Hello again everyone,
Well I had anticipated that the next time that I would be writing to you all it would include the good news that we were restarting face to face imminently. Indeed, if I were to have been writing this message a few weeks ago then I am sure that is what I would now have been writing. However, and you don’t need me to provide you with the most recent infection statistics and direction of travel, it is the unanimous view of your Committee that now is not the time to begin face to face sessions and that we should continue to postpone meeting at the Barn Hall until such time as there is evidence that this third wave is tailing off.
We know that this news will come as a disappointment to many of you who, in the knowledge that you are double jabbed, believe that the risks associated with face to face sessions are negligible. We are all missing the social contact which F2F bridge brings and I know that many of you will have been eating out in restaurants, visiting friends, going to the theatre and trying as much as is possible to resume life as we knew it.
This was not an easy decision for your Committee who debated at length the various options open to us and importantly took into account the views expressed by members from the survey carried out in May about how willing were you to return to face to face bridge both immediately or at some time in the future and also what restrictions might be acceptable to members. I hope that you will all support and accept the Committee members’ decisions and I should like to express my personal thanks to your committee, led by Marilyn Clarke, for their time, thought and considered approach to addressing this situation.
Your Committee will review the situation again in late August and, with a fair wind, we might feel able to restart face to face sessions during September. To help us with that decision we ask that ALL members drop me a very short email or give me a call stating, given how you are currently feeling (no firm commitment, merely to help with our planning), whether:-
a) You will definitely return as soon as face to face sessions commence
b) You will return to face to face sometime within three months of face to face sessions restarting
Return to Face to Face
I can now share with you what face to face bridge at the Barn Hall will feel like when we resume and your Committee have made a number of difficult decisions which they believe are in the best interests of our membership:-
· A full copy of the Risk Assessment which has been compiled for BABC is available on the website. ► See Risk Assessment
· For a limited period sessions will be restricted to only Full Members.
· We will not be operating a pre booking system. We believe that by limiting entry to members, having taken into account the survey responses, then table numbers will be manageable
· We would ask that everyone entering the Barn Hall reads and agrees to abide by the notices regarding COVID symptoms and also informs BABC should they test positive for COVID after attending a session.
· We will require any player to leave a session if, in the view of the Director and Committee representative, there are any health issue concerns.
· We cannot insist that Masks are worn at all times. However, we would reiterate the EBU advice that the government "expects and recommends" that people wear face coverings in crowded areas. We would go further and would encourage the wearing of Masks whilst at the tables. We will not be requiring negative test or temperature checks
· On entering the hall you should collect a bidding box from crates provided by the door. This should be retained throughout the session taking with you if moving tables. It should be returned to a crate at the end of a session.
· Only North should operate the bridgemate. East should be shown and asked to agree with the entry but must not touch the bridgemate. North should return the bridgemate to the stage at the end of the session
· North should inform the table at the end of the session of their final score and position. Results will not be displayed on the screen by the stage to prevent crowding.
· Hand sanitiser will be made available at each table and should be used ….
· Table money will be increased to £2.50 per session. This amount is similar to online costs and will help to allay some of the additional expenses being incurred combined with offsetting some of the impact from having lower table numbers
· No change will be provided- Each table will be responsible for collecting £10 in a plastic money bag which will then be collected and stored by the Committee. (Partners might wish to each pay £5 on alternate sessions thereby removing need for coins)
· Slips will be provided for those members who do not wish to pay using physical money and who agree to transfer a payment using a bank online payment after each session. This facility will initially be offered for a trial period.
· No subscription renewal will be required until such time as table numbers have returned to more normal levels. Allowance will then be made about reducing the level payable due to a part year and table money levies will be considered by the Committee.
· For a limited period there will be no refreshments provided. Members should bring with them their own drinks and cups. Your Committee will decide when a reduced range of drinks, tea and cold drinks only, can be provided before subsequently and iteratively returning over time to a more normal refreshment offering.
· The Barn Hall will be ventilated as much as is possible so therefore in colder weather please wear adequate warm clothing
· Members should avoid congregating in cramped areas, eg toilets, and should remain at a table when entering the hall. Coats, if not being worn, should be left in vehicles.
· The Committee will decide when non-members can start playing. When the window opens this will be restricted to those individuals who visited the Club between March 2019 and March 2020 or who have been playing in BABC online events. At the timing discretion of the Committee Barn Hall events will be made open to all visitors.
We have previously announced that when we start face to face sessions that initially they will be held on the first, third and fifth Thursdays of the month and the second and fourth Mondays of each month. For those days when we are not meeting face to face we will continue to run an online BBO session which will be restricted to BBO members and guests. It goes without saying that our ultimate goal is to be holding two face to face sessions a week but we recognise that this will take time to achieve.
We are aware that for a number of members they will not feel comfortable attending a face to face session for some time. For that reason we are currently investigating whether we can provide an Online BBO session which would run at the same time whenever we are in the Barn Hall. These online sessions might be restricted to players from say just two or three clubs and I will provide more details about this, including costs, when we announce the date for face to face sessions starting. I am also attending an EBU Zoom seminar later this week about how a Club might offer hybrid sessions combining face to face and online sessions. I am not sure yet how this might work and whether it might be of interest.
We have been able to offer full membership to all nine individuals who were on the waiting list in March 2020. I can confirm that online sessions will not count towards the total number of sessions needed to be built up before an application for full membership is allowed.
Earlier this month we participated in the ECats Summer Charity Pairs Events where we raised £688 (to date) towards Kidney Research UK and the British Heart Foundation. Special mention should be given to David MacCullum and Steve Lock who finished 4th and to Chris Pullan and Alick Fraser who finished 6th on Monday out of 213 pairs with robots finishing 2nd and 5th! On the Thursday our top pair were Richard Skeet and Jerry Broers who finished 10th out of 294 pairs.
We are not able yet to make arrangements for the delayed 2019/20 AGM or for the 20/21 AGM. We wish as many people as possible to feel comfortable attending this gathering so your Committee has resolved that once table numbers regularly reach at least 14/16 tables then due notice of the meeting will be given.
It is also not possible yet to make announce any arrangements for either the Village Week event or for a Xmas party. It might be that we have to delay these beyond the usual dates. Currently, the Andrew Robson Masterclass is still scheduled to be held in March 2022 as previously advertised.
We are looking for a number of Volunteers and hope that you might be willing to consider putting your name forward for one of the roles. We remain extremely grateful to those who over the years have contributed in a variety of ways to making the Club into the strong and healthy standing that we find ourselves in but it is now time for some of our newer faces to make a contribution. We are looking for future Committee members, for members willing to help with the scoring and /or directing, for members who are willing to help with the computerised dealing of the boards and for someone with the technical computing knowledge to assume responsibility for our equipment.
Do you feel that you might be able to help in some way? If so then do please give me a call. There is no requirement for anyone taking on most of these roles to also sit on the Committee. It is only with members contributing to the organisation and running of our Club that we will continue to be so successful.
As mentioned earlier we do need to know how you are all currently feeling about returning to Face to Face Sessions so that your Committee can make appropriate plans. Please do send me a short email stating which of the two options best matches your own feelings.
Keep safe, Do keep an eye on our website for further updates and let’s hope that we can all be together again before too long
Neil Higgins Neilhiggins958@btinternet.com tel. 01483 224151