Is it wise to play sport at the moment?
In a COVID-19 meeting on Wednesday 18th March between the Federal Minister of Youth and Sport, leading health experts from the Australian Government Department of Health and Sport Australia's CEO with National Sporting Organisations including Touch Football Australia (TFA), the experts advised that community sport could play on. There are health and mental wellbeing benefits that participating in sport provides people and communities. All health experts in the meeting reassured us that the risks of participating in sport are low as long as people who are unwell do not attend, and as long as the new Community Sport Guidelines released by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) are adhered to (see below). It was also communicated that while high-contact sports may pose a greater transmission risk, the risk of infection in a minimal-contact sport such as Touch Football, where contact is also not prolonged, is low.
What are the AHPPC Community Sport Guidelines?
The guidelines outline the infection transmission risk mitigation strategies that are now being recommended for Australians as they go about their daily lives elsewhere (in workplaces, public transport, educational facilities and on public transport, for instance), as well as guidelines specific to sport.
Get the the Community Sport Guidelines relevant to Touch Football competitions by clicking here (this is a poster you can print to stick up at your venue).
Click here for further info around the Guidelines: https://touchfootball.com.au/news/2020/03/19/new-community-sport-guidelines-to-minimise-covid-19-infection-risk/
How can you practise ‘social distancing’ at a Touch Football competition when players are touching each other?
Social distancing is about avoiding ‘close contact’ – contact that involves 15 minutes face-to-face, or being in the same room as others for two hours or more. While spectators at Touch games should practise social distancing by remaining at least 1.5m from others because they are likely to be in static close proximity, players on a field do not have prolonged contact.
The Community Sport Guidelines recommend not handshaking, hugging, kissing or sharing high-fives.
We have recommended the removal of sub-boxes so players and coaches have more room on the sideline, and we are asking competitions to not use clubhouses or to serve food and drinks at their venues to reduce the risk of close contact for prolonged periods of time.
What are the current guidelines around size of gatherings/events?
The Australian Government has advised that non-essential gatherings of 500 or more people in the one place at the one time should not be held. (Some states are enforcing this rule.) Prime Minister Scott Morrison has referenced that this means static events, events where people are together for a period of at least two hours or more. But TFA has advised that Touch Football competitions of more than 500 people in the one location at a single time should not run. If you run a large competition night or day that could push 500 people at a time, TFA, NSWTA and QTF have suggested strategies to help reduce the number of attendees present, eg: if possible, lengthen gaps between timeslots, run a competition over several nights or locations, and discourage spectator attendance. The Prime Minister more recently discouraged ‘indoor’ events of 100 or more. If your competition has a clubhouse or other indoor area, encourage people to congregate outdoors rather than indoors.
What if the government recommendations change?
TFA will continue to listen to the experts – if the guidelines change, we will adjust our direction for community competitions. We all have to remain flexible in these uncertain times. We will continue to monitor the situation, seek advice from government health experts and keep our members informed of the latest information.
I plan to participate in or attend a Touch Football event in the near future – will the event go ahead?
Near-future events of 500 participants or more or that involve many participants travelling intercity or interstate have been cancelled or postponed. Communications about these events have been going out on TFA and state association websites and social media channels, as well as via email where relevant. If you are seeking information about specific national events that were scheduled to start within the next two months, reach out to TFA via firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your state association.
Can you contract COVID-19 from sweat?
No, we have been advised that the virus is not transmitted by sweat, but rather through droplets from coughs or sneezes.
What happens if someone who has been playing at a Touch Football competition has been tested for COVID-19 or is diagnosed with the virus?
If you have to be tested for COVID-19 and have played Touch Football within the past 14 days (or if you find out you have the virus), please email email@example.com asap to notify TFA. When required, TFA will inform relevant parties so information can be distributed to those who need it.
I’m a Touch Football Affiliate and someone in our competition has been tested for the virus – what should I do?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org asap and someone will be in contact with you to discuss the next steps.
Am I insured through Touch Football if I contract the virus?
No, your insurance will only cover you for personal injury just the same as if you get the flu or any other illness.