COVID-19 Update

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COVID-19 Update

I hope you are keeping well and continuing to stay safe during this Covid-19 period of uncertainty. It has been five weeks since the ABF recommended clubs close to protect our extremely high-risk clientele and to afford the highest level of health and safety to the members, their families and the wider community. Although it was a difficult decision for clubs, the response was phenomenal and I thank clubs for accepting the recommendation, which subsequently became a government mandate.

This period of closure of clubs is particularly difficult for a number of our more senior players who are isolated in their homes and remain separated from their families.  I have been heartened to hear from some of these players that their club keeps in touch regularly simply by making a phone call to see how they are going or delivering shopping to the door. The knowledge that they are important to their bridge community has helped many players to feel connected, not isolated.

While a number of players have found on-line bridge, the bulk of club membership is focused on companionship and fellowship and players are keen to return to the bridge table. At this stage, the ABF, State and Territory organisations and clubs cannot predict when clubs can open again.

Although Australia is “flattening the curve” the Federal Government has imposed strict measures and restrictions that remain in place. States and Territories are also making decisions based on local circumstances. There are three elements that will influence how quickly restrictions will be lifted: testing, contact tracing and social distancing. The latter will undoubtedly be the largest obstacle for clubs.

State and Territory governments will make decisions to lift current restrictions on gatherings at different times.  We have already seen schools opening in some states and remaining closed in others. It will be up to State and Territory organisations and clubs to heed the advice of the government and consider the welfare of all staff and members before resuming sessions.

Stay safe and I look forward to hearing that you are back at the bridge table in the near future.

Allison Stralow
ABF President

25 April, 2020

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