Sport.

With confirmation that other public spaces and venues in Scotland are now reopening and in recognition of the immense challenges facing the restart of the Scottish sporting sector, the SGB CEO Forum wish to work quickly with Scottish Government, sportscotland and facility operators to establish a clear strategy to resume sport, for our members, clubs and communities.

Scottish Squash fully supports the collective drive of Scottish Governing Bodies to reopen as many sport facilities in Scotland as quickly and safely as possible.

Scottish Squash welcomes the Scottish Government update of 9th July on the move to Phase Three of the route map out of lockdown, however, the Scottish Squash COVID-19 Working Group wish to reiterate what this means for squash clubs, facilities and players across the country.

Whilst we appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating time for squash clubs, facilities and players across Scotland, the updated guidance confirmed that indoor gyms and sports facilities (which includes any squash club/facility) will not be able to re-open before Friday 31st July, 2020. An update will be provided on 30th July, however, any dates for their re-opening (with physical distancing & enhanced hygiene measures) remains unconfirmed.

This means that all squash clubs and facilities should remain closed until further notice – this includes anyone wishing to engage in solo practice or members of the same household playing on a squash court.

Working Group update – preparing for a return when safe to do so

The Scottish Squash COVID-19 Working Group are continuing to develop resources (to include items such as: step-by-step guidance for reopening, safety posters & a pro forma risk assessment template) for clubs and members. Any publication of such guidance and resources will require thorough consideration of the full details of any further announcements from The Scottish Government.

In line with Scottish Government advice, we are also working closely with sportscotland’s Institute of Sport to explore the possibility of an earlier return to work for any of Scotland’s professional squash players. Targeted communication with this particular group is ongoing.

Thank you for your continued support and patience, and please stay safe and well.

Mark Adderley

Chair

25/06/2020

COVID-19 Update – Latest Government Advice

Scottish Squash welcomes the further announcement from the First Minister yesterday (24th June) that shows further progression through the route map and potential early steps to move in to Phase 3. We wanted to reiterate what this means for squash clubs, facilities and players across the country.

At the current moment the guidance remains the same and The Scottish Government are clear in that indoor sports facilities cannot re-open in Phase 1 or Phase 2. This means that all squash clubs and facilities should remain closed until further notice – this includes anyone wishing to engage in solo practice or members of the same household playing on a squash court.

From the information announced on Wednesday 24th June it appears there will be a further announcement in the next couple of weeks which should include a date of when indoor gyms can open, this announcement may give an indication of a date when we can begin a return to squash activity, however this date is unlikely to be before Thursday 23rd July.

We continue to work closely with The Scottish Government, sportscotland, other governing bodies and the WSF/PSA to progress plans for the return of squash when it is safe to do so. In line with Scottish Government advice, we are also working closely with sportscotland’s Institute of Sport to explore the return to work for any of Scotland’s professional squash players. Targeted communication with this particular group is ongoing.

Additional Support

We appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating and difficult time for us all, so we would like to remind clubs and members of the information and resources which may be of help at this time. Colleagues at sportscotland and Harper Macleod LLP have produced useful information and guidance for sports clubs in Scotland and seeks to address some of the common questions that clubs may have during this time. Please click HERE for details.

sportscotland have also produced a comprehensive and useful guidance document for owners and operators of sports clubs and facilities (please click HERE to access the document). It contains a plethora of considerations, and potential work/tasks, to bring a facility/club out of lockdown, especially if it has been completely dormant, with no routine maintenance. This guidance should always be followed according to the current stage/phase guidance from The Scottish Government route map, and adhering to any amendments or updates given to that guidance.

Clubs are also reminded that there is a Club Support Forum now in operation, where key representatives from squash clubs across Scotland are coming together to share learning and best practice during the current pandemic. Each club can nominate one adult (18+) representative to join the forum. If you, or your club, are interested in joining the forum, please email ross.cairns @scottishsquash.org with the email address of the individual you would like to represent your club in the forum.

Thank you for your continued support and patience, and please stay safe and well.

Mark Adderley

Chair

Following the First Minister’s announcement earlier today (June 18th), and as Scotland begins to move to Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s route map, we wanted to reiterate what this means for squash clubs, facilities and players across the country.

The Scottish Government guidelines are clear in that indoor sports facilities cannot re-open in Phase 1 or Phase 2. This means that all squash clubs and facilities should remain closed until further notice – this includes anyone wishing to engage in solo practice or members of the same household playing on a squash court.

Whilst the First Minister’s announcement to move to Phase 2 of the route map is a welcome step forward, allowing a further extension of exercise guidelines (albeit not yet being relevant to squash activity), Scottish Squash are keen to reiterate that public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority and that we all should continue to recognise our collective responsibility to do what we can to continue to suppress the spread of the virus.

Working Group update – Working through what a return may look like

We are continuing to work closely with The Scottish Government, sportscotland, other governing bodies and the WSF/PSA to progress plans for the return of squash when it is safe to do so and as part of future phases of the route map.

Currently, this work is exploring the possibility of a conditioned return to squash activity in Phase 3 of the route map. In line with any possible return during the recovery phase of the pandemic, we are developing resources (to include items such as: step-by-step guidance for reopening, safety posters & a pro forma risk assessment template) for clubs and members. Any publication of such guidance and resources will require thorough consideration of the full details of any further announcements from The Scottish Government.

In line with Scottish Government advice, we are also working closely with sportscotland’s Institute of Sport to explore the possibility of an earlier return to work for any of Scotland’s professional squash players. Targeted communication with this particular group is ongoing.

Additional Support

We appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating and difficult time for us all, so we would like to highlight information which may be of use for clubs and members. Colleagues at sportscotland and Harper Macleod LLP have produced useful information and guidance for sports clubs in Scotland and seeks to address some of the common questions that clubs may have during this time. Please click HERE for details.

sportscotland have also produced a comprehensive and useful guidance document for owners and operators of sports clubs and facilities (please click HERE to access the document). It contains a plethora of considerations, and potential work/tasks, to bring a facility/club out of lockdown, especially if it has been completely dormant, with no routine maintenance. This guidance should always be followed according to the current stage/phase guidance from The Scottish Government route map, and adhering to any amendments or updates given to that guidance.

Clubs are also reminded that there is a Club Support Forum now in operation, where key representatives from squash clubs across Scotland are coming together to share learning and best practice during the current pandemic. Each club can nominate one adult (18+) representative to join the forum. If you, or your club, are interested in joining the forum, please email ross.cairns @scottishsquash.org with the email address of the individual you would like to represent your club in the forum.

Mark Adderley

Chair

As previously outlined, a COVID-19 Working Group has been established to plan and prepare for the return of squash in Scotland when determined safe to do so by the Scottish Government. The priority of the Working Group is to enable the safe return of squash as soon as possible in a way that secures the health and wellbeing of all players, participants and public.

Scottish Government COVID-19 Routemap – Phase 1 & Phase 2

Whilst we recognise that it continues to be a frustrating time for clubs and players who are keen to return to playing squash, current Scottish Government guidelines are clear that indoor sports facilities cannot reopen in Phase 1 or Phase 2 (this includes squash clubs). We are all passionate about the sport and desperate to get back to playing, but we must all recognise that the return will take time and must be approached with both caution and care.

Working Group Update

The four sub-streams of the Working Group are meeting regularly to discuss and formulate plans specific to their area of focus. We are working closely with sportscotland, other governing bodies and the WSF/PSA to establish best practices and sensible measures that we can all take to ensure that clubs can open safely and that risks to players and staff are minimised. In preparation, we are developing resources (to include items such as: step-by-step guidance for reopening, safety posters & a pro forma risk assessment template) which will be shared appropriately in due course.

For now, there are issues clubs could begin to discuss and plan for, including:

  1. Leadership and management

Establish how staff will safely return, once permitted, to work under Scottish Government guidelines and if there is a minimum number of staff required to open and run the club. Is there someone in your team that can take the lead regarding COVID-19 and what support can they be given? At what point is it financially viable for the club to open, remembering there is very likely to be reduced income from bookings and secondary spend.

  • Club access and environment

All clubs are unique so consider what changes will be required to minimise risk at your facility including safe entry and exit of the club, and also how you will stop or limit use of the communal spaces. It is likely that any café/bar, changing facilities and showers will be closed at first, so what implications will this have? For instance, it will be necessary to ensure the club has sufficient cleaning and hygiene products and a more frequent cleaning schedule.

  • Court bookings

Review the court booking system to ensure that you can trace, contact and record who has been into the club and when. Consider your booking policy, as advance bookings are the safest way to regulate the number of people attending the club. Review how long is required between court bookings to allow for cleaning all common surfaces. Review start times and consider staggered court start times.

> A free online booking system (via SportyHQ) is available to all Scottish Squash member clubs. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity and would like support in setting this up for your club, please contact ross.cairns @scottishsquash.org to be added to the online support channel. Each club can nominate one adult (18+) representative to join the support channel.

  • Members/players

We all have a part to play in returning to squash safely. Members will need to adopt new habits such as bringing their own squash ball, taking spare towels and arriving to play ready in their kit, bringing their own water and even a small first aid kit, which might be unusual for them. How will you best communicate these changes with your members and keep them and your staff safe?

> A free online member communications system (via SportyHQ) is available to all Scottish Squash member clubs. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity and would like support in setting this up for your club, please contact ross.cairns @scottishsquash.org to be added to the online support channel. Each club can nominate one adult (18+) representative to join the support channel.

Club Support Forum

Clubs are also reminded that there is a Club Support Forum now in operation, where key representatives from squash clubs across Scotland are coming together to share learning and best practice during the current pandemic. Each club can nominate one adult (18+) representative to join the forum. If you, or your club, are interested in joining the forum, please email ross.cairns @scottishsquash.org with the email address of the individual you would like to represent your club in the forum.

Closing

When the time comes, our return to squash must be consistent with Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene – and we are working with sportscotland and Public Health Scotland to finalise all squash specific guidance as soon as possible. We will continue to keep everyone informed via regular updates.

Mark Adderley

Chair

We realise this is a difficult time for many, and are keen to bring squash back in a measured and safe way, and this update builds on what we have been doing to date to support the squash community in Scotland. It follows on from previous communications to our members, players, clubs and coaches, and builds on but does not replace our regular webinars, club forum and other support.

Scottish Squash’s Board of Directors have set up a Working Group to begin preparations to ensure that squash is ready to return at the appropriate time and in line with government and public health advice.

The Working Group is made up as follows:

Mark Adderley (President), Graeme Jones (Non Exec Director), Lisa Aitken (Non Exec Director), Garry McKay (Chief Operating Officer), Paul Bell (Director of Squash), Allan McKay (Head of Coaching & Competitions), David Fallon (Head of Development) and Kevin Ferguson (sportscotland).

The Working Group met on 19th May and have agreed to look at the work sub-streams outlined below, looking to seek the best advice and identify best practice to produce simple clear guidance to allow squash activity to resume safely. All of this will only be possible in line with government and public health advice.

Experts and experienced individuals from clubs and other relevant organisations are now invited to support the Working Group to consider:

  • General play/access to courts and facilities – to create guidance for clubs and facilities;

[Lead contact: garry.mckay@ scottishsquash.org]

  • Performance players – to create guidance to Scottish Squash performance squad athletes;

[Lead contact: lisa.aitken@ hotmail.co.uk]

  • Coaching – to create guidance to coaches; and

[Lead contact: allan.mckay@ scottishsquash.org]

  • Competitions – to create guidance for competition organisers

[Lead contact: allan.mckay@ scottishsquash.org]

The Working Group will aim to weave together the various work sub-streams to create a plan for the return of squash in Scotland when determined safe to do so by the Scottish Government.

Mark Adderley

Chair

Following the latest message from the Scottish Government, announced yesterday (7th May 2020), to confirm that the current lockdown has been extended for another three weeks, we wanted to let you know that we are closely monitoring the messages from the Scottish Government and are in regular communication with sportscotland, who are themselves in regular and direct dialogue with the Scottish Government about COVID-19 related matters.

Like all of you, our primary focus remains on ensuring the health and safety of all our staff, members, coaches, athletes and volunteers, and we can only encourage you to continue to adhere to government advice and to continue to look out for one another.

We are as keen as anyone to see the return of squash, and we have started discussions about how this might be possible, but we must stress that this will only be possible when the government and the NHS advice considers it safe to do so. We will keep you all updated when more information is available.

Take care.

Scottish Squash

Following the Government’s guidance that ‘all indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms’ should be closed from ‘the end of trading hours today (Friday 20 March) to limit (the) spread of coronavirus’, Scottish Squash are advising that all squash clubs and facilities should respond accordingly and close until further notice.

The full guidance can be viewed by following the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-further-measures-on-social-distancing

Scottish Squash are working closely with our lead investor, sportscotland, and other partners to look at how we can support clubs, coaches and players during this exceptionally difficult time. Clubs and facilities are also encouraged to continue to refer and follow the Government guidance for employees, employers and businesses, which can be viewed via the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19