Plans for phased reopening of the Club

River Wear in May 2020

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of the Club on March 17th there have been joint meetings of the Management Committee and the Captain and Vice Captains of the Rowing & Coaching Committee which have focused mainly on the financial management of the club and preparations for a phased reopening following guidance to clubs issued by British Rowing on May 15th.

After a UK Government announcement on May 13th allowing the resumption of watersports for exercise and recreation, plans for a phased reopening and a return to single sculling for limited groups of members were put in place, in conjunction with a risk assessment and adherence to social distancing guidelines, with the first stage commencing from May 21st. At this stage only the boathouse was opened for use in accordance with appropriate safety measures, other club facilities remaining closed.  

British Rowing guidance issued on May 22nd to assist clubs with planning for the return to rowing added more detail about what to expect during future phases. Coupled with feedback from members this led to revisions to the guidance given to members by the Club’s Rowing & Coaching Committee. Small groups of members are now able to book single sculls for use at stipulated times but there is no formal group coaching.

Rowing & Coaching continues to monitor and respond to guidance, which has included updates issued by British Rowing on June 4th and June 12th in response to Government announcements.

The British Rowing advice identifies 6 phases, A to F, of the return to rowing process of which currently we have reached phase B and will move to phase C on July 4th.

Progression to phase C, which was to have permitted the reopening of facilities such as gyms and bars, will take place on July 4th, aligned to Step 3 of the UK Government plan for adjusting social distancing measures. However, in a Government announcement given by the Prime Minister on June 23rd there were a number of exclusions from the original list of facilities, including gyms and indoor sporting activities. In response British Rowing issued version 4 of its Coronavirus advice on June 29th.

British Rowing has now extended the suspension of Affiliated Competitions until August 31st.

While disruption to the rowing calendar continues valiant efforts have been made to maintain interest among members. Several DARC members took part in the first Tees Virtual Regatta on May 16th and Tyne Virtual Regatta on June 20th, and British Rowing arranged a series of competitions and challenges leading up to the BR Virtual Championships on June 27th and 28th.

The loss of the National Schools Regatta on May 23rd was a major blow to the Junior squad. Jess Eddie availed the NSR website of her memories of competing for DARC at the event in the past.

The 187th Durham Regatta was cancelled but instead there was a virtual regatta over the weekend of June 13th and 14th. The British Rowing Masters Regatta was another casualty over the same weekend.

The cancellation of events and closure of the caravan site have led inevitably to considerable loss of revenue. We are pleased therefore to confirm that our CL Caravan Site will reopen on Saturday, July 4th. The site has undergone a major refurbishment during the closure including re-seeded grass, extended and resurfaced hard standings and fully refurbished showers and toilets. We are looking forward to receiving our first guests on Saturday. The site is open to Caravan & Motorhome Club registered members only at £25 per pitch per night. Please contact us for bookings at caravans@durham-arc.org.uk.

Support gratefully received from Durham City Parish Council means that as well as this our new riverside beer garden will be opening at weekends from Saturday, July 4th, with tables spaced over 2 metres apart and with other appropriate social distancing measures in place, including outdoor ordering and table service. Although booking is not essential reservations can be made by messaging the Durham ARC facebook page to secure a table on Saturday and Sunday for a 2-hour slot within the opening hours of 1pm and 7pm. The price list for drinks can be found here.

Due to restrictions on large gatherings it has been decided to postpone the popular Classics by the River event which was so successful last year. This was due to have taken place at DARC on July 6th. If another suitable date can be found in the calendar it may be rescheduled.

The club continues to monitor all available advice. Public health remains the number one priority.