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Rules on indoor schools use and training clarified as lockdown continues

While equestrian activity can resume in England, indoor schools should remain closed during the current Covid-19 situation.

In an updated statement today (21 May) British Equestrian (BEF) has provided further guidance following the announcement that riding centres, training facilities and venues could reopen in England. Current lockdown restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland restrict riding for exercise only and preferably within the boundaries of where the horse is kept.

“Indoor schools do not fall under outdoor facilities and as such should remain closed to the public and clients at present. An outdoor arena with a roof (but no sides/walls of any construction) is permissible,” read the statement.

“If access to an outdoor facility and/or toilets is via an indoor arena, this is permissible solely for access and two metre social distancing must be maintained.”

The statement added clients should visit as an individual, with members of their household, or meet with one individual from another household (fellow client or coach) while complying with social distancing at all times.

“Any coaching activity must be on a one-to-one basis – just a coach and pupil. This means no group lessons, clinics or coaching sessions are permitted, even if the pupils are from the same household.”

BEF chairman Malcolm Wharton said in any dialogue with Sport England and the Sport & Recreation Alliance, the position on outdoor activity has been made “very clear”.

“We understand this may be a source of frustration for some, but we have to conform to the advice given by government and implement the guidance to the letter. This is the first stage in moving us out of lockdown and, for some, it will take longer to be in a position to open their facilities, but I would ask them to show patience,” he said.

“We all have a part to play and if we continue to support the guidance and the numbers around the coronavirus continue on a downward trend, then equestrian facilities can fully open for business.”

Under BEF guidance, outdoor venues should reopen only when they are confident they can fulfil the requirements, and are in a position to reduce any risk of transmission for their staff and clients. This includes:

· Any activity should fully align with government guidance regarding public health, social distancing and hygiene

· All attendees can maintain the social distancing standard of two metres

· Good hygiene practice is implemented throughout opening, including hand-washing facilities and/or hand sanitiser stations, and frequent cleaning

· Anyone involved who is symptomatic or suspects they have been exposed to the virus does not take part and remains at home

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· Participants should be individuals, members of the same household, or two people from different households with social distancing at all times. Any coaching activity must be on a one-to-one basis

· Organisations/venues should publish an action plan detailing their plans to re-open safely and how they’re managing risk

· Organisations/venues should be flexible and able to quickly adapt to any changes in government guidelines

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