I trust everyone is fighting fit and not finding this enforced isolation too restricting.
Personally, I found it fairly easy to keep myself occupied for a while, but now it’s driving me bonkers, and I really am missing being on court.
Looking at the England Squash website, there’s only a glimmer of hope that gyms and indoor courts will be allowed to open soon – it won’t be before mid- July, and probably not until the end of July at least, if even then.
But assuming it will be around the end of the month or shortly after, what will it be like when we are finally allowed back on court?
Unfortunately, when it does happen, it won’t be just back to normal.
There may be contact tracing documentation to complete on entering the building, before you are allowed to play.
It goes without saying that you will be expected to observe social distancing rules, and make full use of your own and any hand washing facilities, hand sanitiser etc that are provided. Even more importantly, if you’re feeling unwell then you shouldn’t even be thinking about playing squash. If you have been in contact with anyone who is COVID-19 positive in the previous two weeks you should not enter the building.
It will not be possible to share, hire or borrow clothing or equipment – those facilities are likely to be withdrawn.
There will be restrictions, such as little or no changing room access, so players will need to turn up already changed, and showering, if allowed, will be restricted, possibly to just one person at a time, depending on the facilities.
Drinks machines and water fountains may also be out of action, so be prepared and bring your own refreshments. There will also probably be a restriction on the number of people allowed on court – not a problem for a straight forward game, but that could have a very limiting effect on group coaching, club night and the ladies’ sessions.
Further, it’s likely that there will be restrictions on spectators, so arriving early and leaving late to watch matches in progress, one of my favourite practices, will not be an option. Guidelines are saying you should arrive not more than five minutes before your scheduled start. You should designate an area behind or on the court for your own belongings and keep them all together.
There may be restrictions on court timing and intervals between sessions, to allow the court to ‘air’.
Arrangements may be put in place to wipe down the walls and floor between sessions, or it may be twice a day or some other regular timing.
Obviously, wiping hands on the walls will be forbidden.
Guidelines are saying a new boxed ball should be used for each session, to be disposed of after the session. Both players will handle the ball, and I don’t think there’s any way around that, so it will be important to remember not to bring your hands into contact with your face at any time during the game. That is going to be difficult because of perspiration in eyes etc, so headbands, bandannas and wristbands will help here; if it hasn’t been your practice to use them, now may be the time to start.
Guidelines are saying that you should leave immediately after your game, remembering to take all kit, packaging, bottles and wrappers with you.
None of this is meant to replace or amend any official advice you receive from England Squash or your own club, it’s just to give you an idea of what to expect, so you can prepare for that wonderful day we’re all waiting for.
Here’s a link to the England Squash website with a video clip from Bedale Squash Club’s COVID-19 measures.