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 COVID-19 Guidance for Getting Back on the Green

Phase 1 – Bowls included in extension to daily exercise guidelines (27th MAY 2020)

Effective from: 29th May 2020

(Subject to the Scottish Governments final decision being made on the 28th)

Bowls Scotland continues to fully support and follow the Scottish Government guidelines relating to COVID-19, including ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all members of Bowls Scotland. Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and our members, we have produced guidance for clubs in line with Scottish Government guidance on sport and physical activity.

This guidance is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach as we appreciate bowling facilities vary across Scotland and as such individual bowling clubs should risk assess appropriately to ensure these procedures can be implemented. Please continue to err on the side of caution; clubs should not open unless all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of players and volunteers can be implemented. Players should only play if they feel fit, well and can adhere to the guidance put in place by their home clubs.

There is absolutely no urgency or pressure to return to the green, however if clubs and players feel ready and the following guidance is adhered to, bowling activity can resume but should ONLY include practice individually or games with members of your own household or between members of two households where social distancing can be maintained.

This guidance is split into four sections and will be subject to review once the Scottish Government issues further advice and guidance:

1. Guidance for Clubs

2. Guidance for Players

3. Guidance for Bowling Activity

4. Additional Information

1. Guidance for Clubs:

Clubs should carry out and document appropriate risk assessments for all relevant areas of their facility

Club house facilities (including toilets) should remain closed until further notice. However, where the green can only by accessed through the clubhouse the club must ensure that players enter and exit one at a time, ensuring physical distancing guidance is adhered to at all times. Players should not cluster within the club facility

No club friendlies, internal competitions/club ties or external matches should take place whatsoever.

Bowling clubs are responsible for ensuring the club and members comply with Scottish Government legislation and follow the guidance outlined within this document

All club volunteers should work from home (where possible) apart from Greenkeepers who can maintain the green as per guidelines set out on the Bowls Scotland website.

Club meetings should not be held face to face.

No alcohol consumption to take place before, during and after play at the club and we encourage all members not to smoke/vape/electronic cigarettes at the green

Clubs should check with their insurance company that the correct and full cover is in place before any play can take place


Clubs should advise their members if and when their bowling green is open and ready for play and what procedures must be followed for those planning to play

Clubs should check with their landlord that they have permission to re-open

All other Bowls Scotland policies and procedures must be adhered to

No spectating should take place

Clubs should ensure a clear plan is in place for the cleaning of equipment before, during, and after play and provision should be made for this. For example, disinfectant spray must be made available by the club and accessible for those playing. More information is available here:

Consideration should be made for members who require mobility support

Clubs should organise a system for booking and allocation of rink times that ensures the safety of Players

Clubs are not required to open their green/s and should decide on what best suits the club and its members

2. Guidance for Players:

Players who have COVID-19 symptoms or if anyone in their household that displays symptoms, those players should stay at home and follow NHS guidance. No one who is self-isolating should attend the club

Players who are at a higher risk; have an underlying health condition; or are in the shielding category, should remain at home until Scottish Government guidelines change

Players who are 70 and over can play but should follow Scottish Government guidelines to make their own decision about returning to the green -

Players should check if the club is open for play. Please be patient and understanding if the club cannot or choose not to open the green

Players should go through the clubs booking system and not just turn up to the green to play

Players should only play individually, with members of their own household or between members of two households where social distancing can be maintained.

Players should not consume alcohol before, during or after play at the club and smoking at the green should be discouraged

Players should not attempt to enter the club house as these facilities will remain closed. However, where the green can only by accessed through the club house players should enter and exit one at a time, adhering to social distancing guidance at all times. Players should not cluster within the club facility.

Players should follow the ‘Guidance for Bowling Activity’ section set out below

Players travelling to bowling greens should do so in line with the Scottish Government Travel/Transportation Guidelines E.g. It is permitted to travel short distances (approximately 5 miles) for outdoor leisure and exercise but advised to stay within a short distance of your local community and travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible -

3. Guidance for Bowling Activity:

I. Green Set Up prior to play i. Ensure green is fit for play

ii. All equipment to be removed e.g. 2m Sticks, Score Boards, Chalk, pushers etc (except rink markers)

iii. Benches, ashtrays, and bins to be removed, covered or sign-posted in such a way that members do not touch or use them.

iv. Consider what support your members might need to play (for example those with mobility challenges)

v. Players must bring their own hand sanitiser and use this throughout play

vi. There must be one rink space (an empty rink) between each rink in use. As an example, a 6-rink green should have rink 1, 3 and 5 in use or 2, 4 and 6. i. Bowling Clubs with more than one green need to ensure that compliance is achieved across all greens.

II. Before Play i. Bookings: i. Clubs should organise a system for booking and allocation of rink times that ensures the safety of Players

ii. Clubs should allocate 30 minutes between booking slots to minimise the number of players arriving and leaving at any one time and allow for any shared equipment to be sanitised

iii. It is recommended clubs should allow a maximum of 4 people (1 Pairs Game) can play per rink at any one time and in accordance with Scottish Government requirements.

iv. For each session clubs should collect essential information for all players including emergency contact details

ii. Arrival and Waiting to Play: i. The clubhouse and locker room facilities will remain closed. Limited essential access for example to remove bowls and shoes may be allowed by the club and should be coordinated appropriately e.g. if the key holder looking after the facility placed the items outside for collection, but clubs should risk assess and ensure appropriate measures in place.

ii.Clubs to communicate in advance with players to advise on social distancing requirements that are being applied on arrival at the club. It is advised that players do not arrive until 5 minutes before play and must stay outside the parameters of the club until it is safe to enter, and the previous players have left.

III. During Play i. Mats and Jacks: i. Players should use separate mats and jacks, however if this is not possible, whichever player collects the mats and jack is responsible for all contact with the equipment before, during and after the game.

ii. Disinfectant spray must be made available by the club. Players must use the disinfectant spray after each game to cleanse all mats and jacks (ensure these are completely dry of disinfectant before use on the green again)

iii. As a suggestion jacks or mats can be set at short, medium or long by the same player after each end rather than rolling the jack down the rink for position

ii. A maximum of 4 people (1 Pairs Game) can play together

iii. The 2m social distancing rule must always be observed on and off the green

iv. Other bowls equipment cannot be shared between players (e.g. cloths, measures etc).

v. Players should always practice safe hygiene

vi. Players should not: i. Pick up any other players bowl

ii. Share equipment out with your rink- e.g. cloths, measures, etc

iii. Moisten their hands with saliva before delivery

iv. Shake hands, high-five or have any physical contact with other people on the green (out with their household) Y SAFE – STAY AT HOME

IV. After Play i. Players must leave the premises immediately after conclusion of play, making sure they have sanitised the mats, jacks and their hands.

The above guidance has been produced to allow a phased return to the outdoor lawn bowling greens of Scotland, where practice individually or games with members of your own household or between members of two households can take place. All players and clubs have a responsibility to take care of themselves and their members.

4. Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Sports Turf Services Green Maintenance Update

Template Risk Assessment

Template Rink Layout

Template Booking Schedule

To view these documents, please visit our website here –

Please refer to the Bowls Scotland website and social media for further updates and enjoy getting back on the green safely and with consideration to others around you.

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