Covid-19: Additional Guidance for Lawn Bowls
Issued: 31st July 2020


Social distancing

Social distancing guidelines should be followed between people from different households wherever possible. This means a distance of 2m between people from different households, or 1m plus mitigations (such as face coverings or avoiding face-to-face contact) where 2m is not possible. We recommend that players maintain social distancing of 2m.

Face masks

There is no current requirement from the Government for face masks to be worn whilst participating in sport and physical activity outdoors. Clubs may consider the use of face masks as part of their risk assessment if they determine that 2m social distancing is not possible.


Hand sanitise at regular intervals, especially if you have to touch communal surfaces or equipment. Once you are home, remember to wash your hands thoroughly.


Try to avoid using shared equipment whenever possible. If you are sharing equipment, for example jacks/mats, practise strict hand hygiene. Should measuring be necessary, players (or marker if used) must use their own measure.

The following items can be utilised during any session:

 The following items are deemed optional – it is for individual clubs to permit their use or otherwise:

 Travelling for bowls

You can travel, however you should not travel in a small motor vehicle with someone from outside your household (for example you should not give a lift to any players from outside your household nor accept one). You should also consider all other forms of transport before using public transport


Use of rinks and format of play

Bowls England recommends the following formats of play:

• Singles or Pairs – clubs may use every available rink

• Triples or Fours – alternate rinks (clubs may give consideration to the creation of additional space between rinks to create room for social distancing e.g. four rinks laid out for play with half-rink between on an average six rink green)


Our previous guidance advised that the total number of people on club premises be capped at 30 and take into account players/spectators and volunteers. While the regulations do now permit larger gatherings in covid secure venues, clubs must ensure that distinct groups of no more than six people and social distancing are maintained (part of the covid secure requirements). It is for individual clubs to determine how they wish to operate within these requirements.


Spectators are permitted within bowls clubs. It is for each club to determine how many spectators are permitted while still ensuring everyone can remain socially distanced. Spectators must not be in groups of more than six from different households within the wider space, as per public health guidance.

Committee Meetings/Annual General Meetings

The Government has issued guidance to enable organisations to comply with legal requirements on holding Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and other meetings while keeping their and members safe. Sport specific guidance on organising virtual meetings, including Committee Meetings and AGMs, is available from Sport England Club Matters.

Club Nights and Competitions

The government has confirmed that club nights and competitions can now restart, provided that clubs follow published guidance.

Changing Rooms/Toilets

Indoor facilities, apart from toilets and throughways, should be closed. When accessing and leaving toilets you should wipe down areas of contact, wash hands thoroughly, use paper towels where possible and avoid touching any surfaces in transit. Where clubs deem changing facilities necessary, they must set clear guidance on use, ensure they are kept clean, clear of personal items and that social distancing is adhered to.

 Bars and Restaurants

We welcomed the easing of restrictions that the Government announced with regard to bars and restaurants, and this has enabled members to gain refreshment after their game of bowls and clubs to generate much-needed income. We released a checklist for clubs on the re-opening of bars and restaurants as part of our ‘Back2Bowls’ guidance.

If bar/catering facilities are open respect social distancing whilst queuing for food and drink. Ensure clear signage is in place so people can find their destination quickly. Look at how people walk through your club and consider how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact. For example, queue management or one-way flow, where possible. Using outside premises for queuing where available and safe, for example car parks.

Do not share food items, cups, plates or eating utensils with anyone else. Consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash. Ensure social distancing between customers and servers when food or drink is handed over, and consider using screens.

Communicating clearly and consistently

Communicate clearly and regularly with members to set out what you are doing to manage risk, and what advice you are giving to individuals to do likewise.

NHS Test and Trace

You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of all visitors to your club for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your club, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that information if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Flexibility and innovation

Clubs should be ready to strengthen or relax measures at short notice (for example in the case of a ‘local lockdown’). Clubs are encouraged to think creatively about how best to organise bowls within the guidelines. We will continue to share examples of good practice over the coming weeks.

Keeping members and visitors safe

The Government has published guidance to help workplaces operate as safely as possible. You should refer to this guidance. Relevant points are:

 Keeping facilities and equipment clean

Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. Touch points (e.g. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

Maintaining hygiene, through handwashing, sanitisation facilities and toilets

To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to the following items: