Leinster Rugby TV visited Gorey RFC this week to see how they are preparing their grounds and members for a return to rugby with the new health and safety measures.

The Wexford club’s COVID-19 safety officer Declan Gibney talked through the implementation of the new protocols, outlining how they began planning together weeks ago.

“The first thing we did was we started preparing our own response plan back in probably early May,” he says, “really as a sense of gaining control, having some plan, having something we could share with members and players that this is what we’re thinking about.

“We were very conscious about the government strategy for reopening business and society and the return to work protocol, try to build something around that, that the club would mirror the strategies within the government.

“We knew there would be other plans coming that would influence that but we tried to have our own sense of planning. That was the first thing we did.”

Some of the changes that will face the returning players and coaches include limited facilities, contact tracing forms and less of the pre- or post-training socialising, all designed to create a safer environment.

“They can expect to be filling out a ‘Return to Play’ questionnaire that questions your health and symptoms of COVID. That’s the first thing,” Declan adds.

“Second of all, some information about travelling to training, not sharing a lift, getting here just in time, coming here togged out and not having to use the training facilities. They won’t be open, they won’t be available.

“The gym won’t be open, won’t be available. The toilet will be available for those who need to use it on a ‘one in, one out’ basis. It’ll be very much a sense of just in time. Get here in time, be ready to train, train, leave and go home.”

Gorey are also confident that their new procedures will enable them to react positively and efficiently should a COVID-19 case arise within the club during the re-integration of members.

“We have our contact groups absolutely spot on, we have our logs are in place for each group, that they’re kept to the limit of numbers in their group, that we have the contact tracing afterwards if it ever arises that we need to do that.

“There’ll be a lot of differences but at the same time we want to integrate it into normal as well and make sure that they don’t feel like they can’t train and they can’t get something out of training. It needs to be fun, there needs to be development and we need to manage that process for them.”