The government announced on 23rd June that it will be relaxing the social distancing requirements with effect from 4th July. This has led some clubs and other bridge organisers to wonder if they will be able to start re-opening at that time.
The government advice does say that social clubs and community centres will be able to re-open, although it says that casinos will not. However, there are a number of requirements in order to be allowed to re-open: apart from keeping a record of everyone who attends, people are still required to stay 2m apart if possible and otherwise to keep at least 1m apart along with having further mitigations like wearing face masks or having Perspex barriers between people.
Although many clubs might have the space to keep tables 2m apart, the standard bridge-table size seats players no further than 60cm from their opponents. We have been unable to uncover clear and authoritative advice that having, for instance, a Perspex screen across the table, is sufficient to mitigate this. Because of this, we are unable currently to advise that even with mitigating actions, Bridge Clubs can generally re-open to run face-to-face games that comply with the regulations.
If anything more definitive is uncovered and/or when these requirements are eased a bit more and clubs are thinking about reopening, they should firstly do a risk assessment. To help with this we have a very comprehensive document based on one provided by Nicky Bainbridge of Rugby Village Bridge Club, which she is willing for others to use. Going through this document methodically should highlight the various things that need to be considered in preparation for re-opening when the time is right.
Clubs may wish to use the EBU Club Forum to share information and ideas about preparations for when the time comes to start re-introducing face-to-face bridge.