Bowls New Zealand COVID-19 Update, Level 2, 26/05/20

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Dear All

 As you will be aware, Monday’s announcement from Government provides New Zealanders with a relaxation of some of the restrictions of Alert Level 2 from midday on Friday 29th May, specifically the removal of the “Groups of 10” restriction. As a result of this change, bowling clubs will likely find their operation simpler to manage than previously under Alert Level 2 should they wish to open for business again.

 For those clubs that have been operating under the “Groups of 10” restriction since last Thursday and to those that wish to open their doors from midday on Friday, we recommend that you continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations that we outlined on 13th May. An updated version of these recommendations is attached for your reference.

 Key points to note are as follows:

  • Players can play in a competition format and/or across multiple rinks on the same green (i.e. it is possible to play on multiple rinks) providing the maximum of six people per rink / six rinks per green is retained.
  • Interaction between players on the green and in the clubhouse is permissible providing our recommended maximum of 36 people on a green / 50 people in the clubhouse is considered.
  • AGMs / Prizegiving Functions and other meetings can now take place in a clubhouse.

 As previously:

  • Our recommendations are provided to clubs as a baseline from which they can make their own decisions, providing they remain within the present Government legislation. We accept that every club has a different setup and that factors such as clubhouse configuration, management structure and membership specifics will be relevant to a club’s final decision around their operation after midday on Friday 29th May.
  • Through me, we will continue to provide support to clubs and / or their Executive personnel that wish to discuss their particular situation with a view to making good decisions around their operation from Friday afternoon.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to the health and safety of your members and to the game that we all love.


Kind regards

Chris Lander

General Manager – Clubs & Community


Dear All

Like most sports and organisations, Bowls New Zealand were somewhat caught out by the governments ‘ten persons or less’ guideline for the first couple of weeks of Alert Level Two. We had, like most, been working on a scenario that allowed for larger sporting groups to connect, under safe conditions.

We have since reviewed the Government and Sport NZ information, and offer the following to bowling clubs in these early stages of Alert Level 2:

Bowls New Zealand’s recommendation is that bowling clubs do not open until the ‘ten persons or less’ guideline is either removed or increased.

IF Bowling Clubs wish to open under Alert Level Two and support the ‘ten persons or less’ guideline, then we have the following expectations:

  1. That any activity on the bowling green be limited to a bubble of six persons or less on a ‘wide’ rink (up to six rinks per green max.)
    1. There shall be no movement between rinks, that would see members of one bubble (six persons or less) playing members of another bubble; and
    2. That upon entering the clubrooms, this bubble of six persons or less must be seated at the same table(s) and there be no mixing between bubbles in the clubrooms.
  1. That any club opening their facilities only for the purposes of food and beverage wait until Thursday 21st May, when bars are permitted to be open:
    1. That a contact tracing register MUST be maintained, facilities are hygienic and that the distancing rules are applied; and
    2. That no external group bookings of ten or more be permitted to the clubrooms.

All bowling clubs should also continue to follow the attached ‘Best Practice’ Guidelines (13-May) if either their greens or clubrooms are open under Alert Level Two.

Bowls New Zealand is supportive of any club that decides not to open during Alert Level Two, as we continue to promote a ‘health before bowls’ message. If in doubt, then let’s simply delay opening our sport and clubrooms to our communities …. There will still be plenty of bowls to be played in 2020.

Should you wish to have any of the above explained in greater detail or have another question or issue that requires clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Stay safe.

Kind regards



8th May Update

To all Bowling Clubs (cc Centres)

Alert Level 2

Attached are Bowls NZ’s latest recommendations on Alert Level 2.

Following the announcement yesterday (7-May) from the Government on what Alert Level 2 looks like, we have updated our guidelines/recommendations established back on the 1st May. As an at-risk community we should continue to ‘play it safe’ by limiting the number of people within our facilities, maintaining the physical distancing rules, keeping a register of who uses our facilities and most importantly ensure our facilities and patrons maintain high levels of hygiene.

So absolutely, please re-open your bowling clubs for your membership and local community if you wish to do so – after six weeks of ‘isolation’ we all welcome the chance to reconnect with friends. However lets, as a community, continue to ‘play it safe’ and place our communities health ahead of bowls.

Sport NZ short-term relief package

Covid-19 has presented some very unique and exceptional challenges to our country, health system and economy.

As we progress from Alert Levels 4 and 3 to Alert Level 2 in the coming week, the true economic impact on our communities will be realised.

Yesterday Sport NZ announced a new short-term relief package for sporting clubs in Aotearoa, as part of a wider community resilience package…. Thanks Sport NZ!!

Eligible clubs can apply for up to $1000, so that they can continue delivering critical functions during the period of Covid-19 alert levels.

This Fund is intended to help cover fixed administration costs that a club is currently unable to pay because of financial hardship caused by the impact of Covid-19. Fixed administration costs must relate to the period April to June 2020. The fund is being administered by your local RST (see the full list at the end of this email/note) who will have full application details on their websites from Monday 11-May.

Bowling clubs are eligible to apply to this fund but, if I may, can I also offer a note of caution.

There are a number of community sports clubs (especially those of the winter codes) that are going to be suffering significant financial hardship due to Covid-19. We (bowls) were fortunate that the majority of our bowls season was completed prior to lock-down and with some club exceptions, the financial hardship that other sports are feeling is significantly more than the sport of bowls.

My advice to bowling clubs looking to apply to the above Sport NZ fund, is that you need to be comfortable justifying ‘hardship’, when compared to other sports clubs in your community (especially the winter codes).

There will be bowling clubs who have missed out on revenues for the March-May months and unable to meet its operational costs – these clubs should absolutely apply to this Sport NZ fund.

However if your club is ‘managing’, then lets be mindful that there will be other clubs more in need of this limited fund than ourselves.

Other Relief Support

I would also remind all bowling clubs that there are other avenues, should they find themselves in a position of hardship. They include:

  • Local Council managed hardship funds
  • Bowls New Zealand (we are looking to establish a hardship fund in the 2020/2021 Budget)
  • Sport NZ and RST packages (in addition to the above)
  • (Limited) funds from Community Trusts, once we return to a new ‘normal’

If any of our 478 bowling clubs is experiencing significant hardship then please contact Bowls New Zealand (Chris, Martin, Steve or I) – we are here to assist and support.

Wishing you all the best as we move into Alert Level 2 – time to reconnect but ‘play it safe’.

Kind regards

Mark Cameron

CEO, Bowls New Zealand


+64 21 270 8060


Mark also caught up with some of our Centre Managers on these two topics – the video has been recorded and available here:

List of Regional Sports Trusts:

Auckland Sport and Recreation

Sport Bay of Plenty

Sport Canterbury – Canterbury/West Coast

Sport Gisborne

Sport Hawke’s Bay

Sport Manawatu

Sport Northland

Sport Otago

Sport Southland

Sport Taranaki

Sport Tasman

Sport Waikato

Sport Wanganui

Sport Wellington