Please may I speak honestly, because here at STA we sincerely want the best for all our members, swim schools and partners, and we will continue to be as proactive as we can be to help guide you through the current foggy Government guidelines related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the reality is, we find ourselves in a unique position, like all other Awarding Organisations, following the Prime Minister’s press conference last night (16th March 2020).

For us all, these are very worrying times, for leisure and for all business sectors across the UK and the advice is changing daily. Consequently, as a result of the press conference yesterday evening where the Prime Minister outlined new recommendations stating ‘everyone’ should now avoid social contact with others and stop non-essential travel to help fight coronavirus, we have been inundated with calls and messages from swim schools overnight asking the most pressing question “should we close and when?”.

Honestly, the answer at the moment is not clear cut; the stark reality is that we could advise something today and in the next hour / 24 hours the guidance and recommendations will change as the virus continues to escalate – but what is clear is that we all have to prioritise the health and safety of our customers and staff.

In line with our own ethos – Health, Leisure, Life – HEALTH must come first.

So, in answer to your questions, we are honestly, not officially in a position to say you should close at this time, and equally we honestly can’t officially advise that you stay open. It’s a decision that can only be made by your own risk assessments and in line with current Government guidelines.

For consideration in your risk assessments is the latest government advice for high risk groups of people, and any employees who are pregnant. Guidance for pregnant persons on how to be socially distant are available here.

It is an extreme situation, and one that we are all learning about as each day comes. It’s clear that the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and changing daily and every business has lots to consider in terms of their operations and communications to customers.

The Prime Minister has promised daily updates on COVID-19 and the recommended actions that individuals and employers should take. We will be monitoring, and we will be continuing to update you. As previously mentioned, the situation is changing at such a pace that such frequent updates might be required.

We, like you, can only follow Government guidance during this pandemic, and we can only guide you to do the same to ensure the health of your customers and staff.