There were 23 new cases of Covid-19 in County Donegal over the last fourteen days and with the number of people seeking tests in recent days increasing the upward trend in cases could well continue over the coming fortnight.
It has been wonderful to have our Gaelic games back on stream over the last month. The GAA has worked hard with the HSE to develop Guidance and Protocols to minimize risks associated with spreading Covid-19 infections. If players and spectators are to continue to enjoy the return of football and hurling then we all need to be vigilant and heed the Guidance. For players and officials these include following basic sanitation procedures and adhering to hygiene best practice, diligence with regard to health questionnaires and monitoring health, observing regulations on social distancing at matches and training and downloading the covid-tracker app.
Club officials should ensure government guidelines such as; restricting capacity to 200 persons including playing squads, officials, media and grounds staff is observed; providing sanitation stations; making sure players, managers, parents and spectators are continually reminded of appropriate Guidance; etc. The “Wellness, Covid 19” tab on DonegalGAA.ie contains a number of different PDF documents giving guidance to players, spectators, clubs and media. The link below is the most comprehensive of these documents:
Clubs are making their own arrangements to cope with the impact of these restrictions including the streaming of games on their club website, Youtube or Facebook page. CLG Dhún na nGall hope to stream as many as possible Championship knockout games in September. Spectators who do attend should be aware all the risks posed from Covid-19 cannot be eliminated but essential control measures are in place to reduce risk. It is also asked that:
- spectators do not attend games if they display any symptoms of Covid-19 and instead should phone their GP and follow public health advice;
- individuals considered high risk or are in close contact with others who are considered high risk should not attend games;
- much of the responsibility for managing Covid-19 risk remains with people themselves particularly in relation to social distancing, wearing of face coverings and sanitation;
- GAA grounds will have santization stations but all spectators are still encouraged to bring their own hand sanitiser;
- face coverings are strongly advised for all patrons over the age of 13;
- spectators must not enter the field of play at any time including pre-match, at half-time and other intervals and after the final whistle;
- spectators should keep their own record of contacts at a match for potential tracing purposes;
- all spectators are encouraged to download the HSE tracing app
- the current public health guidance advises a social distance of 2m be maintained between people. Where small groups of people are clustered together at games they should be from the same household;
- before, between and after games it is essential that spectators do not congregate in groups in the vicinity of the grounds as social distancing and contact tracing measures will be compromised and the potential risk of transmission higher;
- any patron with any symptoms of Covid-19 either before entering or while in the ground are advised to alert stewards and will be advised to go home immediately and contact their GP. In the unlikely event that a patron presenting with symptoms is not in a position to go home there is an isolation room available while waiting on the HSE/Department of Health and Social Services to respond.