Covid-19 Bowls in South Australia update

by BowlsSA2 on April 29, 2020

I would like to thank each of you for your engagement with Bowls SA throughout these extraordinary times as we move through the COVID-19 health crisis.  Bowls SA recognises and understands the immense contribution Bowls makes to the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of South Australians.

As you would be aware, Bowls like all sporting organisations has a role to play in helping stopping the spread of COVID-19, so we can get sport back up and running across South Australia.

Bowls SA in consultation with the South Australian Government and with leading medical organisations, have recently revised and upgraded its recommendation  from a previous cease all Bowls activities to permitting restrictive participation.

“In South Australia, Bowling venues can be used subject to strict social distancing and hygiene practices being implemented”

This information is in line with the latest directive put in place by South Australian State Coordinator, Commissioner Stevens, including an exemption allowing outdoor sporting and recreational venues to be utilised. This directive also specifies that in South Australia, Bowling venues can be used subject to strict social distancing and hygiene practices being implemented with the total number of people participating in all activity at the venue not exceeding 10 and the density requirement of one person per four square metres must be adhered to at any one given time.

We all know Bowls is a unique sport with many benefits – the main one being health and wellbeing. Bowls clubs across South Australia are all different and operate in different local contexts. They are also independent organisations and businesses.

Making an assessment of whether a safe exercise environment can be provided also depends on a range of factors, which will apply differently at each venue – it is the responsibility of each Bowls Board of Administration to make that assessment based on their local environment on whether to remain close or restrictively open. For any Club pursuing restrictive opening in lieu of closure, Bowls SA recommends that this is administered to the individual Membership of the respective venue.

Bowls SA remains committed to complying with advice provided by levels of Government for all bowling activities under its control. All Associations  and their affiliated Bowling Clubs must also give absolute priority to the safety and well-being of participants, especially for those over 60-years of age.

The communication recently provided by Bowls Australia (as per below) is an endeavour to provide initial guidelines on how Clubs can  open for use to help ensure people remain active, subject to strict social distancing and hygiene practices being implemented.  As long as the following guidelines are followed, bowls activity can include practice and/or roll ups, social play and smaller club competitions (e.g. singles and pairs events) on outdoor greens only. There is to be no play on indoor greens.

The responsibility lies with individual Bowling Clubs to ensure that: they are fully aware of and compliant with South Australian Government legislation and Bowls SA advice, and all of these guidelines are adhered to and engage any staffing/volunteers required as necessary to fulfil the guidelines.

  • Hand sanitiser is to be made available at the entrance to the Bowling Club and beside each green in use.
  • Disinfectant spray must be made available beside mat/jack boxes.  After each use, all mats and jacks must be thoroughly cleaned before being used again.
  • Any club bowls that are loaned to players are to be thoroughly cleaned before and after use.
  • Bowling Clubs may need to implement a booking system to facilitate rink bookings, to confirm with guidelines.  Best practice is that a register of attendees is kept, just in case a communicable illness were to occur.
  • No indoor Bowling Club meetings are to occur at this stage.  Any meetings held on the Bowling Club premises should be held outdoors, employ physical distancing of 1.5m and be limited to the number of people determined by social gathering laws and a limit of ten people.
  • Individuals should leave the premises immediately after the conclusion of meetings.
  • Where possible, outdoor-accessible toilets should be open.  At the very least, hand washing facilities should be available.
  • No barefoot bowls groups to be hosted

Bowls Activity:

  • Subject to the social gathering and distancing legislation/restrictions, only four people are allowed to play together and the 1.5m physical distancing rule is to be observed at all times.
  • There must be one rink space (an empty rink) between each rink in use.
  • A maximum of 10 persons is allowed to the venue at any one time. Bowling Clubs may need to have a booking system in place to facilitate. Bowling Clubs with more than one green need to ensure that compliance is achieved in respect to social gathering restrictions.
  • All players are to use separate mats and jacks (or ensure that the same player on each rink places mats or places/rolls jacks).
  • Other bowls equipment cannot be shared between players (e.g. bowls, cloths, measures etc).
  • Disinfectant spray must be made available beside mat/jack boxes and between each use all mats and jacks must be thoroughly cleaned by players.
  • Players should practice safe hygiene at all times, including washing hands for at least 20 seconds before and after bowls.
  • Individuals must leave the premises immediately after conclusion of play and cleaning of equipment.
  • Coaching should be limited to no more than a coach and two other people at the time and all practicing physical distancing of 1.5m during the coaching session.
  • No barefoot bowls activity.

To assist in the process, Bowls SA will prepare a set of State based guidelines for Bowling Clubs and bowlers to follow during this transition period, this will be distributed via email by Friday 1 May 2020 and will be available on the Bowls SA website.

People at a higher risk of severe illness (those aged over 70 and/or those with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems) are encouraged to remain at home whenever possible.  Source:

Any further proposed guidelines will be introduced in line with the State and National Principles.

If you require any further information, please contact Bowls SA on 8234 7544 or via emailing
Yours Sincerely,

Mark Easton
Chief Executive Officer
Bowls SA