Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) this afternoon issued the following statement:
“In response to the current Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the RSPBA is aware that this is a global crisis, and the situation is changing daily. We are taking our responsibilities to members, supporters, the public and promoters very seriously, and are trying to ensure the least amount of disruption whilst putting their health and safety first.
“At this point in time, all of our Major Championship events are still on the 2020 calendar, and we are in regular contact with the various promoters of these events. We have had preliminary discussions with Paisley (British) and Inverness (European) regarding rescheduling dates to later in the year, and are meeting with Lurgan (UK) at the beginning of April. So, there is a likelihood that these first three championships may move date. However, we must stress that no decisions have yet been taken on any new dates.
“We are working together to respond to any changes to this position, and acting on the advice of both local and national government agencies with the intention of minimising any potential disruption to the competition season.
“We know and appreciate that our members from across the world will be disappointed by the uncertainty caused by the current Pandemic, however we are working to assess the risk from a situation which continues to change rapidly. In the circumstances, we will be advising on the status of each of the championships only once confirmed.
“The RSPBA would ask all Bands to fully consider the potential financial implications of making travel and hotel bookings for any contest that may be subject to rescheduling or cancellation which will be out with the control of the RSPBA.
“We will continue to be vigilant about Coronavirus, and will of course follow all advice from Health Protection Scotland. Branches and individual bands are also asked to re-assess all current activities including, practices and committee meetings, in the interest of the wellbeing of all band members and supporters during the period of the current pandemic. Please refer to your locally published healthcare advice.
“We include the web link to the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) Document – ‘COVID-19 Information and Guidance for Non-Healthcare Settings Version 2.1’ https://hpspubsrepo.blob.core.windows.net/hps-website/nss/2973/documents/1_COVID-19-Guidance-for-non-healthcare-settings.pdf which may be a source of valuable advice. There will be similar advice published in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
“The Board of Directors would also like to offer the following specific advice to bands. All band members and supporters to be aware, and be sensitive to their personal behaviour to protect fellow band members, their family, and friends. Scotland is at a stage where personal health behaviour is an essential tool in the containment of the corona virus outbreak.
The following actions are important:
- Do not attend band practices or events if you are unwell.
- Washing your hands often – with soap and water.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- We strongly encourage social distancing for all greetings – i.e. no handshakes, hugs.
- If you feel unwell, please visit NHS Inform Website for further guidance and information if you are in Scotland. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment. Elsewhere please call NHS Advice Line on 111.
“Specifically, for pipers we would also add:
- Please keep to your own instrument, do not share pipes or chanters and be aware of how you are treating reeds etc.
- Don’t empty water-traps onto the floor
- If you are maintaining your pipes, please ensure that all tissues and any materials used are disposed of safely and hygienically.
“We are aware that this is a developing problem and will continue to be led by the latest UK and Scottish government as well as Health Protection Scotland advice.”
The statement came not long after after the RSPBA’s Glasgow & West of Scotland branch cancelled its indoor competition due to be held at Coatbridge High School next (Saturday 21st).