On 12 October the Prime Minister announced a new system of COVID-19 restrictions to replace the existing local lockdown measures in individual areas.
Under the new scheme, local areas will be placed in one of three tiers; Tier 1 (Medium), Tier 2 (High) and Tier 3 (Very High).
Tier 1 areas are subject to the existing national restriction measures such as the ‘rule of six’.
Those areas within Tier 2 see additional restrictions, such as a ban on households mixing indoors.
In Tier 3 areas, indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios and indoor sports facilities are required to close by law.
However, an exemption applies which allows these venues to be used by under 18s and people with a disability. Within each of these tiers, organised outdoor sporting activity can continue and remains exempt from restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather, subject to this taking place under approved guidance.
Detailed guidance on what you can do in each of these tiers is available here:
The government has also published a postcode checker to find out which tier your local area is in.
The new system has implications for orienteering and we have updated our Return to Orienteering Guidance.
Anyone organising or taking part in an orienteering event or activity must ensure that they are aware of the local COVID alert level both in their home area and at the intended venue for their activity, and act in line with the restrictions which apply.
British Orienteering has created a matrix of activities to show which orienteering activities are permitted at each alert level, subject to landowner permission.
British Schools Orienteering Association (BSOA) have decided that in view of the pandemic along with Government Guidance on school trips abroad that BSOA is not currently looking to send a delegation to World Schools Championships in Orienteering 2021.
Manchester and District Orienteering Club (MDOC) has launched 'Get Out & Go', a series of four new films targeted at novices and newcomers, thanks to a grant from Sport England. Filmed in urban parks during Summer 2020, the short videos show beginners all the basics of orienteering, from the special way maps and courses are drawn, though a range of useful skills and techniques, to simple route choice, planning ahead and reading the map on the run.
With Covid 19 restricting many sports, activities and travel, this is an ideal time to promote orienteering in local parks and urban spaces. Permanent Orienteering Courses (POCs) already provide a great resource and with these self-help coaching films, they can be used more fully, not only to introduce new audiences to orienteering but also to help them make progress by learning new skills and practising techniques. By following this series and making use of POCs, beginners will develop both the confidence and experience to try tackling a course at a club event.
The four films are titled Getting Started, Getting Going, Getting Confident and Getting Faster.
You can watch these films by clicking here.
MDOC hopes that clubs around the UK will find these new films useful during Covid and beyond. The films are ideal to complement coaching sessions with beginners or groups such as schools and scouts. The series can also be promoted alongside any information on Permanent Orienteering Courses as both a safe and easy way to introduce newcomers to our sport, build on that first adventure and create a stepping stone to coming to regular events.
The ‘Get Out & Go’ films were made in Queen's Park (Bolton), Woodbank Park (Stockport) and Bramhall Park (Stockport).
Greater Manchester Orienteering Activities (GMOA) is a volunteer organisation run jointly by MDOC and South East Lancashire Orienteering Club (SELOC), that creates and maintains Permanent Orienteering Courses in and around Greater Manchester. The courses are located in over 60 parks and green spaces across all ten metropolitan boroughs as well as neighbouring areas. For details, visit: www.gmoa.org.uk
To find out more about Manchester and District Orienteering Club visit their website here.
To find out more about South East Lancs. Orienteering Club visit their website here.
The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) recently announced that Covid-19 impacts meant that the Sprint World Orienteering Championships (WOC) scheduled for Denmark in 2020 was postponed until 2022, and that Russia was no longer able to stage the 2021 European Orienteering Championships in Sprint (Sprint EOC).
Other announcements alongside this included the cancellation of the entire World Cup programme for 2020, and that the move of Denmark Sprint WOC to 2022 also meant the intention to move the date of Sprint WOC in Edinburgh from 2022 until 2024.
Since those announcements, the IOF have been working hard with member federations and event organisers on a revised approach for these major events. They have now been able to announce some further changes to the international calendar for 2021.
Specifically, the Czech organisers of the Forest WOC for 2021 have agreed to add Sprint WOC races to the overall programme in July. They will stage the current disciplines of Individual Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay, with the debut of the new Knock-Out Sprint discipline remaining scheduled for Denmark Sprint WOC in 2022.
In addition, the Swiss organisers of World Cup Round 1 in May 2021 have agreed to re-arrange their programme and incorporate EOC into the competition. That competition will now include all three Sprint Disciplines of Individual Sprint, Knock-Out Sprint, and Mixed Sprint Relay.
Alongside these changes, IOF have announced updates to the remainder of the 2021 World Cup programme to better balance the overall calendar. World Cup Round 2 (forest races in Sweden) moves from the previous date of immediately before Jukola in June to take place in August instead, and World Cup Round 3 in Italy will now include a Mixed Sprint Relay.
Further details of the inclusion of sprint competitions within the 2021 World Championships are at https://orienteering.sport/nokian-tyres-world-orienteering-championships-2021-to-include-sprint-competitions/, and more information on the revised World Cup programme is at https://orienteering.sport/world-cup-2021-a-balanced-program/.
These further announcements are good news for international sprint athletes in particular, who were facing the prospect of no World Championships in Sprint until 2022 (the last was in 2018), as well as the uncertainty around Sprint EOC for 2021. British Orienteering would like to express thanks to the IOF for their perseverance in seeking solutions, and to the various event organisers for their flexibility in making it possible for suitable alternatives to be found.