COVID-19 Past Communications

Tuesday 12th of May, 2020

Return to Bowls Guidelines.

Following the Victorian State Government’s planned lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on Monday May 11 and after further discussion with Sport and Recreation Victoria, Vic Sport and Bowls Australia, please click here for the current measures to ensure that we can return to the green from Tuesday May 12 at 11:59pm to Sunday May 31.



Monday 11th of May, 2020

Dear All Bowls Victoria Members,

Following the update today from the Victorian State Government regarding lifting of COVID-19 restrictions for the period of 11:59pm Tuesday May 12 through to May 31st, Bowls Victoria wishes to advise that decision will be made tomorrow (Tuesday May 12) around the lifting of restrictions and how it relates to our Bowls Victoria Affiliated Clubs.

The decisions made tomorrow will ensure the safety and wellbeing of our members moving forward.

Please continue to keep safe and well and we will provide further updates in the next 24 hours.



Sunday 3rd of May, 2020

Assistance to clubs during COVID-19 leading us back to being operational.

As I write this message, there are noises being made towards an end to the current restrictions that see our clubs closed for business.

By no means will we be back to full operation, but there appears to be enough positive talk to lead us to think that an easing, to the point of allowing a return to play in a staged fashion is close.

The key now is to use the remaining time in isolation to allow your club to be in the best position when a return is possible.

The team at BV have been a part of many government working parties, with the latest information on assistance for clubs summarised below.

Your club, if on land owned by any form of government (Local, State, Crown, Railways, DSE, etc) should be having conversations with your Local Government around:

  • Rent relief
  • Utilities reimbursement
  • Waiving licensing fees

If you’re not sure how to do this, I urge you to work closely with your Regional Bowls Manager whose services are free of charge. They will have good contacts with your Local Government to assist with any queries with the above three points. Their details can be found here.

 

There is also a fund titled “Working for Victoria” which aims to utilise Victorian’s who are out of work to assist our clubs to be ready to be back and operational – i.e. cleaning and sprucing up your club for when it opens again. The details are shown below:

Working for Victoria
The $500 million Working for Victoria initiative helps Victorians, including people who have lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), find new work opportunities.

Some of these roles will provide vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic. We want to support as many Victorians getting back into work as quickly as possible.

What is Working for Victoria?
If you are a jobseeker in Victoria you are invited to register your details on the Working for Victoria site to access new work opportunities.

Eligible workers can apply their skills to new roles or take up training opportunities for specific roles. At the same time, organisations and employers looking for workers can find experienced and screened staff who are ready to work.

The Working for Victoria initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package. It is designed to connect workers with new opportunities that will help our community and contribute to Victoria’s ability to respond to the pandemic.

 

From all the team at BV, we urge you to make the most of the next few weeks before we are back on the green.

We need you all to come through this COVID-19 crisis and our clubs to return to being the strong backbone of our sport.

All the best and here’s hoping for a speedy resumption to play
.

 

Regards,
Tony Sherwill
Chief Executive Officer
Bowls Victoria



Thursday 23rd of April, 2020

There’s no doubt the COVID-19 situation has hit all Victorians’ hard. I wish I could say it was going to be over soon, but at this stage we’re still playing the waiting game due to government-imposed restrictions.

The magnitude of the issue defies belief. As I write this, there have been 184,186 deaths worldwide, a mind-boggling figure and one that is widely regarded to not include many deaths from several nations who for one reason or another don’t declare their accurate figures.

Thankfully for us, we’re in the lucky country where the impact has been still been severe, but the good work with social distancing and staying at home has contained the virus better than most nations.

Our thoughts are with any member who’s family or friends have been impacted by Covid-19.

At a Victorian level, both the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the bowls family is our main priority right now, which is challenging given we are unable to play.

Like us, I’m sure you’ve been finding it difficult to keep up with all the updates; with what’s recommended and what’s changing or not changing on a daily basis (sometimes even hourly). We thank you for being patient and understanding the situation with us.

As you may be aware, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel/postpone some of our most significant competitions – you can read about those announcements here. We remain fully committed to playing the State Championships, finals of Premier Division Metro Pennant and other key events as soon as we are able.

We are also planning for various scenarios of when the season will commence, including options for a full season, partially reduced season and substantially reduced season. Our hope is that we can still achieve a full season or as close to as possible.

The Board of Bowls Victoria is meeting on April 30th to discuss various aspects of a BV response to Covid-19. BV have also been in constant contact with VicSport, Sport and Recreation Victoria and VicHealth to discuss how to best assist our clubs in this time of need. While it’s too early to release any details – or even a guess as to whether we will be successful, I am hopeful there will be a good result for all sports.

Clearly if we start to lose sporting clubs (whatever the code) then the very fabric of Australian society will be negatively impacted… so rest assured all sports are doing what they can (and so is Government) to assist.

The sobering news is that there is a long line of organisations and industries who are all going to be seeking assistance, we just need to make sure our clubs are front and centre when it comes to presenting to Local and State Government.

I know of some clubs who have asked that their members who have the ability to pay their fees early do so – to stimulate cash flow. Granted this may not be possible for all members, but some who are not impacted may be able to assist.

From our own organisations’ point of view, our staff numbers have been decreased 33% with the potential for further actions if the Covid-19 restrictions aren’t lifted in the near future. As you can imagine, that is putting a real strain on what we can and cannot do, so we do appreciate your patience at this time.

Naturally the impact of what we are feeling is being experienced nationwide. Meetings with Bowls Australia and other State/Territories are occurring regularly, with a genuine desire to work together for the interests of the sport being shown by all. Don’t get me wrong, I like nothing more than the VIC’s smashing any team from NSW, QLD and SA… but at the moment hostilities are being put to one side while we plan together.

In terms of clubs, our recommendation is to use this time for planning your season. That’s a bit difficult without knowing a resumption date, but things such as refreshing your website, reviewing constitutions, or even hosting your AGM online are all good actions during this period of restrictions. It was really pleasing to see some clubs moving to an online AGM – something which all clubs can do. We wrote about Sunbury and their efforts here, a great start if you need some pointers on how to use the technology.

Of course, the source of all information is the BV Covid-19 page on our website. It’s updated regularly and even has some good links to those who aren’t involved with their club, but just want to watch some bowls via BVTV!

For those who are seeking advice on their greens or other ways to look after your club, this link is full of information.

Our Coaches and Umpires have had advice on their accreditations for those that expire in the near future. The common-sense decision to extend the accreditation for 12 months while there is no opportunity for courses to take place is detailed here.

So for now there is no play, but I sense we are turning the corner and am hopeful that we can resume bowls sooner rather than later. First and foremost, we need to keep well and keep safe. Remember that we’re all in this together and helping out your clubmates is a key to getting through this pandemic.

The best thing about our sport is that in good times and bad, the bowls community sticks together. That’s the beauty of being a bowler – you’re all part of the family.

Looking forward to seeing you back on the green in the very near future.

 

Regards,
Tony Sherwill
Chief Executive Officer
Bowls Victoria



Wednesday 8th of April, 2020

Advice on Greens Maintenance

All greens (both Grass and Synthetic) need to be maintained even though clubs are closed, as per advice from Bowls Australia.

Find out more

Umpire, Measurer & Marker Accreditation & Re-Accreditations

Due to current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, officials that were required for re-accreditation (including Markers, Measures, Umpires) will now have their accreditation extended for a further 12 months.

If you require an update to your accreditation for Umpiring, Marking or Measuring, please click here for more information. These applications will then be distributed to Presenter & Assessors around Victoria who will commence accreditation & re-accreditation of Umpires, Measurers & Markers in due course.



Friday 27th of March, 2020COVID-19 – Past correpondances

Greens Inspector Training Courses
Due to a number of Government imposed restrictions, the Bowls Victoria Greens Committee in conjunction with Bowls Victoria have decided to postpone all remaining Greens Inspector courses.

This will affect the courses that were due to be held at the following venues:

  • Numurkah Bowls Club – Monday April 6
  • Swan Hill Bowls Club – Tuesday April 28
  • Warracknabeal Bowls Club – Wednesday April 29
  • Midlands Golf & Bowls Club – Thursday April 30
  • Sale Bowls Club – Friday May 15

All applicants have been advised of the postponement. When new dates have been set we will ensure we advise all members.

We still encourage you to register your interest in future courses. To do so, please click here.



Thursday 26th of March, 2020

Moama Bowling Club have advised that their May Carnival, amongst other events due to be played at the club have been cancelled. For more information, please click here.



Wedneday 25th of March, 2020

On the advice by the National Health Authorities and Bowls Australia, we are advising Victorian Bowls Clubs to cease all social bowls activities, including roll ups for the foreseeable future.

Bowls Australia statement:

The Australian Federal Government has advised that all organised sporting events and all social sporting activities must cease, including all forms of social bowls (including roll ups), from midnight tonight. (March 25, 2020).

New recommendation:

Australian Health Protection Principals Committee (AHPPC) further recommends closing all organised sporting events, including outdoor sport and swimming pools.

Source:
health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principals-committee-ahppc-advice-to-national-cabinet-about-social-distancing

New restrictions to be enforced:

All social-based sporting activities are to cease from midnight tonight.

For community and recreation centres, they may remain open only for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.

Source:
pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-24-March-2020



Monday 23rd of March, 2020

Dear Bowls Victoria Members,

Firstly, I hope you’re all keeping well and safe.

These are challenging times, uncertain times, worrying times. As an industry and a community of bowlers, we need to do everything we can to stick together and support each other through this.

The most important thing you can do is to look after your mates. Ordinarily, we would check in on our mates at the club when we see them regularly. Given we can’t currently do that due to the Government-imposed restrictions, we need to all find ways to call our mates and check how they are going. I encourage all of you to make a list of people to call and make some calls each day.

For those that aren’t aware, the Federal and State Governments have declared that all clubs and bars should be closed as of midday Monday 23rd March 2020 until mid-April or further advised by the relevant government authorities. That will have an enormous impact on our sport, our clubs, our people, our volunteers and employees.

Several clubs have asked whether greens should continue to be kept maintained. Given the uncertainty as to the timeframe, balanced with the reduction in play, Bowls Victoria encourages clubs to do enough to keep greens in condition, without keeping them at their usual standard during the season. For clubs with a paid greenkeeper, please carefully consider their contract(s) and/or employment law for guidance.

We have had some calls this morning regarding affiliation fees for the next season. At this stage it is too early to tell if the upcoming season will be impacted and as such have not made any change to the usual affiliation fee structure and/or collection timeframe. For budgeting purposes, it would be prudent to work on last years’ fees plus 1.5%. We are hopeful that clubs will be back up and running before too long and that there will be no impact on next season.

We are also chasing advice from Government regarding not-for-profit clubs and any potential assistance that might be available, similar to the stimulus package provided to Small Business.

Competitions and matches should not be played at this time as a result of the advice of Bowls Australia and Bowls Victoria. However, roll-ups (individual practice) is permitted, provided strict hand hygiene is adhered to along with the government’s social distancing requirements.

I wish we weren’t in the situation we are in. I long for the days where we could play bowls and socialise at the bowls club without having to worry about the impacts of this disease. But it is the reality, and we all need to adapt.

As Covid-19 remains a rapidly changing and evolving global situation, BV will continue to work with relevant government authorities and will provide the Bowls community with new and updated information as it comes to hand.

We are determined to be part of the whole-of-community response to slow the spread of this virus and safeguard the health and wellbeing of bowls community – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope during this difficult period.

We will get through this together – but we all need to help our mates. Please help yours.

Regards,
Tony Sherwill
Chief Execultive Officer
Bowls Victoria



Wednesday 18th of March, 2020

Dear Bowls Victoria Members,
 
Last Friday, Bowls Victoria made the decision to continue all Pennant matches under the provision that spectators were advised not to enter clubs to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since that announcement, the Victorian State Government has declared a State of Emergency for four weeks in response to this pandemic. 

This is clearly a very fast-moving environment, with changes occurring regularly and rapidly. As late as this morning, 18 March 2020, the Federal Government has implemented a ban on gatherings of 100 persons or more in an indoor environment in addition to the ban of 500 or more outdoors.

Specific to bowls, we have continued to regularly consult with key stakeholders including the Victorian Government, VicSport and Bowls Australia, as well as listening to our members.  This assists us in providing the appropriate information and updates on the COVID-19 situation and the effect on the Bowls community. 
  
We understand that Bowls is a large part of our members lives, however our current priority is to make decisions that find the balance between members needs but primarily ensure the health and well-being of all players, coaches, officials, staff, volunteers and all of our families.
 
Yesterday, our National Body, Bowls Australia, recommended suspending all Bowls until further notice. Their advice was considered by the Bowls Victoria Board last night at a non-scheduled Board meeting, and today Wednesday March 18, we provide the following updates in relation to our future events and activities among our Bowls community:
 
Events & Competitions
All Club Activities (Including Roll-ups and Social Bowls).
Bowls Victoria and Bowls Australia recommend that all club competitions and events are postponed indefinitely. Please consult your local club if they are permitting Social Bowls and/or Roll-ups, observing at all times the Government’s recommended hygiene practices and social distancing recommendations. All matches including Region and Division matches, as well as Club Events are postponed indefinitely.
 
Region and Division Pennant
Bowls Victoria are aware that some competitions have continued around the State in Region and Division Pennant. Bowls Victoria recommend that ALL Region and Division Pennant competitions be ceased immediately and matches postponed.
 
Weekend Metropolitan Pennant

  • Premier Division – The Preliminary Final and Grand Final for Premier Division will be postponed.  There are two games to go in this Division but given there is no requirement for them to be played immediately, we will postpone these 2 remaining games until further notice.
  • Division One – The Grand Final will not be played, however there are two semi-finals to be played which will enable us to identify the promoted/relegated teams for next season. Each match will be played at separate venues on Saturday 21 March and be strictly spectator free in controlled conditions (any spectators who arrive at the venue will be asked to leave). Any player who does not wish to play has their right to withdraw. Selection of sides are permitted as per the Conditions of Play and Bowls Victoria will consider these exceptionally unusual circumstances when approving any selected players outside the permitted number as per the Conditions of Play
  • Division 2 – 7 & 6-a-Side – These competitions will cease immediately. We are aware this competition will not have finished the Divisional Stage, but we aim to play these games at a later date.

Midweek Metropolitan Pennant 

  • Given the late notice and clubs having already prepared for hosting tomorrows sectional finals, games will continue, under the following strict guidelines. Please note: Your venue may have changed, to see the updated draw, please click here.
  • All Divisions will finish by 6:00pm tomorrow, Thursday 19 March 2020.
  • We are aware this competition will not have finished the Divisional Stage, however following Thursday, in the best interests of the competition we will postpone Divisional fixtures and aim to play these games at a later date.
  • Venues will be limited this Thursday to one match per venue and will be strictly spectator free (any spectators who arrive at the venue will be asked to leave).
  • Finishing at this time will enable us to identify section champions and promotion/relegation for the following season.
  • Any player who does not wish to play has their right to withdraw. Selection of sides are permitted as per the Conditions of Play and Bowls Victoria will consider these exceptionally unusual circumstances when approving any selected players outside the permitted number as per the Conditions of Play.

Bowlers Arm State Championships
The Bowlers Arm State Championships scheduled for the City of Frankston Bowls Club (6-9 April) have been cancelled. This is due to the average age of the participants competing, as well as no qualifying event having been commenced to determine the field for this competition. All players’ entry fees will be refunded. For all questions regarding refunds on entries for this event, please contact Bowls Victoria directly at bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au. All Bowlers Arm Victorian State trials are also postponed until further notice.

Under-18 Championships  
The Under-18 State Championships scheduled for Narre Warren Bowls Club (30th March – April 2) have been postponed indefinitely. The decision regarding this event being postponed rather than cancelled is due to the prior running of sectional matches in the Singles. All players will carry over to the new draw for later in the year. All players that are currently Under-18, that turn 18 between now and the future running of this event will still be eligible to participate due to the delay being beyond their control. If you have any questions regarding the Under-18 Championships, please e-mail bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au
 
Under-18 Development Day
The Under-18 Development Day scheduled for Moonee Valley on Sunday March 22 will also be postponed until further notice.
 
Women’s Country Carnival
The Women’s Country Carnival Committee has cancelled the 2020 competition. The Carnival Committee will bring the event back to Echuca/Moama in 2021. For more information please click here.
 
Disability State Championships
The Disability State Championships scheduled for Golden Square Bowls Club (April 14 – April 17) have been cancelled. This decision was based on no qualifying event having been commenced to determine the field for this competition. All players’ entry fees will be refunded. For all questions regarding refunds on entries, please notify Bowls Victoria directly at bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au.
 
Over 60s State Championships
The Over 60s State Championships scheduled for Bendigo Bowls Club (April 14 – April 17) have been postponed indefinitely. The decision regarding this event being postponed rather than cancelled is due to the prior running of Singles and Pairs matches at Division and Region Level. All players will carry over to the new draw for later in the year. If you have any questions, please notify Bowls Victoria directly at bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au
 
State Champions Week
State Champions Week at Bendigo East Bowls Club (April 17- April 24) has been postponed. The decision regarding this event being postponed rather than cancelled is due to the prior running of qualifiers at a Division and Region Level and the need for Bowls Victoria to submit Victorian Qualifiers to Bowls Australia for the Nationals in October. All eligible players will carry over for later in the year. If you have any questions, please notify Bowls Victoria directly at bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au.

Novice Singles Finals
The Novice Singles Championships scheduled for Bendigo East Bowls Club on Saturday April 18 have been postponed indefinitely. The decision regarding this event being postponed rather than cancelled is due to the prior running of Singles matches at Mulgrave in March 2020. All players will carry over to the final for later in the year. If you have any questions, please notify Bowls Victoria directly at bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au.
 
Region Sides
As per previous correspondence sent Friday 13 April 2020, the Combined Region Sides event in Shepparton will be cancelled for 2020. All regions have received a $2,800 accommodation subsidy from Bowls Victoria and should keep this for the next Region Sides Event, i.e. the 2021 Competition.
 
Champion of State Pennant
The Champion of State Pennant Competition at Moama BC (May 2-May 5) has been postponed. The decision regarding this event being postponed rather than cancelled is due to the prior running of Pennant at a Division and Region Level. All eligible players will carry over to the new draw for later in the year. If you have any questions, please notify Bowls Victoria directly at bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au.
 
Indoor Qualifying (Victoria Wide)
The Australian Indoor Qualifiers around Victoria on May 16 and 17 have been postponed. We aim to play this at a later date due to Victoria needing to submit qualifiers to Bowls Australia for the Australian Indoor Championships later in 2020.
 
School Sport Victoria Bowls Competitions
As per advice from School Sport Victoria, all School Sport Victoria Competitions have been postponed until further notice. For more information, please click here.
 
Victoria City v Victoria Country Test Series (the improved State Trials)
Both the Open and Over 60s City v Country at Bendigo Bowls Club have been postponed until further notice.
 
Victoria v Tasmania Test Series
Victoria & Tasmania have jointly cancelled the annual test match for 2020 with the hope of renewing our bass strait rivalry at a later date.
 
Victoria v NSW and Victoria v SA Test Series
We will provide a further update to both of these annual test matches in the coming months.
 
BV Awards Night 
The BV Awards Night is postponed until further notice, a future date has not yet been decided. We will continue to provide updates as further decisions are made.  Winners and finalists for all categories have been decided, however, we will not release finalists’ names yet until further decisions have been made for celebrations later in the year.


General notes for Events and Competitions:
Any event where players meet the eligibility criteria or have already qualified at the time the event was originally scheduled and subsequently postponed will be carried over to the new date where the match is scheduled to be played.

Given the fluidity of this situation, we will endeavour to provide appropriate updates when they arise and do our best to ensure sufficient notice is given if and when postponed events are able to be played.

For any questions regarding Events & Competitions, please e-mail Sean O’Kane at seano@bowlsvic.org.au or bowlsvic@bowlsvic.org.au

Committees & General Volunteer Information

Bowls Victoria Regional Representatives (BVRR) Meeting
The upcoming BVRR Meeting scheduled for Friday April 17 is postponed until further notice.

Tribunal/Disciplinary Hearings
Tribunal matters or hearings are to be deferred until further notice, unless there is an urgent matter. For any queries relating to Disciplinary matters – please contact: Sean O’Kane at seano@bowlsvic.org.au.

The Bushfire Relief Raffle
The Bushfire Relief Raffle will be drawn in the office soon after the closing date for tickets has elapsed (Sunday April 5). The draw will take place under the supervision of suitable persons and will be recorded for transparency. Regions should send back raffle tickets and monies as soon as possible for the drawing to take place.

Office Visitors:
Bowls Victoria is taking further action to reduce the potential risk and spread of COVID-19.

Although we have no reported or confirmed cases of the virus, effective tomorrow, Thursday 19 March, we are implementing restricted visitors to the BV office. Contact is to be via phone or email until further notice. Should any person need to attend our office, we ask that they phone ahead and ensure good hygiene practices.

This includes committee meetings and other meetings which will be moved to an online format.

This decision reflects our priority to keep our people, members and community safe and well. By taking this step now, we are minimising the risk of exposure for our people and the potential spread of the virus in our office and the broader community.

For more information about COVID-19 and ways to keep yourself and your family/friends protected please visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

We will continue to work together to ensure we all get through this challenging time as best we can and ask for your patience in this ever-changing environment.



Monday 16th of March, 2020

Midweek Pennant Semi Sectional and Sectional Finals:
This week’s Pennant Competitions will continue although matches are for players, managers, umpires and coaches only and therefore to be spectator free (noting that some venues are commercial venues in their own right and therefore spectators can only be limited from the bowls area). Players etc are encouraged to find another way to greet and thank their opponent besides the traditional handshake and not to pick up any other players’ bowls.

Any player who does not wish to play has their right to withdraw. Selection of sides are permitted as per the Conditions of Play and Regions/Divisions should consider these exceptionally unusual circumstances when approving any selected players outside the permitted number as per the Conditions of Play.

All players should continue to adhere to strict hygiene rules. Hand hygiene remains the single best action individuals can take to reduce their risk of acquiring any respiratory or gastrointestinal tract infection.

Players should begin to prepare themselves for the likelihood that matches will soon be postponed indefinitely on the advice of the Victorian and Federal Health Authorities. We will advise clubs if and when that occurs.



Friday 13th of March, 2020

Weekend Pennant Semi Sectional and Sectional Finals:
This weekend’s Pennant Competitions will continue although matches are for players, managers and coaches only and therefore to be spectator free. Players etc are encouraged to find another way to greet and thank their opponent besides the traditional handshake and not to pick up any other players’ bowls.

Any player who does not wish to play has their right to withdraw. Selection of sides are permitted as per the Conditions of Play and Regions/Divisions should consider these exceptionally unusual circumstances when approving any selected players outside the permitted number as per the Conditions of Play.

We will advise regarding future Pennant Matches based on the advice that we receive from Government Health Authorities as soon as possible.

Bendigo Country Week and Women’s Country Carnival:
Bowls Victoria is not the controlling body for these events. We encourage you to contact the controlling body directly for up to date information.

Region Sides, State Champions Week, Awards Night etc:
The Bowls Victoria Region Sides in Shepparton has been cancelled for 2020. We have made this decision early as a result of many queries and in the hope that accommodation bookings can be cancelled and refunded.

At this stage, State Champions Week (including Under-18 and Over 60’s) will continue although will be players, managers and coaches only and therefore spectator-free.

The much anticipated and new BV Awards Night is unfortunately postponed indefinitely.

Champion of State Pennant (May 2020) at Moama is being discussed at present and we will advise accordingly as we receive more direction from Government Health Authorities.



Wednesday 11th of March, 2020

Bowls Victoria would like to issue the following update regarding the coronavirus’ (COVID-19) impact on upcoming Pennant and State events, including the Region Sides Champions, State Champions Week and Champion of State Pennant.

This advice has been prepared following consultation from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Department of Health (Federal Government).

This communication is intended to provide an overview of the currently available information related to the virus and what measures and precautions members of the Victorian bowls community should put in place.

Government organisations, public health units and the World Health Organisation (WHO) continue to provide accurate, timely and detailed updates relevant to the whole community.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasingly having an impact on the global community and is a rapidly evolving issue.


What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection.

COVID-19 was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.

The most common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. It can be difficult to tell the difference between COVID-19 and other common respiratory illness particularly in the early stages of illness. Individuals should consult with their doctor by calling ahead. The doctor can take a thorough history, including travel history, perform a physical exam and make a recommendation regarding testing for COVID-19.

How unwell does COVID-19 make you?

COVID-19 results in a spectrum of illness ranging from possible asymptomatic carriage, common cold to severe cases requiring hospital admission. In a small minority of cases, COVID-19 can be fatal.

How contagious is COVID-19 and how does it spread?

Analysis of the number of cases from the Diamond Princess suggests that COVID-19 is more contagious than seasonal influenza.

This can change based on the circumstances the outbreak is occurring in and it is expected this will be refined over time as more is known.

The virus is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets. There is ongoing research to determine if there are other possible modes of transmission such as faecal or through the air.

How do I reduce my risk of getting COVID-19?

Hand hygiene remains the single best action individuals can take to reduce their risk of acquiring any respiratory or gastrointestinal tract infection. While COVID-19 is a global concern the number of cases of influenza globally far outweighs the number of COVID-19 as reported on the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). Annual influenza vaccination remains an important infection prevention measure.

You should be vigilant with frequent hand washing using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Make sure you adhere to ‘illness etiquette’. If you are coughing and sneezing, do so away from people into a tissue, your elbow or hands. If you cough or sneeze into your hands, make sure you wash your hands afterwards. Seek medical review early if you are feeling unwell.

Should I restrict my physical activity?

The risk of becoming unwell with COVID-19 without a history of travel to countries listed by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) in the last 14 days is very low. As a result, there are no current restrictions on Australians participating in or attending sporting or large public events.

What specific challenges do bowlers need to consider when evaluating infection transmission in higher risk environments (pennant, competitions, events, etc.)?

  • In a team environment, there will be increased proximity and duration of physical contact that can facilitate the transmission of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens. Research in respiratory infections in travelling sporting teams suggests that the most likely pattern of spread occurs from within a team, rather than from external sources.
  • Close physical contact with an opponent may expose a player to risk. For example, tennis has effectively no contact between opponents. Combat sports, however, may involve significant close contact for minutes at a time. Risks related to bowls include picking up teammates or opponents bowls, shaking hands, etc.
  • Size and proximity of crowds attending the event. Any mass gathering represents an increased opportunity for infection spread. WHO has produced a document outlining the Key Considerations.
  • There is no need to alter your exercise or training if you are feeling well.
  • There is no need to wear a mask in public if you are well.
  • If you become unwell prior to travel, it is recommended that you organise a review with your GP prior to travel, to ensure it is medically safe to travel.
  • If you become unwell and are due to play or train, it is recommended that you do not attend training or competition, and organise a review with your GP to ensure it is safe to train and minimise infectious spread.

Further Information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasingly having an impact on the global community and is a rapidly evolving issue.

Government organisations, public health units and the World Health Organisation (WHO) continue to provide accurate, timely and detailed updates relevant to the whole community.

This communication is intended to provide an overview of the currently available information related to the virus and what measures and precautions members of the Victorian bowls community should put in place.