Tuesday 4th January 2021
Branch Executive, Club Presidents, Secretaries, Club Captains, CTO’s, Competition Directors, JAC’s, Admin, COVID-19 Liaisons,
As we head into the second weekend of January 2021, I note that Patrols will return to all 21 beaches from Saturday and our SurfCom base will be operational fully staffed from Saturday as well. Our Duty Officers and RCO’s will return to a normal roster across the whole Branch.
As we start getting back to a pre-Christmas normality, below is some information that has been passed to me today by Northern Sydney Public Health.
Northern Zone: currently still under restrictions until review due on January 9 11:00am. We will reassess activities after this update and send correspondence accordingly.
Southern Zone: able to return to all Community Sport and training activities.
However, please note the recommendation by Public Health in relation to reducing the numbers attending activities where possible and maintain social distancing which includes all parents.
I have spoken to Northern Beaches Council in relation to our Nippers returning to the beach this Sunday. Whilst they can’t see an issue with the return, this was put to the Incident Control Chair within NBC for confirmation of return which I will receive tomorrow morning.
Those southern zone Clubs wishing to return to Nippers this Sunday, can you please let me know the time you are intending to start and if you will be running a full contingent or staggered program as run prior to Christmas. We still need to work with NBC in relation to Lifeguards on the beach if any Nipper program is going to start prior to 9:00am.
Those northern zone Clubs wishing to return, in the hope that the PH announcement on January 9 states a full return to activities for you, can you please let me know if you are intending to run a Nipper program this coming Sunday and if so, are you intending on running a staggered or full program.
For the safety of our members and our community, it is imperative that Nipper committees put together a plan for the return of Nippers prior to the weekend.
It is also extremely important that every Club has an up-to-date, current COVID-19 Safety Plan along with a QR code for every organised activity ie Nippers, Surf Boat training, board training etc. If you read through the PHO’s, it is recommended that the Service NSW QR codes be used for ease of contact tracing. Within the Service NSW QR code, there is provision for people who do not have the Service NSW app downloaded on their phone.
For Nippers, it is essential that accompanying parents attending any session with their Nipper sign in via the QR code, whether or not they go on the beach. A lot of our Nippers are from out of area and again we need to ensure that we are ready for any situation that may arise in relation to need for contact tracing.
In relation to Surf Sports, Louis has mentioned that the current carnival format will be adhered to until further notice. Parents of competitors, spectators, Opens and Masters competitors will need to sign in via a QR code at all events. Further correspondence will be made available by the Director of Surf Sports.
There is a bit of work that needs to be done by Clubs to ensure the safe return for our members to activities but we cannot become complacent because the immediate threat is not as prevalent.
We are all aware of how easy it is for this virus to spread and the possible ramifications for us as a community across the whole Branch. The southern end has been lucky enough to escape fairly lightly but we need to remember what our northern members are still going through in relation to restrictions and lockdown requirements and we need to remember the need for sign ins, social distancing and safety plans.
Below there are a number of links within the information. Each links goes through a number of documents within the PHO and if you are looking for something specific, you will need to follow all the links to get to the relevant information you are looking for.
I will note that there has been a lot of social media posts in relation to Branch being prescriptive about the return to training . I have even received an email quoting a 13 number for Public Health, suggesting that I contact them and it will take less than 2 minutes to get an answer in relation to training. Thanks to that member for that suggestion and I only wish it has been that simple.
I would like to point out that the work that Branch has carried out has been done with the safety of our members and Clubs at the forefront. I wouldn’t have thought that any Club is in a position to pay fines for breaching PHO’s. There are members of the public who are happy to inform authorities and myself when they see something that they don’t necessarily agree with. Please remember we are a high profile organisation with high profile equipment and always in the public eye whether nipper training, education training, board paddling, beach training, surf boat training, IRB or RWCs out on the water.
Louis and I have scoured through link after link of the PHO’s separately as well as sourcing confirmation via Public Health. Whilst determinations have been made, they have been made with the whole Branch in mind and with every activity in mind not focusing on one specific activity or one area.
Environmental Health Manager | Northern Sydney Public Health Unit
36-76 Palmerston Road, Hornsby, NSW 2077
Tel (02) 9485 6973 | Fax (02) 9485 6092 | Mob 0416 224 241 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently the Northern part of the Northern Beaches is still subject to a the Public Health (COVID-19 Northern Beaches) Order. This will be reviewed on the 9 January. Unfortunately, we cannot predict what the changes may be so I suggest that all clubs continue to monitor the latest updates on the NSW Government website.
Currently for the Southern part of the Northern Beaches (ie Narrabeen – Manly), the following requirements may impact surf lifesaving club activities:
- Outdoor public gatherings – must not exceed 30 people
- Gym training classes – one person per 4 square metres to a maximum of 30 people (a hygiene marshal is required when there is more than 25 people)
- Community Sport – one person per 2 square metres to a maximum of 3000 people (it is recommended that groups be reduced where possible and strategies be reinforced to maintain social distancing)
- Calculating the number of persons on a premises (in general most indoor areas are 1 person per 4 square metres and most outdoor areas are 1 person per 2 square metres)
In regard to face coverings, a person must wear a fitted face covering at all times when persons are in indoor areas of certain business premises that provide goods or services to members of the public. Surf lifesaving clubs are not specifically listed in the Order, however it would be advisable for people within indoor areas of surf clubs where there is direct contact or accessible areas to the public to wear a mask, even if not required. Masks are not required when eating and drinking. It is also mandatory for all staff in “hospitality venues” to wear a mask where they have a customer-facing role.
Service NSW QR codes are currently only mandatory for hospitality venues and hairdressers. It would be helpful if Service NSW QR codes are used for all activities at surf lifesaving clubs.
If you have any enquiries please contact me.
Thursday 17th December 2020
As of tonight, Public Health have recommended that residents on the Northern Beaches from the Spit Bridge to Palm Beach stay home for the next 3 days and isolate in an attempt to stop the current COVID cluster growing further out of control. They have been asked that no visits to shops or cafes are carried out. At this stage, it is a recommendation but one that we are taking strong advice from.
I have been informed by Ray Brownlee, Northern Beaches Council CEO, that they are having a meeting tomorrow morning at 7:30am in relation to beach closures over this weekend. They may close all 21 beaches to ensure residents stay home also in an attempt to quash the spread of this growing cluster. At the time of sending this correspondence, I have just had another conversation with Ray in relation to possible beach closures and patrols etc.
In light of this, SLS Sydney Northern Beaches have cancelled ALL surf sports events and education assessments that were scheduled for this weekend.
If beach closures are enforced, no skills maintenance sessions or training will be allowed.
I have sought some extensions in relation to skills maintenance from SLSA and I will send further correspondence to everyone in relation to this in a separate email.
Unfortunately, it is strongly recommended that NO nipper sessions be run this weekend including any Christmas functions that may have been organised for both Nippers and Seniors. This is for the safety of our members.
I will send some further correspondence as soon as I hear from Ray on the decision that NBC make but from my conversation earlier tonight, he is looking at the broader picture for the Northern Beaches and may have to take drastic action now rather than waiting for full escalation which will result in longer isolation periods.
Given the 3 day isolation request, the Branch officer will be closed and we will all be working from home. We will have the phones on divert for anything urgent but if any problems or queries over the next few please give me a call or the relevant Director of each portfolio. Their names and numbers can be found on the SNB website. www.surflifesaving.net.au or within the info guide which can also be found on the SNB website.
I will be in touch as soon as I receive any further information in the morning but I urge everyone to please be safe over the next few days and please also remember that what we can do now might be hard but may save us a lot more angst over the coming months.
Can I please ask that you also reach out to your Life Members and those considered to be n a high risk category or are at home alone to ensure they staying safe and well.
25th September 2020
COVID Media Plan v1
Please keep this on file in case it is needed and can be used if a positive case occurs within your Club.