Snowsport Scotland – COVID-19 Scottish Government Update
Following the First Minister’s update on the 16/3, Snowsport Scotland has requested further clarification on how the covid route map changes may affect the current restrictions requiring snowsport centres to be closed. We have now received confirmation from the Scottish Government that the indicative date for all snowsports centres to re-open is the 26th April, subject to final confirmation.
As I am sure most of you are aware, we are disappointed with the decision that has been made by the Scottish Government regarding the re-opening of centres, given the resumption of many other outdoor non-contact sports.
Snowsport Scotland want nothing more than for centres to re-open and to get everyone skiing again, however this is not currently possible within the guidelines and as a responsible governing body we need to follow/ support the public health approach. We will continue to work hard with our partners at sportscotland and the Scottish Government and to make the case for further support for our centres and clubs.
In response, we have requested further clarity on why snowsport centres are required to remain closed until the 26th of April and when club training sessions can resume. Please find below the answers that have been provided by Scottish Government:
The reason for artificial slopes remaining closed until the 26th of April is down to the continuing need to mitigate COVID-19 risks as part of the wider actions being taken by the Scottish Government. At present, there remain issues related to the risks associated with changing room facilities, toilets and uplift. Notwithstanding that we know facilities have made a substantial effort to be compliant and operate safely.
Scottish Government Legal colleagues would also like to steer members of the public concerned to the COVID-19 regulations: Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/344/contents
Scottish Government can confirm that organised group activity is permitted (up to 15 people (2 adults max)) and as such ski clubs are permitted to meet in groups of up to this size at present.
Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 there is a right of responsible non-motorised access to land throughout Scotland for recreational, educational and some commercial purposes. Consequently, ski clubs may access the land on which mountain resorts are located for skiing practice. Whilst the activity is taking place at mountain resorts – tows, lifts, facilities, etc – are still required to be closed and as such any members of ski clubs skiing at mountain resorts (whilst they remain closed) will be required to walk up ‘the hill’, rather than using any uplift that may otherwise be available.
Additionally, all other measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus are required to be followed:
- Physical distancing;
- Travel requirements etc.
Please be aware that the rights and responsibilities of those exercising access rights are set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and it would be beneficial for ski club members to be aware of these rights and responsibilities.
Outdoor Artificial slopes
The position with outdoor artificial slopes is more complicated.
It is dependent on whether public access to the artificial slope may be gained whilst the business premises is required to be closed due to the regulations. Should the public be able to access the outdoor artificial slope without the business premises having to provide that access then the ski club may be permitted to use the outdoor artificial slope. Whilst the activity is taking place outdoor artificial Snowsports centres – tows, lifts, premises etc – are still required to be closed and as such any members of ski clubs skiing at that centre (whilst they remain closed due to Regulations) will be required to walk up ‘the slope/hill’, rather than using any uplift that may otherwise be available. All other measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus again, are required to be followed.
Should the business open gates etc (i.e. its boundaries) on its outdoor premises to allow access to the outdoor artificial slope to the public then that business would be in breach of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
Please feel free to get in touch with us regarding the above communication.