Bowls SA, State Government relax Coronavirus health restrictions for lawn bowls clubs

by BowlsSA3

Lawn bowls is one of the first sports to relax COVID-19 health restrictions with SA bowlers allowed back on the greens.

Bowls SA announced Thursday bowling venues could be used again – but with strict social distancing and hygiene practices in place – after consulting the State Government.

In March, all SA bowls competitions were suspended and the majority of local bowling clubs have been closed since.

Bowlers will now be allowed to practice and play in social matches and club competitions such as singles or pairs events but pennant competitions and major events remain suspended.

The lifted restrictions only apply to outdoor greens. Indoor venues are still banned.

Bowl SA chief executive Mark Easton said each club would be able to decide whether to remain closed or open depending on its ability to uphold the restrictions.

They include only four people to play together at one time with 1.5m physical distancing rules to be observed, one empty rink between each rink in use and a maximum of 10 people allowed in a venue at a time with booking systems to be put in place to control numbers.

Players will also practice safe hygiene, use separate mats and jacks and leave the premises immediately after finishing play and cleaning equipment.

“Thankfully bowls is in a position where we can play, although with restrictions, as long as people abide by the rules and use common sense,” Easton said.

“We’ve opened it up to clubs to allow their members to go and have a roll or practice.”

“We’re taking it slow and steady … at the moment it’s 10 people (per venue) and hopefully over time we can lift that to 20 people, then 30 people.”

Adelaide Bowling Club president John Higgins said the club would be open to members, though he did not expect bowlers to rush back to the greens.

“Everybody misses their bowls … but it’s going to have to be strictly controlled,” Higgins said.

“Most of our membership consists of those who are in the high risk age group and you obviously have to be careful.”

Somerton Bowling Club president Russ Thomson said the Seagulls would continue to follow State Government direction.

“We expect all our members to be responsible and there shouldn’t be any issues (with playing),” Thomson said.

“Bowls clubs for a lot of people – and it’s not just older people – it’s their social engagement and a big part of their life.

“This is a small step towards getting that back for people that depend on it.”