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COVID-19: The Next Steps for Orienteering

On Wednesday 13th May the ACT Government announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions for community sport with effect from midnight Friday 15th May. These eased restrictions align with Step 1 of the National Cabinet’s three step plan to resume ‘normal’ work, sport and social activities. For sport, the National Cabinet based the eased restrictions on the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport.

The big question that I am sure we are all asking is when can we resume orienteering competitions in the ACT? Orienteering competitions won’t occur in Step 1. They probably won’t occur in Step 2. Step 3 offers our best prospects. Assuming COVID-19 remains under control the ACT could be moving into Step 3 by mid July 2020. The first action for OACT, and required by all ACT community sporting organisations, is to develop a ‘Return to Play’ plan. In summary, the ‘Return to Play’ plan requires OACT to address: Hygiene, Physical Distancing, Orienteering Specific Conditions, Communications, Periodic Reviews, and Incident Management. Under each of these headings the Framework lists a multitude of factors to cover off. For further information on what is covered by a ‘Return to Play’ plan, the framework of the plan for community sport is at the website.

For orienteering we will need to be especially conscious of social distancing in areas and at times where people tend to congregate: Assembly Areas, Registrations, Start, Finish, Social gatherings after runs, (post-mortems), etc. Hygiene controls will be needed. These could include; no water being provided on courses or at the finish, events being made SIAC compatible for contactless punching, pre-entry for events, no cash sales. The OACT ‘Return to Play’ plan will be published on the OACT website and announced in the weekly ebulletin.

Further info on the ACT Government Step 1 community sport conditions please go to ACT Government FAQs.

In the meantime keep the individual and small group training happening.

Phil Walker, OACT President