Objective: To implement a successful strategy, in conjunction with Public Health England and the Hurlingham Polo Association, to guarantee a safe, yet effective environment for Club patrons and playing members and their associated staff during training sessions at Guards Polo Club and its affiliated grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players / Grooms
All individuals who continue to be advised by Public Health England to remain in lockdown at home are not permitted at the Club at this time regardless of their Membership status – a full list is published at the end of this document. This includes all individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms.
No Player or any person working for them (vets, grooms, coach, horsebox drivers) will be allowed entry to Guards Polo Club or its affiliated fields (referred henceforward as GPC) unless they have been symptom-free for the last 14 days, nor been in contact with anyone who has those symptoms (except in a professional capacity as a doctor, nurse or allied health professional).
All personnel coming to GPC must complete and sign a one-off HPA waiver and lodge it with the Polo Office by 3pm the day before they are due to be at GPC. The player is responsible for their team personnel (e.g. groom, driver, coach) completing this documentation. Failure to provide this information in advance will result in the player’s training session being cancelled and both ponies and groom denied entry to the Club.
The player, who is responsible for all accompanying staff, must lodge health declarations for both themselves and their support team at the Polo Office by 3pm the day before they are all due at GPC. Failure to provide this information within the designated time frame will result in the player’s training session being cancelled and both ponies and groom denied entry to the Club.
All players, support staff, match officials and GPC staff must have their temperature checked on arrival at the ground. This will be carried out by a qualified paramedic, part of our Polaris blue light ambulance service. This is compulsory and failure to comply will result in you being refused permission to the training session. The paramedic's decision is final and anyone with a raised temperature will be asked to leave the Club immediately. This process will be carried out every time you visit a GPC location. It is also the responsibility of the player to ensure that their support team travelling for them on these training session days – and going forward on match days - is healthy and not showing signs of a temperature.
A player’s support team must not consist of more than three additional people – 1 driver, 1 groom and 1 coach. The Polo Office advises that the player and the groom both travel independently of the horsebox unless the groom is driving the horsebox.
Entry to Smith’s Lawn is via Blacknest Gate only – SL5 7SA. Players and their personnel may need to provide proof of identification on entry and only the staff listed on the signed declaration will be allowed entry.
Players, grooms and drivers must provide their own gloves, masks and hand sanitizer. The control at Blacknest Gate and the entrances to Flemish Farm and Coworth Park may ask to see proof of this PPE.
Grounds will be predetermined and times strictly adhered to in order to maintain social distancing regulations. Players and their support teams must only go to the allocated ground and its associated parking area. Guards Polo Club is following a strict hygiene protocol.
If you are unable to keep to your booked time or are running late for your training session you must contact the Polo Office immediately to discuss your options.
Horseboxes must not arrive at GPC any earlier than 60 minutes prior to the booked training session.
Each player is only allowed 6 horses at any training session. A maximum of 6 players and a Covid Marshall will be allowed on the polo field at any one time and social distancing measures must be adhered to at all times. The Covid Marshall will be mounted and supervise social distancing measures on the field.
There is no food or drink available at GPC at this time and so all personnel must bring their own individual refreshments.
Any training session shall involve no contact and a 2m distance between individuals must be maintained at all times.
Objective: Match Officials / Vets
All individuals who continue to be advised by Public Health England to remain in lockdown at home are not permitted at the Club at this time– a full list is published at the end of this document. This includes all individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms.
No match official or vet will be allowed entry to GPC or its affiliated fields (unless they have been symptom-free for the last 14 days, and not been in contact with anyone who has those symptoms (except in a professional capacity as a doctor, nurse or allied health professional).
All personnel coming to GPC must complete and sign a one-off HPA waiver and lodge it with the Polo Office by 3pm the day before they are due at GPC. Failure to provide this information in advance will result in the match official/ vet being denied entrance to GPC.
All personnel must send a health declaration and lodge it with the Polo Office by 3pm the day before they are due at GPC. Failure to provide this information in advance will result in the match official/vet being denied entrance to GPC.
Guards Polo Club will provide sanitised safety equipment for all match officials. All personnel should bring their own hand sanitizer and gloves.
There is no food or drink available at the Club at this time and so everyone must provide their own refreshments.
All match officials must follow the location advice as provided by the Polo Office. Match officials must arrive 2 hours before each agreed training session.
Match Officials Roles and Responsibilities
To ensure hygiene protocols and social distancing regulations are observed,
Deliver a smooth transition between each training session and ensure each session runs to time,
Liaise with Polo Manager/Ground Staff and players where necessary.
Social Distancing Policy
To reduce footfall in high risk areas – such as pony lines and lorry parks – and maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from the Club, while at the Club, when playing and when travelling between sites. All personnel involved in training sessions at GPC will be given advance notice of the relevant ground and must only visit that ground and relevant parking areas and pony lines. Copies of our social distancing and hygiene protocols will be available at all times at GPC in addition to being emailed to all players before the training sessions commence.
Polo personnel must only use designated parking areas and pony lines as agreed when booking the training session. No access will be allowed to other grounds.
Grooms must observe social distancing rules at all times, especially when watching the polo or caring for the ponies in the pony lines.
Players must avoid contact, including handshakes, with all other personnel while at GPC.
Team tents, where available, will be marked up with 2m markings to ensure social distancing when unmounted.
All pony changes must be managed with social distancing in place.
All polo personnel should follow match officials’ advice at all times as protocols may change due to congestion/incident.
A paramedic will be on site for all training sessions and all polo personnel will take their lead from them in respect of social distancing in the case of an accident.
The GPC ground staff has its own social distancing policy and hygiene protocols in respect of an injured or deceased horse. Copies of these are available to a vet or team manager on request.
Objective: To keep playing areas clean and prevent COVID-19 transmission by contact or touching contaminated surfaces. This document is available at GPC at every training session and will be sent out in advance to all players before training sessions commence.
Guards Polo Club will disinfect every pony line and surrounding areas after each training day has concluded.
Portable lavatories are provided in all relevant box parks and will be deep cleaned weekly.
Guards Polo Club has created hand sanitizer stations at several points at Smith’s Lawn, Flemish Farm and Coworth Park. All personnel should use a hand sanitizer on arrival and several times during each visit to GPC. A map of all the locations is provided with this document.
Grooms should disinfect reins and saddles immediately after use.
Grooms must provide water for horses to drink and for hosing them down as none is available at GPC.
There is no access to the Guards Polo Club Office, Clubhouse or changing rooms. If you wish to speak to a member of the Polo Office please contact them via phone.
All polo personnel should take any rubbish generated back with them to dispose of at home.
Guards Polo Club will translate its key messages into Spanish and have dual language notices – encouraging good hygiene habits - at all polo venues.
It is the responsibility of every person involved in polo at Guards Polo to take responsibility for their own hygiene protocol.