With everything from getting to away games to travelling to training venues to consider, chief executive Nigel Clibbens admitted that every area of the club was going through changes at various levels to meet the new requirements and to ensure that safety remains at the forefront of everything we do.
CHIEF EXEC: All players will need to pass a Covid test to progress to stage two31 July 2020
“There are so many things we need to look at and change to make sure we follow the protocols,” he said. “Geography wise we have a lot of players who aren’t from this area, so they travel up together and stay in the club houses.
“That is a strict ‘no’ now, which is difficult. That impacts on how much time players spend on the road and the scheduling of training. They can’t stay together in case one of them gets the virus, which then spreads into the whole squad.
“If that happens you’re into all kinds of isolation and quarantine issues. We’d usually have the scholars staying in digs together but that will all have to be reviewed so we can look at how we can work in the new environment.”
“All club staff, coaching staff and players will be tested before stage two training starts,” he told us. “The guidance then says halfway through pre-season they should get another test, and then before the first competitive match they should have another test.
“Compared to how it was before, the testing regime has reduced down to only three tests. It’s still important, and it’s been replaced by a lot of operational things to mitigate the risk of catching it in the first place.
“If we get a spike, we risk going backwards to how it used to be, and I think that’s the biggest issue. We’re seeing local lockdowns and things like that, so if this thing rises again as we head into winter it could be very difficult again.”
“In terms of local lockdowns and travelling, that is all still up for discussion,” he said. “At the moment, we haven’t got definitive rules on what competitive behind closed doors matches will look like.
“We do know that staying in hotels will be difficult. Traditionally players would share rooms, so we don’t know if that will be allowed. I was watching Liverpool and when they arrived at their last game they arrived on two coaches, so does that mean we have to take two coaches all the way to Exeter and then all stay in single rooms when we get there?
“The costs just go through the roof, but all of those things remain to be seen. I was talking to Sarah [McKnight] earlier about booking hotels, and certain hotels for certain games are difficult to get in the right places.
“From the tentative enquiries she’s making now she’s getting a lot of people talking about cleaning and timing, and when we can have rooms and whether people are allowed to share. That means the capacity in hotels is dropping, because the hotels have got their own rules they need to follow.
“That makes it awkward, on top of the fact we don’t know who we’re playing or when we’re playing them, so we can’t get any of those things organised like we usually would.”
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