Club Re-Opening FAQs

The EPSB has provided answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions by 147 Club members as set out below.

Updated 26th November.

Why is the EPSB limiting the number of people playing on each table?

We are following the current UK Government Guidance about meeting people from outside your household within an indoor setting.

These differ depending on the Local Restriction Tier applicable to your club from 2 December 2020, as well as separate advice for indoor sports.

Tier 1 (Medium):

In a snooker club we have set the limit at four players playing together on a snooker table where space allows, while also maintaining social distancing and excellent hygiene.

We believe this is a sensible limit and within the UK Government’s rule of six for maximum group sizes.  It also allows for either a coach or a referee, where applicable, who must also maintain social distancing at all times.

Tier 2 (High):

Adults are permitted to play singles only and can play one other household.

This follows our sport’s Covid-19 Risk Assessment and club protocols, alongside updated guidance from DCMS for indoor sports.

You can find out more about the reasoning behind this decision in our document ‘EPSB Return to Play – Covid-19 Local Restriction Tiers – overview’.

Tier 3 (Very High):

Snooker clubs must remain closed.

When can local league team matches and junior coaching academies start up again?

We have produced some guidance to support junior snooker and billiards clubs to restart from 25 July 2020.

We have produced some guidance to support local league team matches to restart from 1 August 2020.

In Tier 2, team competitions are not permitted; singles matches are allowed from up to two households.

In Tier 3, snooker clubs must remain closed.

Please see our dedicated COVID-19 guidance page for further information.

When will EPSB competitions resume?

At present, EPSB competitions will not return until further notice in line with current UK Government guidance.

Can referees participate again?

Yes – in Tier 1.  Refereeing can recommence, with referees or markers maintaining social distancing at all times and following the club and player protocols.  Gloves should be worn, which must be washed or disposed of after use.

In Tiers 2 and 3, refereeing is not permitted, except for junior, disability, educational or elite competition.

My club is not based in England.  Can these guidelines be used at my club?

Wherever your club is based, we are happy for you to use our guidelines as a ‘guide only’.

However, clubs in other locations should seek guidance and full compliance with local laws, and health and safety rules, and check with their national federation.

How should we maintain the cloth on our snooker tables under COVID-19 measures?

There are different options for maintaining the cloth to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Ironing

Ironing the table is an effective tool.  Clubs should increase the regularity of ironing. Temperatures of over 75 degrees Celsius will kill the virus.

Clubs should iron the table with the usual regularity at a normal temp of between 140-160 C at the normal frequency.  In addition, clubs should introduce additional ironing (after each session) at a lower temp (100-120 C) so that the cloth is not prematurely deteriorated.

Sanitising

Alternatively, clubs may consider the use of a mist sanitiser.

This needs to be carefully considered so as to avoid products that may damage the cloth or could be flammable, such as those containing isopropyl alcohol and de-ionized water.

There are some specialist mist sanitisers available on the market for snooker cloths.  These can be applied very quickly and easily between sessions.

The baize may be sanitised after each session where ironing the table is not considered an option.

Affiliated clubs can find out more via our 147 Club members page on Facebook or by visiting our supply partner page.

Re-cloth

Clubs may also consider a new cloth; cloth manufacturer Strachan has recently introduced an antiviral snooker cloth – 6811 Tournament Antiviral.

Please see our supply partner page for further details.

Should players wear face coverings in snooker clubs?

As of 24 September 2020, a wider number of settings require people to wear face coverings under the latest UK Government guidance.

Players must wear face coverings upon entry to any snooker premises.  Once at a designated snooker table this face covering may be removed, at the players’ discretion, to eat, drink or participate in snooker or billiards.  Face coverings must be put on again whenever leaving the designated area.  Exemptions apply.

We have taken the view that face coverings can be removed to participate in snooker or billiards because this is a recognised sport and, as such, meets the following exemption within the government guidance, which states:

“There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering…

    • if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so”

This is guidance only and clubs must also continue to consult their Local Authority and Health and Safety Executive for approval of their club Covid-19 secure protocols.

The government guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities may help clubs to consider these risks.

What time should our club close if we provide hospitality?

The UK Government’s Winter Plan, which applies from 2 December 2020, states the following:

“For hospitality in tiers 1 and 2, the previous 10pm closing time policy has been modified to 10pm last orders and 11pm closing time, ensuring customers can depart across that period, rather than all at the same time, in order to help with social distancing.”

Snooker facilities provide indoor sport, so while your hospitality area must stop serving at 10pm and close at 11pm, your club’s snooker tables can continue to operate.

You will be able to offer a self-serve vending option instead of bar provision.

In Tier 3, snooker clubs as a whole must remain closed.

Can I serve alcohol to snooker players?

The UK Government’s Winter Plan, which applies from 2 December 2020, states the following:

“In order to strengthen tier 2, venues that serve alcohol can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals (and accompanying drinks). In tier 3, hospitality will be closed except for takeaway, delivery or drive-through.”

Clubs in Tiers 1 and 2 that do not serve alcohol can remain open providing their snooker facilities are available for use.

For those clubs that serve alcohol, the following applies:

Tier 1 (Medium):

You can serve alcohol as normal, albeit within the hours stated above.

Tier 2 (High):

You can only serve alcohol alongside substantial meals.  We advise such meals to be served within a hospitality area.  If separate tables are set up near to snooker tables, then these should be placed at a social distance from the playing area and any players from different households should be seated at separate tables.

The government’s definition of a substantial meal is:

“a full breakfast, main lunchtime or evening meal”

If snooker players do not wish to buy a substantial meal, or your club does not offer substantial meals, then you will only be able to serve those players soft drinks within the hospitality opening hours stated above.

Tier 3 (Very High):

Snooker clubs must remain closed.

Who can I allow in my club in Tier 2?

People should only be in your club to eat a substantial meal at a table or to play snooker or billiards.

Anyone else should not remain in the club.

Nb. EPSB does not determine any guidance for other indoor sports.  You will need to consult the relevant sports governing body for advice.