HSC confirms essential grounds maintenance can continue

April 9, 2020

Guernsey sporting facilities are able to undertake essential grounds maintenance to ensure they are in good condition once the lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Guernsey Sports Commission had sought clarity from Public Health following concerns that a lack of maintenance might leave some sporting facilities unplayable for a considerable time after restrictions were lifted.

‘I have been liaising with all sports to try to understand the possible impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on their operations and finances and this was one of the concerns raised which we thought we could do something about quite quickly,’ said Steve Sharman, Relationship Manager for the Guernsey Sports Commission.

‘I approached Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education Sport & Culture who kindly agreed to seek confirmation from Deputy Soulsby of exactly what would be allowed.

‘A lot of the staff that look after our sports grounds are one-person operations and as long as they abide by the conditions for social distancing and any other relevant advice issued by Public Health then they can continue to maintain our grass pitches and playing fields. For those that work in teams such as those who look after our golf courses, the same applies.

‘The opportunity to begin work now will also save the respective organisations significant amounts of expenditure that they would have incurred if the outdoor grass areas were left fallow for a prolonged period of time.’

‘From the outset of the issuing of guidelines for Businesses and Essential Workers during the lockdown period we sought a way to keep our ground staff on site at such a crucial maintenance time of the season, always very mindful of the social distancing principles,’ said Mark Latter, Chief Executive and Director of Guernsey Cricket.

‘Initially we worked within an interpretation of the local States of Guernsey guidance and ECB recommendations on working practices. So, we are very grateful to Steve Sharman and the Sports Commission for gaining this formal confirmation that the team can carry on. This will ensure that when we do get back onto the playing fields, they will be ready for us without further loss to the season and any additional period of inactivity for sports users young and old.’

‘We are delighted that our staff will be able to continue maintaining the golf course and are modifying our shift patterns and work practices to comply with social distancing and all required Public Health guidance,’ said Shaun McDade, Chairman of Golf Management LBG, who look after the L’Ancresse links.

‘We have more than 1,150 golfers who will be itching to get back out and play once the restrictions are lifted and so it’s vital we are able to maintain the course to ensure it is in tip top shape and ready when play can resume.

‘We would ask any members of the public walking around the golf course to be aware of our staff working and to give them plenty of space,’ said Shaun.

‘On behalf of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture I would like to thank Public Health for providing this clarification and ensuring that our valuable sports facilities are in good shape once we return to some sort of normality,’ said Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of CfESC.

‘Sport and physical activity are important in ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of the community so it’s vital that when the time is right our facilities are ready to go.’