Governing body outlines prospects for grassroots game in 2021, subject to government updates

March 29 has been earmarked as the date for club cricket’s return in England, according to the updated Covid-19 roadmap issued by the ECB.

A final decision is set to be taken on March 22, but according to Step 1 (B) of the return-to-play framework, organised outdoor cricket should be allowed to resume in ten days’ time – in line with last year’s maximum of 30 participants.

Organised outdoor coaching and school cricket will also be permitted to return on the same date, so long as it is in line with government guidelines and safeguarding ratios.

However, indoor cricket, including net practice, will not be allowed to return until April 12 at the earliest, with junior cricket activities (Under-18s and below) lined up to resume at that date, subject to a government decision on April 5.

Organised indoor cricket for adults will be up for review on May 10, ahead of a potential return the following week, on May 17.

Under the provisions of Step 1, grounds and facilities are also obliged to remain closed until March 29, subject to a Covid-19 risk assessment and plan. At that point they are set to be reopened, but with no spectators permitted, although changing rooms will remain off-limits at least until April 12.

Hospitality in club matches, including the use of the pavilion, will be limited to toilets and hand-washing facilities, as well as first-aid and other safeguarding aspects, including isolation for suspected Covid cases.

No food and beverage will be permitted in the pavilion bars until May 17 at the earliest, when the rule of six or two households will apply indoors. Outdoor food, such as barbecues, may be permitted from April 12, again with the rule of six applying.

All steps of the ECB’s roadmap are dependent on government reviews, with further permitted activity anticipated when Step 4 is outlined on June 21.

For cricket clubs in Wales, facilities were reopened on March 13 for the purposes of local exercise with one’s household or support bubble, up to a maximum of four people.

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