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Rowing Australia Fact Sheet on Coronavirus

 Current as at 19 March 2020

 The NOVEL CORONAVIRUS 2019 (COVID-19) which originated from Hubei Province, China is causing worldwide concern and has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. Rowing Australia (RA), who maintain a strong health and safety policy, have collated relevant information for clubs and rowing participants in keeping with the current advice from the Australian Government.

The situation is changing on a daily basis, and it is important that the community follows current Australian Government advice.  Click here for further details. The website also contains general advice regarding COVID-19.

The AIS website is regularly updated with advice on the impact of coronavirus and sporting activity. This important page can be viewed by clicking here.

RA are keeping abreast of advice provided by the World Health Organisation, the Australian Government & the AIS in regards to the conduct of events under these circumstances. As of 16 March 2020, the Federal Government has advised that non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more should not proceed. In addition, as of 18 March 2020, the Federal Government has advised that non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more, indoors, should not proceed. It is our view that all events or large gatherings should be reconsidered in light of this outbreak.

Below we have listed important advice for all rowing participants – athletes, coaches, parents, and volunteers. This list is a guide and is by no means exhaustive of all preventative measures. Readers should keep abreast of the most up to date information via the Health and AIS websites listed above.

Based on the progress of similar countries, we expect that in the next 10-14 days we will see dramatic increases in community transmission and increased institution of social distancing in the community. We recommend that clubs and coaching staff engage in discussions with regard to the best way to continue the provision of coaching and training for both high performance and recreational athletes in order to minimise infection within their athletes and staff. This is likely to require individual or small group training (<4 athletes) as well as staggered use of communal equipment and increased environmental cleaning. Where possible it would be worthwhile considering remote provision of coaching and athlete services with the use of videoconferencing tools. 

Hand Hygiene

Everyone must practise good hygiene, this is critical to help protect against infections. Good hygiene includes:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water, for 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand rub
  • using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • avoid close contact with others including personal greetings, such as touching, handshakes, kisses, and hugs.
  • Avoid touching your face and hair unless you have just washed/sanitised your hands.

 We advise individuals to have their own anti-bacterial wipes for wiping down communal surfaces after use.

Athletes, Coaches, Support Staff, Parents and Volunteers are strongly recommended to have their own personal hand sanitiser for use pre and post training sessions.

Bathrooms and Change Rooms

It is important that bathrooms at rowing clubs are regularly cleaned to ensure good hygiene standards are maintained. It is important to remember you must wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after going to the bathroom and maintain good hygiene practices when using both toilets and showers.

Access to change rooms should be with limited numbers in the space, strong hygiene practices and trying to maintain 1.5 metres between each other at all times.

Cleaning of Ergos

Anti-bacterial wipes and sprays must be used every time an individual concludes their session on an ergo. We strongly advise schools and clubs to have enough cleaning products available to ensure this practice is maintained.

Cleaning of Oars and Boats

We know that oars and boats are shared by many throughout clubs and school programs. It is important that all oars and boats are thoroughly washed with appropriate soap and water (not just water) to ensure hygiene standards are maintained.

Staggering access to sheds and gyms; social distancing

As discussed above, plans should be undertaken to allow staggered access to sheds, gyms and ergos so that training is limited to small numbers.

Ideally even small group training should be done outdoors, in well ventilated rooms or with at least 1.5m between individuals.

Social distancing advice can be found here

Please review the above document for details but some of the key points for rowers are:
  • If you are unwell, stay at home and isolate yourself as much as possible, seek advice from your medical practitioner and follow the advice on the Australian Government website above.
  • Participants should not attend or participate in rowing is they are at a high risk including the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions
  • Regular hand hygiene (washing or sanitising) when at training venues and have sanitiser readily available on entry to premises as well as in gym/change rooms/kitchens etc.
  • Avoid physical contact such as hand shaking
  • Clean shared surfaces between use and regularly
  • Limit food handling and sharing of food
Food Consumption and food preparation

We know that athletes, coaches and others will be preparing and consuming food and drink regularly when at training. It is extremely important to maintain strong hygiene standards both when preparing and consuming food.

This includes, but is not limited to, sanitising hands prior to and after preparing food, wearing gloves (on sanitised hands) when preparing food for others’ consumption, ensuring hands and surfaces are all well sanitised prior to preparation and consumption and also post consumption and preparation. Water bottles should be cleaned daily with hot, soapy water. Athletes should not be sharing water bottles, i.e. one bottle per athlete.

International travel:

As of 18 March 2020, the Smart Traveller has issued upgraded travel advice to include Australians to not travel overseas travel at this time. Except for returning back to Australia, there should be no international travel for sport or training purposes. If you have travelled overseas or been exposed to a case you must isolate for a period of 14 days.

Useful links:                

AIS click here

Federal Health Website click here

Minister for Sport Guidelines on Community Sport and COVID-19