British Skydiving had previously produced and updated a set of Return to Skydiving Coronavirus Guidelines to help PTOs comply with legal requirements and to reduce risk to skydivers. The Government is removing most legal restrictions on social distancing, group sizes and mask wearing in England from 19th July. On that date, much of the pressure to follow specific guidelines will be reduced. However, in a rather mixed set of messages, the Government is also making specific recommendations about individual behaviour, personal responsibility, and business practices. Some local authorities are still planning to mandate mask use in certain situations.
The Government recommends:
Individuals have a PCR Test if unwell and should self-isolate while awaiting the result.
Individuals have Lateral Flow Testing twice a week while well, if in higher risk occupations (e.g. close contact with lots of other people or contact in enclosed spaces). These tests are available free of charge through the Gov.uk website and from some local pharmacies. Some employers already have a significant supply.
Government “expects and recommends” that people wear face coverings in crowded areas (such as public transport) but will no longer legally require it. Wearing a cloth mask probably provides little protection to the wearer but may reduce the chance of the wearer passing on their own infection when close to others. It remains a sign of good manners towards, and consideration for, others.
The Government states they are “encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS Covid Pass in high-risk settings. … If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date”. Effectively businesses have to decide for themselves if they wish to see evidence of single or double vaccination or recent negative tests before allowing admission. This will involve training staff to interpret the app or document and the business making an assessment of the risks to their business of not screening visitors. Businesses will also consider which customers may be less likely to attend if this is required of the customer and which will be more likely to visit if this extra protection is in force for staff and other customers. Almost all adults in the UK should have had an opportunity to have a first vaccination by 19th July. It may be a few months more before the youngest adults have had the opportunity to have had two vaccinations.
Individual PTOs may need to repeat their risk assessments before deciding which recommendations are practical and desirable for them to implement at present and which may form part of their SOPs.
Individual skydivers will need to consider whether they have taken adequate steps to protect themselves and whether they are doing enough to reduce the risk of passing Coronavirus to their fellow skydivers.
This communication does not address the current or changing state of coronavirus legislation in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.