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Clubs to apply new protocols on opening day of season

Allan Douglas is set to make his debut for St George's in tomorrow's T20 match against Cup Match opponents, Somerset, tomorrow at Wellington Oval. Douglas won the Premier Division T20 title with Southampton Rangers last season. (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Club resources will be tested tomorrow when the cricket season starts with tighter restrictions at the grounds.

It will be a busy first five weeks of the season with county games and Cup Match taking place, and this weekend will be the initial test for club officials, players and spectators at the three venues, Southampton Oval, Lord’s in St David’s and Wellington Oval, where double-header Twenty20 matches are played.

“With cricket getting ready to start this Sunday, it’s a challenge for spectators who haven’t been vaccinated and for clubs to make sure they have the proper manpower at the gate to ensure they meet the requirements of the Government and that the protocols are followed,” said Cal Blankendal, executive director at the Bermuda Cricket Board.

This week Government confirmed that the power of approval for large group gathering exemptions is now the responsibility of the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport. It was previously with the Ministry of National Security.

The Government said in a statement this week: “The minister [Ernest Peets] grants an exemption under regulation five of those regulations to Calvin Blankendal, executive director of the Bermuda Cricket Board, gatherings of groups of more than 100 persons to assemble for the purposes of domestic league matches between June 23 and August 31, 2021 at the venues specified.”

Blankendal accepts that some challenges will exist in trying to implement guidelines and restrictions for those attending matches starting this weekend. The use of SafeKey is required for all attendees at venues where there are gatherings of 101 persons or more. Contact-tracing details must be collected from all attendees, including full name, date and time of visit, phone and e-mail information in case there is a positive case in attendance.

“I don’t know how many organisations or events have used SafeKey, especially at the grassroots level,” Blankendal said.

“The clubs that are hosting the event, it’s their responsibility to make sure they are following the guidelines.

“The BCB has been given the approval, but the clubs on the day manage their facilities.

“We just sent a memo back to Government on behalf of the clubs to see if any of last year’s guidelines could be put in place as they seemed to work very well in 2020.

“Everybody is still trying to navigate this pandemic, but the practical day to day of it is what is really challenging for persons, especially if that is not the work they do daily.”

Clubs are required to have their players tested prior to being allowed to play.

“The individual has the responsibility to make sure they have done what they are supposed to do for their club and team-mates,” Blankendal said.

“When the general public come to the matches, please be patient, respect whoever is at the point of entry, and if you already know you have not met the requirements to enter into the ground we suggest you wait until next week.

“There are ten to 12 weeks of cricket scheduled and we want to be able to make it an enjoyable outing for everyone each week.”

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Published June 26, 2021 at 8:55 am (Updated June 26, 2021 at 8:55 am)

Clubs to apply new protocols on opening day of season

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