Wisley event (29 Dec) POSTPONED
SN area in Tier 4
Following the imposition of Tier 4 Covid restrictions on Surrey and most of Hampshire with effect from 26th December the SN Committee had no choice but to postpone the event.
It is also clear that we cannot hold any meaningful Club Championship event while any substantial part of the club's membership finds itself in Tier 3/4 areas with travel restrictions.
The committee considered various factors in reaching these conclusions. The decision to postpone had already been taken based on Tier 3 criteria. The announcement of Tier 4 simply forced the issue.
Surrey County Council had agreed that our event would have been a permitted activity within Tier 3 guidelines, but also indicated that they might withdraw permission (potentially at very short notice) if they perceived that the competition area had become too busy due to increased visitor pressure from the general public during the Christmas holiday period. We did not have a dedicated parking or assembly area in which we could separate ourselves from the public at large.
The announcement of Tier 4 with its 'stay at home' guidance and very limited exemptions for grass roots sporting activities means that we lost our permission anyway.
Even if Surrey/Hampshire revert to Tier 3, the travel guidance means that we should not accept entries from, nor encourage travel by, people living outside the local Tier 3 area around Wisley. This automatically excludes most SN members (hence the abandonment of club championships), and the Event Organiser. Others may also have had to withdraw in order to remain Covid-compliant due to their own personal circumstances.
Due to the uncertainty over permission, Covid travel guidance, the loss of the club championship competition, the need to find a new organiser/helpers at short notice, and the risk of adverse reaction to an organised event on a busy public area within a Tier 3 zone (let alone Tier 4), we had already come to the conclusion that we had to postpone the event. The near inevitability of a financial loss from a smaller event was also noted, but was not a major factor in the decision.
We will consult with Surrey County Council regarding the possibility of an alternative date in January or February - after the busy holiday period and before the imposition of wildlife restrictions, and in the slim hope that Tier 3/4 restrictions are lifted when next reviewed.
All entrants have been contacted via Race Signup explaining their options to hold their entry for a possible rescheduled date, claim an immediate full refund or carry forward a credit to a future SN event.
The situation is frustrating for the committee members and event officials who had worked so hard to get to this point. We cannot control external events, and must remain mindful of the travel and participation guidance issued by both the Government and British Orienteering. We cannot risk the reputation of either the club or the sport more widely in our desire to restart normal competitions.