There's a GAA-sized shaped hole in many of our lives, and there's not enough 1990s hurling matches to fill it. With the government announcing that the country will be in a version of lockdown at least until April 19 yesterday, we knew to expect some kind of statement from the GAA today on how the next month or so would proceed. Whatever about intercounty fixtures, the day-in and day-out of every GAA club is compromised by the guidelines on social distancing. Unsurprisingly, with organised sport essentially an illegal activity at the moment, the GAA confirmed today that all club facilities would have to shut for the time being.
They put it bluntly: "we are now instructing GAA Clubs to close their facilities completely. This is to include the use of all pitches and property for recreational purposes, including walking, casual games or gatherings."
The pitches will be padlocked.
HQ faces a massive headache in regards to scheduling the 2020 Championship, but Club Month will obviously not take place this month. These vital hubs of Irish life will be moribund until this crisis lifts.
Lottos can be held online.
Read the full statement below:
We previously advised that, until March 29th, games and training were suspended, club gyms were to close, and Player Injury Fund cover was suspended.
We subsequently instructed that club bars should also close for the period.
Please be advised that, in line with recent government announcements, these measures and closures are now extended to Sunday April 19 inclusive, at which stage arrangements will be reviewed.
In addition, we are now instructing GAA Clubs to close their facilities completely.
This is to include the use of all pitches and property for recreational purposes, including walking, casual games or gatherings.
Where it is not possible to restrict access please erect signage to the effect that all GAA facilities are closed and all activity suspended.
In order to facilitate an orderly resumption of activities when circumstances permit, Clubs are encouraged to proceed as normal with their membership registration process where practical. Clubs of course should be mindful of the possible changed financial circumstances of members.
Similarly, club lottos may proceed if they are run on an online basis and do not involve wholesale engagement with the public.
Clubs are also advised to refrain from undertaking new capital projects while support funding for this type of work is suspended.
As a national / international organisation, we have a part to play in emphasising the need to practice social distancing, as outlined by the authorities.
It is imperative that we exercise extreme caution keeping two metres between people when taking physical exercise while encouraging people to consider using off-peak times when they are less likely to meet others.
Attached is the latest messaging from the HSE covering guidelines around volunteering which we advise our clubs to consider as they involve themselves in community-based volunteer efforts.
Individual volunteers are asked to register with Volunteer Ireland (26 Counties) and Volunteer Now (Six Counties).
We would like to thank everyone who has helped the GAA adhere to government guidelines up to this point.
We would also like to assure you that we, and the wider GAA team across our counties and provinces, are working hard to ensure that we are in the best possible position to return to our games when that time comes.
In the meantime, please stay safe, look out for one another and continue to adhere to the instructions of the Government and the Health Authorities at this most challenging time.
Go raibh maith agaibh,