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COVID-19 advice for course maintenance

COVID-19 advice for course maintenance: What is classed as ‘essential maintenance’ during the Covid-19 outbreak? The R&A and BIGGA have had their say.

How much maintenance does a golf course really need during the coronavirus pandemic?

COVID-19 advice for course maintenance

COVID-19 advice for course maintenance

After the Government put new curbs on personal movement as the outbreak intensified, greenkeeping teams were advised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport they could still attend work for “security and essential maintenance purposes”.

That led the body that represents greenkeepers, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association, to urgently seek clarification on what ‘essential’ actually meant. Now the R&A, in conjunction with BIGGA, have given their view. Here is the statement in full…

Essential Maintenance Statement for Golf Courses during COVID-19 Outbreak

The following industry statement sets out a reduced, essential maintenance regime for greenkeeping that protects workers, jobs and secures golfing facilities for the physical and mental wellbeing of millions of golfers who will resume play when social distancing rules are ended. The UK’s £2bn GVA golf industry is only sustainable if greenkeepers continue to work, safely and securely.

Our industry statement outlines those treatments considered essential for the safe maintenance a golf course during the current government restrictions. It is accepted that golf courses exist in many different forms, on many different soil types and in differing landscapes and that this guidance may require adaptation.

Working practices

The primary consideration must be the health and wellbeing of greenkeeping staff. All golf facilities should implement stringent measures to ensure staff members are not at risk. The amount of time that greenkeeping staff are at work should be kept to a minimum and be tailored to fit with the agreed essential maintenance programme.

Measures should include but are not limited to:

  • Focus on hygiene and social distancing
  • Ensure staff members work separately
  • Allocate individual machinery to one worker only
  • If multiple staff on site, then stagger working hours and break times
  • Limit or prohibit use of communal areas
  • Regularly disinfect any surface that is contacted e.g. door handles, fuel pumps, communal machinery
  • Ensure there is a robust lone working policy

Mowing

Greens should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of three times per week. Dew removal should be considered on non-mowing days as required to prevent disease spread.

Tees and green surrounds should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.

Fairways should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.

Managed roughs and grass paths should be mown according to need to a maximum of once every two weeks (fortnightly). Only roughs considered to be in direct play should be mown allowing for naturalisation to areas largely out of play.

The height of cut adopted for all these areas is site specific but the elevation of the cutting height on fine turf areas is advised to minimise unnecessary stress on the turf. The aim of the above operations is to maintain uniformity, density, texture and health to allow surfaces to be quickly brought back to an appropriate playing standard once play resumes.

Irrigation and Nutrition

Irrigation and nutrition should be carried out as necessary but with the objectives of keeping the turf alive, maintaining a full sward and preventing turf thinning. Avoid excesses of either input which will only serve to promote unnecessary growth and necessitate more maintenance.

Machinery and Equipment Maintenance

This should be carried out as required to ensure that essential equipment is kept safe and operational.

Operations such as maintaining bunkers, penalty areas, wider practice facilities (other than greens and tees), aeration, top dressing and spraying are not considered essential at this time. However, it is conceivable that occasional spraying to control an acute pest, weed or disease problem may be considered essential at times and in some circumstances.

Updates

Given the fluidity of the current situation there may be a requirement to update and re-issue this guidance in respect of future government advice.

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Weedingtech COVID-19 statement

Weedingtech COVID-19 statement: Weedingtech has issued a statement regarding Covid-19 assuring clients, colleagues and partners of full support through what is likely to be a very difficult few months.

During this time the company will keep everyone up to date with all activity regarding Foamstream and staff will be available to assist with queries and requirements.

Weedingtech COVID-19 statement

Weedingtech COVID-19 statement

“As a working practice, Weedingtech is following the guidance we are being provided by the UK Government.” Says CEO Leo de Montaignac. “Whilst the UK has been put in lockdown  we are keeping a skeleton crew in the warehouses to maintain essential operations. We expect controls on movement to continue to increase in the coming days and weeks.  Our staff welfare is paramount to us. We will do all we can to support them and their families at this time while remaining committed to supporting our clients to the best of our ability.”

Weedingtech point out Foamstream Deep Clean and Sanitisation has been approved as a biocide by the EU and the EPA.   Independent lab studies the company has commissioned show Foamstream to have a highly powerful viricidal effect at controlling potentially life-threatening viruses like Hepatitis C.  Although they don’t yet have any conclusive testing concerning Coronavirus (Covid-19) it is planned and they are confident that the principle of applying extreme heat to the virus will help reduce its transmission in outside spaces such as bus stops, hospital congregation areas e.g. car parks, smoking areas etc; supermarket car parks and parking machines, public space furniture, playgrounds and public exercise and sports facilities. Many of their customers, they say, are asking if Foamstream can be used in these areas and the answer given is yes.  They recommend using it daily because it is believed it can help reduce the transmission of viruses.

With people based at home and unable to travel, the company is working to create a virtual demo with the option to book allotted times with a local sales representative. Clients can call in, watch the virtual demo and have answers to any questions. This means anyone can still have a Foamstream demo during this difficult time, wherever they are based. The company will announce when this is up and running and demos can be booked. Weedingtech has also created several simple videos that will provide a temporary substitute for training purposes and these will be available online. Weedingtech staff will be available for all client queries as usual whatever the time zone.

“At Weedingtech, we have a strong team and a strong ethos.” Says Leo. “We are always here for our customers and partners as we will continue to be through this challenging time.”

You can find out more about Foamstream technology by contacting Weedingtech +44 203 09 0050 or visit www.weedingtech.com

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ECHA support action against COVID-19

ECHA support action against COVID-19: ECHA will, together with the European Commission, support Member States and industry in addressing disinfectant shortages. The Agency will also extend some of its deadlines to help chemicals companies.

ECHA is taking measures to support EU action to fight the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Agency will, together with the European Commission, support Member States and industry to address shortages with the supply of disinfectants, which has become a critical issue in several EU Member States.

ECHA support action against COVID-19

ECHA support action against COVID-19

Bjorn Hansen, ECHA’s Executive Director says: “It is essential to ensure that there are enough disinfectants available for health professionals and European citizens. The main limiting factor seems to be the availability of active substances used in these biocidal products – in particular isopropanol, 1-propanol and ethanol. We are working, together with the Commission, on special arrangements to help Member States and companies get more disinfectants on the market as soon as possible.”

More details about concrete actions will follow soon.

Deadlines for certain processes will also be handled flexibly, including the payment of invoices. For certain deadlines that fall between now and the end of May 2020, companies will receive an extension of two months. This applies to cases where companies have initially failed to provide a complete registration for their chemicals and were granted a final deadline between March and May 2020, as well as for requests for further information related to confidentiality claims.

An extension of 30 days will also apply for companies to comment on ECHA’s draft decisions in cases where a registration has been considered incompliant with legal requirements.

More information on these arrangements will be published soon and duty holders will also be informed directly through ECHA’s IT systems.

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