Government COVID update




Version 3.0. Date Issued: 06/08/21



Welsh Government have confirmed from Saturday 7thAugustthere will be no legal gathering limits on organised indoor activity. 

This guidance supplements the Welsh Government guidance and directives by covering situations specific to the sport of bowls. It is a live document and will be updated as Welsh Government advice changes. 


BowlsWales, WIBA & WLIBA are seeking to support those clubs that wish to reopen and members who would like to play, and to do so safely in accordance with the guidance set out by the Welsh Government. 


All clubs who wish to return to the green play at their own risk using this as guidance and to follow the Welsh Government restrictions. Clubs can decide individually whether they wish to reopen having considered the Welsh Government advice and the risk assessment of their facilities. 


This guidance is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and any guidance or recommendations made in this document will vary dependent on each club. However, the responsibility for the reopening of bowling facilities rests solely with each club and this advice and guidance seeks to guide and support clubs through this process.

We appreciate bowling facilities vary across Wales and as such individual clubs should risk assess appropriately to ensure these procedures can be implemented. Key elements are needed to be considered and assessed to ensure the safety of the clubs and its members. 


This guidance document contains the following Sections and applies only to Indoor bowling clubs in Wales that wish to re-open: 


1. Clubs – Summary of Recommended Action 

2. Players – Summary of Recommended Action 

3. Frequently Asked Questions 

4. Additional Information 


All matches and use of the club is the legal obligation of the organiser including the club, COVID officer and attendees. 


If you have any questions, please e-mail: or WIBA Secretary or WLIBA Secretary on . We are here to help, and we will endeavour to respond.


We hope you all stay both safe and healthy and that we can overcome these challenging times by supporting each other where we can. The coming weeks and months may also provide an opportunity for you to encourage members of your own household, who currently don’t play, to give bowls a try – clubs are reminded to ensure that any activity by non-members is in accordance with their insurers.  


1. Clubs – Recommended Actions


It is recommended that all clubs follow the advisory guidance below (the guidance may be adapted if necessary, for your club, as long as it remains consistent with Welsh Government regulations and social distancing requirements): 


Play arrangements 


Risk Assessment • Please find the link to an example template – BowlsWales, WIBA & WLIBA Risk Assessment• In addition, other risk assessment templates can be found online.  
Off-site booking system• For rink allocation (E.g., Google Calendar)  
Test, Trace & Protect• Clubs are advised to follow Welsh Government Test, Trace & Protect guidance. This enables the clubs to track who is using the facilities if they show symptoms following the activity. You should hold records for 21 days from the date of each separate visit that a staff member, customer or visitor made.• Link here -
COVID-19 officer role description• Clubs should appoint a COVID officer to oversee the contact details of participants during training/competitions for Test, Trace & Protect.• Clubs can use a budding system with local clubs to share the use of COVID officer – Must ensure that all process and procedures specific to that club is detailed and outlined • Clubs can find COVID-19 officer role description here
COVID-19 Club Checklist• Support here - BowlsWales, WIBA & WLIBA COVID Checklist  
COVID-19 Club Officer training• Training is available through the Welsh Sport Association and can be found on BowlsWales website here
Travel Arrangements • Club’s must ensure to follow current Welsh Government regulations •
Time slots  • Enabling people to arrive and depart safely, clubs should allow time for sanitising equipment before each game and not allowing crowding
Number of people  • The number of people allowed on each rink is governed by current Welsh Government guidance • There are no legal gathering limits on indoor organised activity
Rink use  • The use of rinks should be determined through clubs taking reasonable measures to minimise and carrying out a risk assessment of their facilities• It is recommended wherever possible to minimise any close contact with someone  •
Spectators • Spectators must be inline with Welsh Government regulations



 Playing Formats 


The following playing formats are in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines and are recommended by Bowls Wales and the National Governing Bodies:

The key areas to factor in are :-

• Wherever possible minimise close contact with someone

• Implementation of robust hygiene procedures for all equipment used and players personal care.

• Face masks must be worn when not engaged in playing

• Depending on Club’s safety and risk assessment measures, the number of players playing at any one timeand the number of rinks in use is to follow the current Welsh Government regulations where there are no legal gathering limits in indoor settings 




To ensure that social distancing is complied with it is advised that you use alternate rinks for play as follows:-

3 Rink Stadiums:​Use rinks 1 & 3

Maximum number of people on the green is 16. It is dependent on the club how they manage the use of the rinks.

4 Rink Stadiums:​Use either rinks 1 & 3 rinks 2 & 4 or rinks 1 & 4

Maximum number of people on the green is 24. It is dependent on the club how they manage the use of the rinks.

6 Rink Stadiums:​Use ether rinks 1,3 & 5 or rinks 2, 4 & 6

Maximum number of people on the green is 30. It is dependent on the club how they manage the use of the rinks.

8 Rink Stadiums:​Use either rinks 1,3,5 & 7 or rinks 2,4,6 & 8.

Maximum number of people on the green is 30 across 4 rinks. It is dependent on the club how they manage the use of the rinks.

You could consider reducing the width of your rinks to allow more space for Social Distancing and people waking up and down the rink.


Singles Play

With the dimensions of the rink and how the game is played this is the safest format to be played as distance between players can be easily maintained, across all rinks.

Pairs Play

Again, the dimensions of the rink will allow 2 players at each end to have ample space between each other and those players on adjoining rinks.

Triples & Fours Play

To enable Triples and Fours play to be played more safely, Clubs could consider a policy of moving the “T” to 3 or 4 metres from the ditch, this will create more space for players behind the mat and behind the jack.

• If you can ensure that 6 players can maintain social distancing at each end of the rink then a standard game can take place.


For those Clubs who do not have a stand off area at the end of the rink they MUST move the “T” to 4 metres from the ditch.


Clubhouse and Facilities


Entrance & Exit • Ensure safety of members when entering and exit for the start of new sessions, use one door for entry and another for exit. If this is not possible, ensure there is markers outside and inside to inform members to maintain social distance • Club to ensure there is appropriate time slots between sessions to avoid members entering and exiting at the same time.
Club Signage • Ensure there is appropriate signage to mark how the members can enter and exit the green safely.• Ensure that there is appropriate signage on display for members for to enforce guidelines and inform members not to enter if they appear to show any symptoms. 
Toilet Facilities • Regular cleaning of the toilets should be undertaken and signage for to encourage hand hygiene 
Hygiene & Cleaning • Club to provide hand hygiene stations at the entrance, exit and around the building. • If club cannot provide hand hygiene station, members are informed to brigtheir own hand sanitiser• Club to enforce a cleaning schedule of the facility pre and post opening, including throughout the use of the facility. 
Bar & Restaurant Facilities • Bar and Restaurant area is permitted to open. Any use of the bar and restaurant are must be inline with Welsh Government guidelines • Club to ensure a risk assessment is conducted to mitigate the risk of transmission within the bar area must be completed






Welsh Government state the latest science on microdroplet spread may mean exercise in an indoor, non-air ventilated area may carry more risk. Air-conditioned rooms are not particularly effective. The guidance from the Government is that ventilation is an important part of mitigating against the transmission of COVID-19. Ventilation into the building should ensure a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of use. You can do this by ensuring that windows and doors where appropriate are kept open to create air flow is effective at clearing microdroplet airborne particles 




To minimise the risk of infection, only essential items (as below) should be utilised during any session and where possible use your own equipment from home: 


• Mat (Minimal people to use and ensure that sanitised and cleaned before and after every use)

• Bowls 

• Jack (Minimal people to use and ensure that sanitised and cleaned before and after every use)

• Rink Markers

• Gloves (if preferred) 

• Scorecards (these should be retained by one person only if required)

• ​Bowling arm/lifter (for use by one person only if required) 

• Visually Impaired players using “strings” on the rink for play require to use sanitising wipes at the completion of each end 

• Bowling aids (for players with a disability if required)


All equipment should be cleaned and sanitised before and after use. 


• If scoring: 

- Take reasonable measures where possible by minimising close contact with someone










2. Players – Summary of Recommended Actions 


It is recommended that all players follow the guidance below (the guidance may be adapted if necessary, to meet individual needs, so long as it remains compliant with Welsh Government advice);


In advance 


• Do not go to the club if you are experiencing any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms;

➢ or any cold or flu-like symptoms

➢ a new continuous cough

➢ a high temperature

➢ a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste 

➢ Use the NHS 111 website or helpline and seek advice. For your own protection, follow the advice about self-isolation if you are, or are living with, someone in one of the vulnerable groups 


• All players, officials, volunteers and spectators must undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in sport if they, or someone they live with, is symptomatic - or suspects they may have been exposed to the virus. They should immediately self-isolate. See Welsh Government guidelines here -


Personal care 


• All players, staff, volunteers & coaches must wear a face covering when attending the indoor facility

• Clean anything you have touched after use 

• Wash or sanitise your hands and sanitise any equipment (including bowls, jacks and mats) you use before and after you play – do not assume that the person before you have sanitised the equipment thoroughly 

• Sanitise gates, padlocks, keys and door handles before and after use 


Clubs are required:


• Carry out an extensive Risk assessment in line with the Clubs Landlord/Local authority/council/facility owner before play can resume. You can find a Risk assessment template here.

• To communicate all guidance to all members, staff, volunteers and committees. 

• Ensure that all members accept the guidance prior to booking to ensure that all members are adhering to the guidelines for their safety

• Ensure that signages on Clubs key messages and guidance are on display for what is expected by members 



3. Frequently Asked Questions 


When can we reopen? 

Each club, including council-owned sports facilities, will make their own decision about when their facilities are ready to open and can be operated safely. You should only reopen or restart activities as soon as you feel able to do so safely. Until you feel it is safe and responsible to reopen you should remain closed. 


What games can we play? 

All activity should be consistent with the Welsh Government guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene. Good hygiene practices should be in place, equipment is disinfected regularly, and that anyone who is symptomatic or suspects they have been exposed to the virus does not take part and remains at home. 


What about competitions within our club? 

The Welsh Government regulations state than there are no legal limit gatherings in indoor organised activity. Wherever possible to minimise transmission follow social distancing measures– It may be possible to organise amateur events or competitions currently. All Clubs must ensure that the current Welsh Government regulations are followed at all times.


What if I appear to show virus symptoms following playing?

Should anyone who attended the club subsequently discover they have any virus symptoms they should immediately inform the club secretary. The designated officer for Track and Trace should be informed and ensure that the correct process of Welsh Government Test, Trace , Protect guidance is followed, link here -



Can we open the club bar and kitchen? 

Bars and restaurants, including any food or drink facilities inside a clubhouse can reopen inline with Welsh Governmentregulations. The reopening of facilities must followGovernment guidance at all times and a risk assessment on mitigating risk in the facility should be conducted. 


Can we use the club toilets? 

Yes – toilets and throughways may be kept open, but guidance on hygiene should be followed.


Can we use the changing rooms? 

Yes – all indoor facilities including changing rooms can be used








Can we share equipment? 

It is a decision for clubs/facility managers whether they loan/hire out bowls. If you do, we expect you to follow sensible precautions and clean in between users, as well as the safely working guidance. 


How can we book a rink without visiting the club?

Clubs are encouraged to utilise an off-site booking system for rink allocation – this could be offline (e.g. diary managed by allocated club members) or online (e.g. Google Calendar).



How do we ensure that the mats and jacks are clean?

Guidance currently states that cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning. Frequent cleaning of equipment between uses and any work areas used, using your usual cleaning products, is advised.



Can we allocate someone to ‘manage’ sessions/attendance in addition to those who are playing?

Yes – clubs should designate a club COVID officer to enable them to reopen safely as part of their risk assessment. Club COVID Officer are not required to be at the club at all time it is in use providing, they have communicated all procedures and processes to the club and members. 


Do we need to wear a mask or face covering? 

The Welsh Government guidance states that face coverings should be worn in indoor settings by everyone over the age of 11 when not engaged in a physical activity (e.g. when waiting for a class to start, when watching on side-lines), unless they have an exemption. It is not recommended that face coverings be worn during any physical activity. The World Health Organisation advises against wearing a face covering when exercising as sweat can make a face covering become wet more quickly, making it difficult to breathe and promoting the growth of microorganisms. It advises the important preventative measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance from others. 

Therefore, all bowls players, coaches, volunteers and staff are required to wear a face covering when not playing e.g. walking in and around the stadium. Face coverings do not need to be worn when playing bowls. Further FAQ’s can be found in the additional information below. 

If club committees decide, they can still ask member to wear masks on the green if that is club policy.