This week we’ve seen new COVID rules introduced, and breaking them comes with hefty fines! Please read the following information carefully
We are working extremely hard to keep everybody safe on walks, so if you feel you cannot abide by the Government’s restrictions we ask that you please do not attend walks. We have lots of vulnerable and clinically vulnerable people in the group, so whilst you might be willing to take the risk, they are not
What are the new rules?
This covers ALL parts of Manchester except Bolton, Stockport & Wigan
1) If you live in one of the affected areas, in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus you must not:
- host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble
- meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas unless they’re in your support bubble (A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household.)
2) When meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6
3) In addition to these restrictions, it is advised that you should not socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks
4) You should not share a car with those outside your household or support bubble
5) Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
6) Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
7) All gyms and leisure venues in England must display an NHS QR code, and collect customer data, to support NHS Test and Trace
8) You can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6 outdoors and up to 6 people indoors (for over 18s). These activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity, and/or involve someone who has received an official licence to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance.
Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than 6, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you must not mix with more than five other participants.
How does this affect walks?
Nordic Walking Tameside is an exercise business and have all the insurance, qualifications etc. Whilst we are exempt from the ‘rule of 6’ and could technically take out larger groups, we will not be increasing numbers unless they are in separate bubbles. We do not feel it is within the spirit of the rules to take out large groups, and we also feel members of the general public will not perceive us as an exercise class. We have no desire to be reported and go through the hassle of having to justify ourselves, or face a fine of up to £10,000. We have fully risk assessed every walk route and we do not feel it would be safe to have bigger groups at this time with regards to keeping people apart & dealing with accidents
As a result, please ensure you follow these rules on walks
- Double bubble walks – gather with people in your bubble only! The tendency is to congregate around the walk leader’s car. You will receive a text before the walk telling you who you’re grouped with. We will always try to put you with at least 1 person you are friendly with but we can’t guarantee a group will always be together
- Stay 2m apart – Yes, it’s easy to drift closer, but we will have to start looking at how to manage repeat offenders if it could impact the group as a whole. If you can reach out & touch somebody with your poles you are too close
QR Codes are not necessary for us as we are not a physical location, and we collect Track & Trace information via the booking system about who has attended each walk. Some of our locations, such as The Allotment Cafe, do have a QR code and we encourage you to check in using the NHS Track & Trace App if stopping after the walk
How does it affect the Saturday post-walk cafe?
For the time being, The Allotment Cafe are happy for us to continue visiting them as long as we sit outside. However, we cannot be seen to be a big group. Please stick to the following rules
- Maximum 3 people per table (2 on one side at opposite ends of bench, 1 on other side in middle. If you’re from the same household, please sit facing each other to make things that bit safer)
- Where possible please sit with people that were in your walk bubble
- Each table must act as an individual group
- Please DO NOT chat between tables. If other customers perceive that we are socialising in groups bigger than 6 the cafe are liable to be investigated and they’ve had a tough enough year as it is. If we hear this is being ignored, we will either restrict cafe bookings to 6 people (in order the walk is booked) or cancel bookings all together
- You must wear a face mask when entering the cafe to pay
Safety considerations whilst walking
Please keep 2m apart at all times. This is the length of 2 Nordic Walking poles. If anyone loses concentration and comes within your space, it is totally acceptable and justified to kindly let them know immediately. Let’s look out for ourselves and each other at all times
We will choose routes with as much space as possible and for those times we need to be in single file, please keep looking ahead rather than turning around talking
At times we may need to pause to allow other path users to pass. We will endeavour to keep you 2m from other people on our walks, but there are a lot of idiots out there, and every walk has a pinch point
If we are unable to socially distance we will ask you to turn away from the person until they have passed. If possible, the walk leader will go ahead at a pinch point to ensure the way is clear. In these situations, please wait until you are told it is safe to proceed
If at any time you feel uncomfortable about anything, please do not hesitate to say. The walk leader won’t be offended!
Gates will be opened and closed by the walk leader to limit the number of people touching them
Usual stile crossing etiquette is not possible in these times so we would ask that you put your own poles through/over the stile before crossing with full care and attention, before collecting your poles and moving away from the area so we can all keep social distancing. We advise using hand sanitiser after touching a stile or gate
We will only shout and/or blow the whistle if absolutely necessary and if more than 2m away from anyone.
Should a first aid situation arise, we will endeavour to assist from a 2m distance. If this is not possible and urgent assistance is needed we will ask you to put on your face mask/covering, whilst the walk leader administers first aid. Walk leaders will wear a face mask/covering and use hand sanitiser before helping you.
It is up to you to take reasonable personal responsibility when taking part in a walk
- You must carry hand sanitiser
- You must carry a face mask or covering
- You must comply with the direction of the walk leader
- You must social distance (2m) as directed by the walk leader
- You must not share equipment
- You must update your PARQ on Exercise Anywhere to complete the COVID specific questions. Please ensure your answers are accurate EVERY TIME you book onto and attend a walk
- You must cancel yourself off a walk/waiting list if you think you may have symptoms, or do have symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms
- You must agree to your name being shared with the NHS Test & Trace system if require
Please check when booking that you are booked on the walk and not placed on a waiting list. If you turn up when on a waiting list you will be unable to take part
If you end up on the waiting list, you will be numerically placed according to when you booked on compared with others. If anyone books off the walk you will be bumped up the waiting list. If you’re in waiting list position 1 you will be moved on to the walkers list as soon as anyone books off. Email confirmations get sent out each time things change on the waiting list. If you do not make it onto the walk you will be automatically refunded
PLEASE NOTE: The late cancellation policy is more important now than ever as a late cancellation will almost definitely affect someone else getting on to the activity. Owing to demand we would appreciate timely cancellations from the walkers list or the waiting list if you cannot attend, so as to give others their opportunity to attend (our cancellation policy still applies for those on the walkers list)