Non-elite sport halted for a third time due to Covid-19 national lockdown
For the third time in less than 12 months, the area’s sporting clubs have been forced to shut their doors to members and the public.
As cases numbers, hospitalisations and deaths related to Covid-19 continue to rise at an alarming rate across the country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government have ordered another national lockdown.
And with that expected to last into March, non-elite sport has once again been suspended.
The likes of the Diss Golf Club and Diss Heywood Tennis Club, who could operate under the previous Tier 4 restrictions, have now gone into hibernation.
A statement from England Golf read: “Golf clubs, golf facilities – both indoor and outdoor – and driving ranges will be required to close during this full lockdown. As such, coaching will not be permitted.
“England Golf, as part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf along with other leading industry bodies, is extremely disappointed with the news, having made a strong case in recent months to keep golf open during the national lockdowns.
“It is with great regret that we share this news with you, but please be assured that we will continue to make the case for golf to reopen whenever possible.”
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) were equally disappointed with the news, adding: “Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of new national lockdown restrictions to be introduced across England, the LTA can confirm that regrettably all indoor and outdoor tennis facilities will need to close.
“The LTA believes tennis is a naturally socially-distanced sport that is safe to play and gives people of all ages the opportunity to exercise with friends or relatives.
“Tennis is important for people’s physical and mental health and we will continue to liaise with the government to ask them to allow players back on court as soon as possible.”
The lockdown is also a further blow to Diss Rugby Club and its members, who are now likely to go more than a calendar year without playing a match.
There was hope before Christmas that a return to adapted play was close, but that has now been quashed.
“While this is not the way we hoped to start 2021, we all need to play our part and strictly adhere to government guidance over the next few weeks to protect our communities and to enable the vaccine to be as effective as possible, so we can all begin to return to a more normal way of life, including rugby, in the coming months,” said the Rugby Football Union’s rugby development director Steve Grainger.
Under November’s national lockdown angling was the only sport allowed to continue, and a late reprieve has come in again.
While local football clubs such as Norwich City and Ipswich Town can continue to play under their elite sport umbrella, all non-league football from Steps 3 downwards has also been halted.
Sport for under-18s, allowed under Tier 4, must also stop, but disabled sport is permitted to continue.