COVID contest guidelines

Pipe Bands Australia has released a policy to guide branches and promoters in the conduct of competitions while social distancing and other restrictions remain in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy acknowledges that while restrictions vary from state to state, the imperative in providing guidance has been to balance integrity of Contest Regulations with the practical and flexible considerations required to adjust during the challenging times.

Music principals and members of national council were part of the consultative process in formulating the policy together with research of requirements put in place by other national organisations.

Consideration has also been given to social gathering restrictions that have and may continue to inhibit bands gathering for practice in preparation for any contest. This has formed the foundation of an interim cap of 20 players per band.

The policy recommends that only open or concert formation be used in any contest while social distancing restrictions are in place – players standing on appropriately distanced dots – to ensure the integrity of any government and health directives.

Under the policy, a number of trial rules or dispensation to existing rules will be allowed to maximise opportunity for bands to consider attending a contest, should that be possible.

The policy also aims to provide bands with additional information in making decisions on whether they participate in public gatherings. The policy only addresses conduct of a pipe band competition and not a competition proposed as part of a larger event. Branches may need to consider additional requirements in assessing whether contests should be held.

In releasing the policy, National Management Committee also advised that the policy is under constant review as restrictions change and additional information becomes available.

While it is appreciated that the historic structure of a pipe band contest is cherished by many, in these COVID times it is not possible to return to the “old normal”, the health of all members clearly the No 1 priority.

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