Clarification from Question & Answer Session

We have written to British Orienteering to seek clarification of their 2nd club rule following last week’s question and answer session on our latest guidance. Scottish Orienteering understand the challenges imposed on some clubs/members by the restrictions of travel within local authority boundaries currently in place.

Early steps out of 2021 lockdown

The initial phase of returning to outdoor non-contact sports in Scotland has started: some restrictions are in place on the sporting activities: the intent is to keep sporting activities local and ensure that they are on a restricted scale.  Group size is restricted to a maximum of 15 – for orienteering where groups do not need to form, numbers of participants can be above 15 so long as the maximum groups size is 15 or less.  The event location and where participants live needs to be in the same local authority area, and the club organising the event and that of the participants should be the same.

A question has arisen as to whether people can belong to more than one open club as a route to increasing the opportunities to attend local events, particularly in high population density areas.  British Orienteering have confirmed that belonging to more than one open club is permitted.

Clubs may wish to consider whether they offer or allow membership for local events to people from other clubs who live locally, either permanently or temporarily.

A key element in such considerations is the need to avoid reputational damage to Scottish Orienteering arising from public perception of large events being run during the Covid pandemic.  Care will be needed around controlling both overall number of participants and the rate of processing starts (to avoid creation of groups).  Particular care or adjustment of numbers may be appropriate for competition areas that are popular with the general public.

Some recommended numbers aimed at controlling numbers and flow rates are:

  • Use a single start lane and restrict number of starters to 40 per hour (possibly in blocks of 10 over 10 minutes followed by a 5 minute period with no starts),
  • Limit overall numbers at local events to 70.

These arrangements are likely to be of relatively short duration as the current Scottish Government plan is to reintroduce the tier system for local authority areas at the end of April.  However, the main differences will only be felt in areas that then move to tier 2 or lower, and some central belt areas just now remain at infection levels that may lead to higher tier allocations.