We’ve been back on the water since April and we’re and loving it.
Since Monday’s announcement we’ll be sticking with social distancing and hand gel a while longer, but the great news is that being on the water is still one of the safest places to be – and one of the best for your physical and mental health too.
Here’s how the Government roadmap affects us:
Step 3: Currently
We’re running sessions for up to 30 people4 with social distancing measures in place. The council run changing rooms and toilets remain closed (there are public toilets nearby).
Step 4: 19 July
Following Government review we’re hoping we can lift all social distancing measures, open changing rooms and toilets, and work with groups of any size.
1: “The Government will also allow outdoor sports facilities to reopen, broadening the
options for outdoor exercise and recreation. These facilities, such as tennis and
basketball courts, and swimming pools, can be used by people in line with the wider
social contact limits. ” (102)
2: “Formally organised outdoor sports – for adults and under 18s –
can also restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be
compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies.” (102)
3: “Social contact rules in England will not change further at this point. Outdoor
gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households as in Step 1, and no
indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt.” (109)
4: “The Government will lift most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors, but
gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal. Indoors, people will be
able to meet socially in a group of 6, or with 1 other household, though it may be
possible to go further than this at Step 3 depending on the data. People will be asked
to follow guidance on how to meet safely, for example by minimising the size of
gatherings and meeting outdoors where possible.” (124)
ARE OUTDOOR SPORTS LIKE PADDLEBOARDING SAFE?
Airborne transmission is a significant route by which COVID-19 passes between
people. Particles of the virus can build up and circulate in the air in the form of
aerosols in enclosed spaces (even if they are large) especially where air exchange is
poor. This makes indoor settings more risky than outdoors, where the fresh air
quickly disperses the virus to safe levels. This is confirmed by observational studies
tracing people infected with COVID-19 which shows the majority of transmission
occurs in indoor settings and that ‘super spreader’ events (where many people are
infected at one time) are more likely indoors than outdoors.
Though the airborne risk of COVID-19 transmission is much lower outdoors thanhttps://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963491/COVID-19_Response_-_Spring_2021.pdf (Indoor and Outdoor Transmition)
inside, the risk of infection via larger droplets remains high if people engage in
prolonged, face-to-face close contact with others. Therefore, maintaining 2m
distancing outdoors is still advisable. Outdoor surfaces may also still become
contaminated with the virus, so it is also important to be mindful of what shared
objects, e.g. playground surfaces and gate handles, are touched, and to maintain
regular hand washing.
THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC VALUE OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Sports, amusement and recreational activities were worth an estimated £12.8 billion
in the UK in 2019 (£11 billion in England), providing around 565,000 jobs (484,000
in England). The easing of measures could enable some of these activities to return
and take advantage of the spring/summer season and recover lost revenues. These
businesses are particularly important employers for young people, with 37% of their
workforce between 16 to 24 years old (compared to a national average of 11%).
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTHhttps://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963491/COVID-19_Response_-_Spring_2021.pdf (Socio-economic analysis of step 1)
Opening outdoor sports settings will help to reduce the adverse physical and mental
health effects experienced by large parts of the population, in particular children and
those living alone. Exercise and outdoor sports are well documented to reduce
individuals’ risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and
cancer by up to 50% and lower risk of early death by up to 30%. Physical activity is
also known to help with improving mental health through better sleep, happier
moods, and managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and ‘racing’ thoughts.