Like most of you I have been drifting along on a sea of uncertainty for the past few weeks, unsure if we would be able to get up-and-going at all this year. While we still have to take every day as it comes regarding current guidelines and recommendations it does look like there is light at the end of the tunnel. So I’m officially launching my Flowerhill preparations today, with 3 months to get both myself and the steed back into some semblance of fitness and training…one mustn’t rush these things!
The return of official AIRC activities will take place over a phased basis involving 4 steps, which are due to begin on June 8th, in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. This approach will allow us all time to assess how we can operate under these new protocols to ensure we create a safe environment for our members, volunteers, and officials.
Activities, however, may resume sooner if the Government lifts the travel restrictions ahead of its published plan.
These measures and protocols are under constant review and will be updated as advice from the government, health authorities and governing bodies evolve in line with the gradual lifting of restrictions.
HQ has published a guide to help clubs and their members tread the road to active club-life. It is available at the following link and is well worth the read, especially pages 8 to 13.
So what does this mean for us as a club? Well, the first hurdle we have to get over is the fact that we do not have a club base, or venue, where we regularly meet. This has been both a strength and a weakness for us over the years. It ensured we brought club activities to different geographical areas, thereby spreading the necessity to travel a little more evenly over the members and also meant that we did not stagnate in one spot and get stuck doing just one type of activity. Unfortunately it does make it a little more awkward to implement the necessary protocols for resumption of club activities.
Our second issue is of course the distances which we must all travel in order to attend any event. Even with the permitted range of travel extended to 20km a lot of us wouldn’t be able to get to a central point…Letterkenny is 24km from our yard, much the same from Marina’s and a generous 40km from Erica’s. Whilst many of us have already been well over the permitted distances with our horses it will have been to attend a farrier or vet, both considered essential journeys for those with livestock to take care of. Whether it is acceptable to exceed the permitted travel restriction in order to attend a social or sporting event is questionable and as a club we certainly cant be seen to encourage it. Realistically this means that for the time being we are looking at Monday 20th July as being the date from which we can resume activities as this is currently the date when travel restrictions are to be lifted completely and Tier 2 of AIRC activities are permitted. Obviously this is dependent on government actions and guidelines.
In the meantime we can get our club geared up in the admin department, ensuring we have a Covid Officer in place, a system for taking pre-payments and a supply of the necessary PPE ready for all eventualities. As a start to getting back out into the world I have commissioned Gemma Carroll to update our club logo, enabling us to set the wheels in motion for getting new club gear. As soon as Gemma has some prototypes done up I will get everyone’s input and opinions. Till then stay safe, stay healthy and keep horsing around.