Bowls England Guidelines for 1st Phase for Re-Opening Bowls Clubs

Approved by Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – May 14th 2020


The physical and mental wellbeing of our bowls community is of paramount importance. Bowls England wants to support those clubs that wish to reopen and members who would like to play, to do so safely and in accordance with Government guidance.

The Government this week announced that facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities, including lawn bowls, may now reopen.

Government guidance released on 13th May 2020 states: “You can play lawn bowls where facilities have reopened, but you can only take part in these activities by yourself, or with members of your household or with one person outside of your household, as long as you are able to maintain social distancing.”

The guidance we have developed below supplements the Government guidance by covering situations specific to the sport of lawn bowls. It is a live document and will be updated if advice changes and we continue to actively seek the latest advice from Government.

Individual clubs must decide whether they wish to reopen having taken into account Government advice.

This guidance document contains the following Sections:

  1. Clubs – Summary of Recommended Action
  2. Players – Summary of Recommended Action
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Back2Bowls
  5. Additional Information

If you have any questions, please e-mail: We are here to help and we will endeavour to respond within three working days.

We hope you all stay healthy and that we all get through these challenging times by looking to help each other where we can. The coming weeks and months may also provide an opportunity for you to encourage members of your own household, who currently don’t play, to give bowls a try – clubs are reminded to ensure that any activity by non-members is in accordance with their insurers.

Meanwhile, keep safe, take care, look after yourself and, when you do return to the green, enjoy your bowls.

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives.

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Covid-19: Supplementary Guidance for Lawn Bowls Clubs
Approved by Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – May 14th 2020

1. Clubs – Summary of Recommended Action

Bowls England recommends that all clubs follow the guidance below (the guidance may be adapted if necessary for your club, so long as it remains consistent with Government advice and social distancing requirements):

         Play arrangements

  • Off-site booking system for rink allocation (i.e. Google Calendar)
  • Minimum of 20 minutes between allocated time slots to enable players to arrive/depart


  • Clubs to communicate in advance with players to advise on social distancing requirements

    that are being applied on arrival at the club – for example not leaving cars until a certain

    time before their allocated time slot

  • Only play on alternate rinks e.g. 1, 3, 5 OR 2, 4, 6 (keep an empty rink between rinks that are

    being played on)

  • Maximum of six players on club premises at any one time (assuming average of two people

    per rink who are not from the same household). Clubs may wish to increase this number if

    more than two people from the same household are to participate on the same rink.

  • No visitors/spectators to be admitted to the club
  • Capping the number of occasions a player can book a rink each week to ensure that the

    available capacity is distributed fairly

    Playing Formats

    The following playing formats are in accordance with Government guidelines:

  • Individuals playing bowls on their own on a single rink
  • Two individuals from two different households playing on a single rink (no marker)
  • Members of the same household on a single rink (no marker unless from same household)

    Social distancing rules must be strictly adhered to; you must remain at least two metres apart from other bowlers (who are not part of your household) at all times.

    Clubhouse and Facilities

  • Until further notice, all clubhouses must be closed
  • Limited essential access (for example to use the toilets and hand washing facilities) may be

    allowed by the club

  • Sanitiser must be available for cleaning hands and equipment before and after playing
  • No rubbish bins – players must take any rubbish away with them

    Social distancing rules must be strictly adhered to; you must remain at least two metres apart from other bowlers (who are not part of your household) at all times.


To minimise the risk of infection, only essential items (as below) should be utilised during any session:

  • Mat
  • Bowls
  • Jack
  • Rink markers
  • Gloves
  • Scorecards (these should be retained by one person only if required)
  • Bowling arm/lifter (for use by one person only if required)

    To minimise the risk of infection, any other equipment is not deemed essential equipment at this time and should not be utilised. This includes:

  • Scoreboards
  • Bowls pushers
  • Ditch markers
  • 2m distance sticks
  • Chalk