The Roadmap out of Lockdown for Snooker Clubs in England

Posted on: 23 February 2021

Last edited on: 13 April 2021

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The government has announced it’s plans for the ending of the current lockdown in England

The roadmap gives us an idea as to what the government would like to see happen, but is not cast in stone. The easing will be dependent on “data rather than dates” as the PM says.

Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

Providing the tests have been satisfied, the first key date is the 12 April. This is when indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms, should open, but for individual, use only.

The problem at the moment for snooker clubs is the classification they fit into.

Are they sports facilities or indoor entertainment or indoor leisure?

If snooker clubs can be classed alongside gyms, then there is no reason as to why they can’t be allowed to open on 12 April, for individual use. When I say individual, this can include anyone in one’s household or bubble. Clubs won’t be allowed to serve food or alcohol but they may be allowed to provide vending machines.

Many clubs will probably view this as not economically viable as they rely on sales of alcohol and food for their main income. This in turn will mean that the next significant date of 17 May will apply to them.

Bear in mind that some snooker clubs do not serve alcohol anyway, so they might well like to open on 12 April.

On 17 May pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open, so snooker clubs should then be okay to open.

Unless clubs are given clear guidance that can be used when negotiating with local authorities, it is expected that 17 May will be the preferred date for many.

The EPSB have said:

Following yesterday’s (22 February) government announcements which detailed the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England, the EPSB is currently conducting a thorough review of the information available before issuing formal guidance as to its application to snooker facilities and competitions.

Update: 5 April 2021

The Prime Minister confirmed the plans for Step 2 on 12 April will go ahead.

Snooker clubs are NOT included in these plans though so we have to wait until 17 May.

Update: 13 April 2021

The plans for 12 April went ahead as expected and snooker clubs were not included.

Apparently, snooker clubs operate under a “premises licence” which means means that, when considering Step 3 which will take place no earlier than 17 May –

Facilities which can be used for sport but are primarily used for leisure (Including snooker halls) can open at this stage.

Nigel Huddleston MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Sport and Tourism

So it looks like the WPBSA (presumably acting on behalf of the EPSB?) still have a way to go to convince Sport England and the DCMS that snooker should be considered as a sport.

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