2021 kicks off with another lockdown!
- Wednesday 6th January 2021
Reacting to the worsening situation all four home nation administrations have now ramped-up Covid restrictions.
The latest lockdown restrictions come into effect with England as the ongoing spread of new virulent Covid variant is causing both a massive spike in new cases and a significant increase in hospital admissions.
The latest restrictions for England, outlined on Monday, have now come into effect. The climbing walls across England which were still open in Tier 3 areas were closed immediately. The likelihood is that they will be in place until at least the February half-term. The Government have said that the lifting of restrictions will be dependant upon the progress of the vaccination programme as well as the then prevailing case rate and hospital numbers.
Yesterday, the BMC issued new guidance on what the exercise is permitted in England.
In their statement the BMC outlined how climbers should respond to the latest restrictions both in terms of where and how they can climb outside as well as the importance of climbing within their abilities. In effect, the advice is to “stay local” and “climb within your grade”. Whereas “staying local” wasn’t defined in previous lockdowns the restrictions now define local as within “the village, town, or part of the city where you live”.
The BMC statement included the following: “Climbing and walking appears to be acceptable as a form of exercise under current guidance, but only if it can be done within your local area (now better defined, see below). However, it is worth stressing once again the immense pressure the NHS is currently under and highlighting the need for everyone to dial back their aspirations to objectives well within their abilities.”
Specifically, the BMC gave the following advice for climbers within England:
- You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ – this includes exercise, but full details can be found in the National Lockdown Guidance.
- You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting).
- You may exercise in a public outdoor place on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
- Public outdoor places relevant to climbing and walking include parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public and forests.
- Outdoor exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area, defined as “the village, town, or part of the city where you live”.
- Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household. Where this isn’t possible, maintain 1m+ distancing and additional precautions should be taken such as wearing facemasks.
- You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
- Staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence, is also not allowed. The guidance also prohibits staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.
The BMC gave the following advice for climbers with respect to national and international travel and to those who were already on climbing aboard:
- You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting. UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.
Finally, the BMC outlined the possible penalties:
- The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’ or break other rules. Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued starting at £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
Click through here to read the full BMC statement.
The lockdown restrictions and periods differ across the devolved administrations – links are given below for the details:
For advice in Wales click here…
For advice in Scotland click here…
For advice in Northern Ireland click here…