By John Foley
The long-awaited easing of restrictions on some sports begins this morning with Carlow golfers and tennis players the first set to enjoy a return to play in the coming hours.
However players will be expected to follow instructions on social distancing while clubs must also operate a strict bookings system to ensure high numbers of people do not congregate.
However, one club which is not reopening today is St Laurence O’Toole athletic club in Carlow town.
Athletics Ireland announced clubs around the country can open from today provided they followed a number of guidelines, including only making outdoor facilities available.
O’Toole’s confirmed they have decided to stay closed during phase one of the government’s roadmap to reopen society.
“St Laurence O’Toole Athletic Club committee reviewed the guidelines on the reopening of phase one over the weekend and came to a decision that they were not in a position to open in this phase,” they said in a statement on Sunday.
“The club felt that they have a duty of care to the safety and wellbeing to all our members and visitors and will need to have all precautions in place before a return to some form of training. In the meantime we advise all athletes to keep fit and safe in their own environment and we will review the situation before phase two.”
Athletics Ireland has distributed documents to clubs outlining how they, their athletes and coaches must closely follow training conditions.
Athletes are told to travel to training alone, not to congregate before training, arrive in their full training gear and use toilets at home as club toilets will not be accessible.
Children under the age of 13 will not be allowed to attend training in the first phase of re-opening and all athletes under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.