It had been widely flagged through the day but when the confirmation came of the easing of restrictions it was still a moment to celebrate.
Following the return of Golf, Tennis, Some of our Water Sports and children’s team training this week, we now know that adult teams will be free to train, with some restrictions on contact and pod size from Monday, May 10th, that matches will be permitted to take place from Monday, June 7th, and that Gyms and Swimming Pools will reopen on the same date.
There were hints but no confirmation that the very limited return of spectators might be permitted under the next loosening of restrictions and we would urge that the return of swimming lessons and then group classes in gyms be part of the roadmap as well.
The acceleration of the vaccination programme is happening in parallel meaning that the government aim of opening and not going back is now likely and a real boost for morale.
The early evidence of a greater level of return to participation and spectator sport in the UK suggests that the risk of transmission is within acceptable levels and we heard positive news at yesterday’s Sport for Business Return to Sport Conference in a number of key areas.
The announcements yesterday by Taoiseach Micheál Martin have been widely welcomed and each of the sports is now refreshing guidance through their own individual Covid Steering Groups and Committees.
We do have to remain mindful of the ongoing danger that exists for so long as most of the population awaits the vaccine, and we also need to keep a keen eye on what is happening around the world.
The virus is like one of those relentless competitors in sport that just keeps on coming back. At the moment we are ahead but nature is a powerful beast and the race between vaccine efficacy and different mutations of the virus will keep immunologists and public health officials on their toes for a long while to come. We need to do the same as a society.
It’s not the end by a long stretch but this morning we can see a horizon, and there are sporting events and people watching them that are visible on it in a clearer fashion than has been the case for nearly 15 months.
Sport Ireland and the department of Tourism, Culture, the Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.
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