For ease of planning the Guidance has been split into 3 sections:-

  • The club
  • Playing the sport
  • The players

It is important that Clubs critically assess the requirements and decide that, under the current conditions, whether they are able or unable to open, due to not being able to protect people and or is not financially viable to do so.


Club management need to critically review and fully complete a COVID-19 risk assessment on how they can set the facility up and play bowls so that they have the legal social-distancing and hygiene measures in place, in order to mitigate the risk of transmission.

This risk assessment should be continually reviewed and updated as the club is used by the Membership.


Entrance & Exit

Use one door for entry and another for exit. This would allow people for the next session to enter the building safely.

Members are able to enter the club using the ramp to the main entrance for the start of their game and exit the club afterwards using the alternative entrance and the main external stairs which will allow distancing of 2 metres at all times.

Allow sufficient time between sessions so to avoid people entering and exiting at the same time.

There will be a 30 minute break between each session.

Place a sign at the entrance informing members that if they have any of the symptoms listed e.g. persistent dry cough, temperature, loss of taste & smell that they should not enter the building.

Relevant signs will be placed at all entrance doors.

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Access to and from the rinks

Identify and appropriately mark how the players can get on and off the green safely.

Floor markings will direct players on and off the rinks

Limit or remove the number of chairs and tables at the end of the rink in order to give social distancing space.

There is sufficient space at the end of the indoor rinks to provide 2.0m social distancing and every other seat will be taken out of use to allow a 2.0m distance between seats.

Changing rooms / Lockers

Changing rooms should be kept closed and be appropriately blocked off and signed. Players should come dressed to play with their bowls and shoes in a bag which they change into at the rink side. However, if you can put plans in place and actively manage limiting people gathering then lockers could be used.

Changing Rooms will be closed except for the collection of woods before a session (if required) Only 2 people at a time will be allowed access and this will be strictly monitored. No access is allowed for changing purposes.

Consider relaxing dress code so that all players need to bring are bowls shoes to change into.

Dress code will be greys and white tops only – not whites.


These need to be available but consideration as to how many people can enter at one time, due to space. May need to operate a one in one out system with appropriate signage to be used to indicate vacant / occupied.

A maximum of 2 people will be allowed in the toilets at any one time.

N.B. We have the benefit of 2 toilet blocks and this will help alleviate any potential excess demand.

Ideally provide paper towels in a dispenser, although hand driers are now permitted as being safe to use.

Hand driers and paper towels are both available in the toilets.

Display posters about appropriate hand hygiene as a reminder for members to follow.

Additional posters will be displayed.

Toilets should be cleaned regularly, and a schedule of cleaning is prominently displayed.

The daily cleaning schedule for the whole property has been revised and adopted to allow for an enhanced sanitisation programme.

Bar / Restaurant / Lounge area

 From 4th July 2020 any licensed bar and / or restaurant are permitted to open for members to use as long as they are COVID-19 secure and follow the appropriate Government Guidance.

With regards to the number of people using these facilities at any one time this is governed by how you can mitigate the risk of transmission.


Place hand sanitisers at the entrance, exit and in or outside the toilets and prominent places.

Hand sanitisers will be in place at ALL entrance and exits, toilets and green entry and exit points.

Signage to remind people to wash their hands.

Signs present in all Kitchens and Toilets.

Fire doors will need to remain closed, unless they have a specific fire safety retainer fitted.


Keep all internal doors open to limit the number of people touching the handles / push panels.

We will Implement a cleaning / disinfectant schedule pre, during and post opening.

Cleaning Contractors to carry out an enhanced cleaning/sanitisation specification daily.

Members supervising bowls sessions to carry out a disinfecting procedure of all handrails, door handles etc. at the end of each session

In preparation of a member / visitor having coronavirus you should add to your plans what needs to occur as a result: –

  • Keep a list of names & contacts (GDPR compliant) for 21 days which can be provided to NHS Track and Trace.
  • All members and visitors will be signed in at entrance in specialist GDPR compliant register.
  • Closure of the facility until a ‘deep clean’, preferably by a specialist contractor, has been completed.
  • Cleaning contractor and Caterers will complete deep clean of bar and kitchen areas before re-opening.

Ventilation for the Bowling Green

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.

The current design guidance notes (2005) for an Indoor Bowls hall states that this depends on the number of players and or the cooling need, but a rate of 12 litres per second per person is usually considered appropriate. E.g. 8 players per rink x 12 litres = 96 litres compared to 4 players per rink x 24 litres = 96 litres.

The HSE advise that the risk of air conditioning spreading the coronavirus is very low. They do add that if you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use fresh air supply.

You do not need to adjust other types of air conditioning systems.

The Heating and ventilation to all areas is provided by air sourced heat pumps and ceiling convector/fan units.

The installation is 2 years old and the unit air filters were replaced in June 2020. The whole system was designed to provide the minimum fresh air requirement based on eight players per rink at a rate of 12 litres per second.


Rink Bookings

Based on the advised number of people who are allowed to play Sport at one time the Club need to implement a pre booking system – no casual walk ups permitted.

Use of on-line booking systems

Via email

Via phone

Or combination of.

This needs to be agreed and communicated to all members along with the timings of sessions, specified arrival time, how many times they can play in a week and timeframe for booking sessions e.g. one week in advance, 4 days in advance.

A Centralised booking system is already in operation which can be accessed on- line (BOWLR software)

League and Competitions schedules are also available on-line.

Keep a list of names & contacts (GDPR compliant) for 21 days which can be provided to NHS Test and Trace.

Special register to be maintained to record required information.


All rink fees should ideally be paid by debit / credit cards. If this facility is not available, then investigate how it can be implemented. This could assist payments in the future.

If not feasible then for cash payments, consider rounding up or down the rink fee to limit number of coins required and have a box at reception which the player can show the steward correct amount and deposit. This can be dealt with later by the staff / volunteer wearing disposable gloves.

The Reception staff will receive cash (wearing gloves)

Staff / Volunteers

 The club has a duty of care to its staff and volunteers who will be in the building at the time. As such a risk assessment should be carried out on the people being asked to work and where they will be working: –

Distance between each working station – remove furniture to achieve and or have people working side by side or back to back but not face to face.

Provide appropriate hand sanitiser in the office / reception space.

The Government has made the wearing of a face covering mandatory in shops, supermarkets, banks and takeaways from 24th July 2020, but this currently does not apply to other indoor venues.

We do NOT expect the staff members to also wear a face covering when in the building.

If you are using the social distancing of 1 metre, then the players wearing a face covering would provide a mitigating action to reduce the risk of transmission.

We are arranging for 2.0 meter social distancing to apply and players will NOT be asked to wear a face covering – this will be optional.

Investigate placing a Perspex shield at the reception desk, if no glass windows are in situ already. – Completed

When bar and catering staff are required, they are provided with face covering and disposable gloves.- Caterer to provide

Clearly define / allocate roles, what you are asking staff / volunteers to do and monitor effectiveness. Full training will be given

Document when staff / volunteer training has taken place along with who attended. – To be carried out before opening





They are disinfected before and after use – by club official or player.

In multiple player games 1 person from each side e.g. lead nominated to use the mat


They are disinfected before and after use – by club official or player.

In multiple player games 1 person, e.g. skip from each side nominated to touch the jack, if sufficient have 1 jack per side.

Policy of no jack cast but placed by foot on the nominated length.

Implement re-spotting if jack is displaced towards the ditch / side rinks


Decide if rink scoreboards are to be used

If yes 1 player is nominated to operate it with hand sanitiser provided.

If no, use of scorecards only and players need to use own pen and place card in a bin at the end of the game.

All the above suggestions will be adopted for future matches and roll-ups


With the Government allowing gatherings of more than 30 people, subject to the venue and activity being COVID-19 secure, the EIBA advise that you can operate with the following formats of play.

The club will then need to identify how you can safely implement and manage which one and across all of the rinks plus whether it is financially viable for you to do so.

The key areas to factor in: –

  • Social distancing can be maintained
  • Implement robust hygiene procedures for the equipment, players to use their bowls only.

Single 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 Rink Play

The four people on or behind the ‘T’ can be at the 2m social distance, either with two off the rink and two on the rink.

There is sufficient room at Desborough behind the rinks at both ends to achieve the 2.0m social distance

Fours Rink Play

If you can ensure that six players can maintain social distancing at one end then a standard game can take place.

If not you would, under COVID-19 conditions, have to ensure that there are only four people at either end and be at the 2m social distance, either with two off the rink and two on the rink.

There is sufficient room at Desborough behind the rinks at both ends to achieve the 2.0m social distance.

Non-playing officials

The club to make a policy on whether umpires and or markers will be allowed.

If yes, they should be asked to wear an appropriate face covering and disposable gloves.

With regards to measuring the club makes a policy on whether this takes place during games and by whom.

Walking up and down the rink

The club to advise members that they should maintain the social distancing when they are changing ends. Have each team use a dedicated side of the rink, throughout the game Monitor how players manage this.

This recommendation will be implemented.

The Players

Even though the club will have assessed and implemented plans to ensure the safety / wellbeing of everyone, the successful outcome will be influenced by the members who want to start bowling again.

The club needs to: –

  • Communicate its plans to all members, staff, committees etc.
  • Get the members acceptance to the plans when they book, if no then no booking allowed.
  • Advise / publicise that members who display symptoms should self-isolate as per Govt guidance.
  • Display prominently within the club key messages / statements on actions expected
  • Continually monitor / review how the plans are working
  • Advise members who aren’t complying that they need to or if not will not be allowed access
  • Listen to feedback / concerns from staff, volunteers and members.

All of the above actions are in hand.

The future

We all want to see indoor bowls return as soon as it can but only on terms which protects the health and wellbeing of everyone. But ultimately the final decision on whether the club remains closed or operates under these conditions, from Saturday 25th July 2020 remains a CLUB decision.

The EIBA again would stress that due to the COVID-19 still being present in England, then the Government may and / or will change their decision on Indoor Bowls being allowed to be played, across the Country and / or in specific locations. As such if and when there are any amendments or new conditions, we will advise all Clubs as to what actions need to take place.

In the next month the EIBA will issue guidance for Clubs in relation to hosting inter club and county matches along with hosting bowls events such as Open Singles Circuit / PBA Qualifiers.

We will keep all members informed as to any future changes that may occur due to the current COVID situation.

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View our September 2021 Press Report