GAA president John Horan and director-general Tom Ryan has commended the "hard work and diligence" of club volunteers on the return of competitive action and urged members to continue to respect Covid-19 measures.
The Association emphasised the importance of following guidelines and protocols from the HSE and GAA in a message delivered to all clubs today amid growing fears that the country could be hit by a second wave of the coronavirus.
It has been announced this evening that three counties namely Kildare, Laois and Offaly are going back under 'lockdown' restrictions from midnight tonight due to a significant rise in cases across the Midlands.
The past few weeks has seen the return of competitive action across the country with club hurling and football championships in full swing. Cúl Camps have also made a welcome return and will continue until schools reopen at the end of this month.
This restart of GAA activity has only been possible due to the hard work and diligence of club volunteers in every county adopting and implementing the GAA Return to Play protocols, as published by the CoVID19 Advisory Group, in line with Government and Public Health Guidelines.
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to each and every member involved and for this, the Association would like to say a heartfelt ‘go raibh maith aghaibh’.
However, the spectre of the pandemic still hangs over us all and the virus is still present in our country. There are still risks to our communities and, in particular, to the most vulnerable people in our society, and consequently we must continue to adhere to the public health guidance and to follow the protocols that have been put in place.
We do not underestimate the disappointment being felt by club members who cannot get to see club matches because of the restrictions on outdoor gatherings – particularly in the 26 Counties where it remains at 200.
The Association has demonstrated to the Government how increases in attendances outdoors of up to 500 can be easily accommodated and managed at GAA venues.
We will continue to make those representations but, in the meantime, it is important that members continue to show the exceptional community leadership that you have shown since last March in helping Ireland combat this virus.
We have managed to get training and games back. We must try and ensure that we do what we need to do to keep activity back on our fields.
Any complacency about what has been achieved to date could see a resurgence in the virus and a return of the restrictions that impacted us all so heavily earlier this year. It is imperative that every one of us realises the important part we each have to play in keeping our communities safe. Please read and circulate the appendix attached, which is a reminder of the important points that we need to continue to do.
Ní neart go cur le chéile.
Tomás Ó Riain, Ard Stiúrthóir CLG
Seán Ó hÓráin, Uachtarán CLG
What we need to continue to do
· Continue to follow Public Health guidelines
· Practice good hygiene by washing our hands and using sneezing and coughing etiquette
· Wear face masks where appropriate to do so
· Follow GAA protocols by not using changing rooms, dug-outs or other enclosed spaces
· Indoor meetings should be avoided as they both increase the risk of transmission and also make every attendee a ‘close contact’ and subject to quarantine should a positive case arise
· Gyms on GAA property should also remain closed
· Travel to training / matches with members of our own household only
· For training and games, we must submit a Health Questionnaire or reconfirm that our health status hasn’t changed on each occasion that we attend. This can be done using the Return to play application (https://returntoplay.gaa.ie)
· Covid Supervisors in clubs must ensure that Health Questionnaires have been completed
· Attendance at training should be recorded to facilitate contact tracing – functionality to do this is available on the Returntoplay application
· Do not travel to watch games if feeling unwell
· If attending matches as a spectator, do not enter the playing field before, during, at half-time or full-time
· Spectators should still maintain social distancing at matches
· Spectators should keep a record of who they were in contact with at matches in the event the information is necessary for contact tracing subsequently
· Members who arrive back in Ireland from a country not on the government's green travel list should follow Government advice in this context (i.e. restrict their movements for 14 days) and are not permitted to present for GAA activities until the 14 days has elapsed.