Following on from our previous email this morning, we have been in a number of discussions with relevant authorities across South Australia, including advice received from the SAPOL COVID-19 Coordination Group.
I can provide a further udpate to members and the turf industry in South Australia, that these discussions have provided further clarity relating to activities that are permitted to be undertaken by essential workers.
We have been informed that under the Emergency Management Act (Stay at Home)(COVID-19) Direction 2020 (copy available here) that:
This also extends to organisations that provide services (paid, voluntary or under contract) necessary for the health and safety of a premises, or who perform maintenance work at a facility to prevent damage or loss, that is required for the continued operations of the facility.
As mentioned this morning in my previous update, I can confirm that the reference made to essential operations at a facility includes playing surfaces, and work deemed necessary in order to prevent damage to, or loss of, turf including preventative measures based on individual facility requirements or circumstances.
This may include such tasks as watering of turf to prevent loss, essential management of wicket squares, watering of greens, chemical applications to prevent pests and disease (or as required), urgent irrigation works and similar preventative activities are identified by the qualified turf manager and/or facility manager as essential that cannot be delayed for the coming 6 day period.
If there are further updates this afternoon, we will be in touch further. Please don't hesitate to let myself or the team know if further information may be required.
Late yesterday evening, the SA Government updated its COVID-19 Response Directions in response to the COVID-19 situation in the State. A new Direction has been issued in relation to the Stay at Home requirements for South Australia as a Circuit Breaker to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
This Direction comes into effect as of 12:01 am Thursday 19 November 2020 and is applied alongside all other Directions that are currently in place under the Emergency Management Act 2004
Outlined in the Directions is a restriction for leaving home unless identified as an Essential Worker. An Essential worker is a person may leave the home for the purpose of undertaking duties as an essential worker which are classified as those people who perform work which is essential for the continued operation of identified businesses or operations.
Included in the Directions are a series of items (below) that pertain to the allowance of essential activities required to prevent damage to equipment, facilities and infrastructure. Specifically, these items are listed as:
This information is available from the SA Government via it's COVID-19 website at: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/response
From relevant government bodies we have been in discussions with including the Office of the Commissioner of Police South Australia, it is our advice that the above directions include essential turf management practices required in order to prevent damage to facilities.
The reference made to essential worker operations at a facility that is not able to be shut down without causing damage to plant and equipment includes turf playing surfaces, however it should be noted that only those operations that are necessary in order to prevent damage to the turf such as watering of greens, chemical applications to prevent pests and disease (or as required), urgent irrigation works and similar preventative activities are identified as essential.
We are currently liaising with the Office for Recreation, Sport & Racing, Golf Australia, SAGCSA and other bodies to ensure communications are developed for the industry, and expect these to be completed and send to facilities later this morning.
As you can perhaps understand, SA Health, the Ministers Office, the ORSR and many other government bodies are working extensively at this time to provide as much clarity as possible to industry and other bodies within the State. We will endeavour to keep you updated with further communications throughout the morning as this information is relayed to us from the various departments working through the current situation.
Further to my update this morning, there have been more recent announcements from the South Australian Government relating to restrictions on business and activities, effective from midnight November 18th.
As announced by South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, from midnight tonight South Australia will introduce a six-day lockdown deisgned to "stay ahead" of a growing COVID-19 outbreak threatening the state.
The lockdown will implement a number of "wide-ranging restrictions" including limiting movement of residents and restrictions to businesses.
At this stage there has been no clarity provided by SA Health relating to industry specific restrictions or exemptions for essential activities, and we are currently working with Golf Australia to adress the issues covered in my previous update this morning related to the request for turf management to be granted an exemption to restrictions as an essential activity due to the nature of the industry, and critical need for ongoing manage and maintainance of turf.
We have been informed that further updates to restrictions and a detailed overview of industry and business specific updates will be provided later this afternoon, shortly after 4.00pm (SA time) and at which point we will again be in touch to discuss requirements for golf clubs, councils and sportsfields based on updated advice.
We are co-ordinating an approach for communication and updates between Golf Australia (GA), the General Managers Association (GMA) and ourselves to update the Commissioner, Officer of Recreation, Sport & Racing, and the office of the Minister for Sport & Recreation, and we will co-ordinate locally with the SAGCSA, GMA and Golf Australia support in South Australia further communications as we have them to all members, and a provide a further update to all members later this afternoon.