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Update from Bowls BC

Here is a situation summary of some lawn bowling developments as of the beginning of February 2021.

Lawn bowling is an amateur sport governed by the provincial agency, ViaSport. Golf, tennis, professional athletes, and others operate under different authorities and guidelines and these guidelines vary by province and country. We comply to the parameters set by the BC Provincial Health Authority, under Dr. Bonnie Henry and administered through ViaSport. Although we are a ways from our normal operations, we need to work within what we are allowed to do for a while longer.

As you may know from last year, many outdoor clubs operated under Phase 2 guidelines which set strict conditions for the resumption of play. The emergency health order that governs our conditions has been extended indefinitely so this seems like the new normal for a while.

1. Revised Phase 2 Guidelines: Last month, the Phase 2 guidelines were tightened just a little bit and clubs wanting to continue or start outdoor play had to resubmit a modified plan to Bowls BC. Most conditions: practice only, four per alternating rink, singles and pairs, no games, limited clubhouse access, booked times, etc., remain in place.

The following conditions were added: - The distance between on-green participants is now 3 metres instead of two.

- A full time, non-playing monitor must be appointed whose job is to ensure the separations are respected.

2. Recruiting: On the positive side, this year clubs can recruit new members. There are limitations, of course:

- Clubs can advertise, put up posters, distribute flyers but no ‘open houses’.

- No drop ins - interested people can phone/email the club and book a coaching session.

- A coach and 3 ‘newbies’ can be booked on a rink for up to 3 sessions. After that our insurance company says they must join and become members to continue.

3. Competitions: Bowls BC is waiting to hear from Bowls Canada on whether there will be any national competitions this year. An answer from Bowls Canada is expected by late this February but it’s very fluid situation so that decision date could be extended.

- If there are nationals his year, Bowls BC will have to reinstate the annual fees to offset expected travel and accommodation expenses for BC participants.

- If there are no nationals, there will be no provincials and likely no district or inter-club competitions. World Bowls has cancelled their 2021 World Championship and World Champion of Champions. All 2021 British Isles events are cancelled, and Bowls USA has cancelled their 2021 Nationals and Open championships. We await Bowls Canada’s decision.

- The good news is Bowls BC will not charge the annual fee if there are no nationals.

So that’s the situation now. Normalcy is entirely dependent on people getting vaccines, the vaccines being effective against a mutating COVID 19 virus and getting enough people with antibodies to achieve herd immunity. It will take time.

Ensuring you are alive at the end of this pandemic is the best way to get back on the green, so observe the current health guidelines and stay safe.

Robert Ascroft

V&D Representative to Bowls BC


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