This is a message to all our adult skaters in tier three who are currently unable to skate.
We hope that you understand that we have been pushing for ice rinks to open in the same way as other sports venues. We can promise that the majority of arguments being aired by many adult skaters have been pushed to some of the very highest decision makers in the UK. We stand by our adult skaters and will continue to do so.
When lockdown in England ended, rules were drawn up for sports & leisure activities as areas were placed into tiers. The government stated that in tier three:
“People should not take part in any indoor sport or physical activity with people from outside their household. This includes indoor team and individual sports, training sessions and exercise classes. Personal training is permitted for 1:1 sessions only, and should not take place in private houses. Gyms and sport facilities will remain open, but group activities are not permitted (unless the group consists of a single household or bubble). Contact combat sports are not permitted.”
These are the rules that govern gymnastics and squash for example.
Reading this guidance would imply that adults could skate in tier three, however this is not the case as ice rinks have not been classified as sport facilities. In tier three areas ice rinks are classed as entertainment venues and placed on a list that means all have to close.
Originally ice rinks had to shut for everyone in a tier three area. There were no exemptions until we worked alongside IRMA and the EIHA to lobby government. In those extensive talks we asked repeatedly for adult skaters to be allowed to train, following the rules that apply to other sports. The government only put in place an exemption for under-18s, disability sport and elite athletes.
We have had to follow strict guidance when determining any elite athletes granted an exemption. The legislation classifies elite athletes as “an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport, a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body, a member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body, or someone aged 16 or above and on an elite development pathway.”
A “senior representative” means a person who is considered by a relevant sporting body to be a candidate to qualify to compete on behalf of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo or Beijing.
It also states that an “elite development pathway” means a development pathway established by to prepare athletes so that they may derive a living from competing in that sport, or to compete in that sport in the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
All of these rules have been set by central government and BIS has had to apply them as stated in the legislation
In order to target our approach to get adults skaters back on the ice in tier three we are challenging the ruling that ice rinks are entertainment venues rather than sports venues. If this were the case ice sports would have been able to continue, so is where we are focussing our efforts.
As we go forward we want to help everyone have access to the clearest information possible so are today asking for any questions that you may have. We would urge you to send in your questions as chances are it has been thought of by a fellow member or the skating community. All answers will then be posted on the Covid-19 page on the BIS website and across our social media channels.
If you have a question please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Adult Skater – Covid Question.