We are all desperate to get out and play airsoft again and based on the latest Government notices, it looks like outdoor airsoft sites in England will be allowed to reopen from the 4th of July, and later in the remaining home nations. Although UKAPU has consistently recommended that the beginning of July is too soon to resume skirmishing (based on exactly zero science and personal opinions), an increasing number of sites are putting together plans to begin skirmishing on the anticipated date of the 4th of July.
However, it is important to remember that Coronavirus is still around in the community, still causing deaths and there is still at present, no vaccine. Therefore, it is important to remember to follow the most up to date guidelines specific to the country you are playing airsoft in.
Here we have a short list of some helpful suggestions, and if you feel we have missed something please get in contact with us.
It is important to listen to the staff running the site and follow their specific rules and remember that some people are more worried by COVID-19 than others. We believe the most important thing is to be flexible, patient and willing to adapt as it will take some time for everyone to get used to the new system.
This guide is primarily focused to outdoor skirmishing – we don’t feel that the Government’s advice (however lacking) supports the re-opening of indoor skirmishing venues at present.
Before going to the venue
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of the Coronavirus – or are asymptomatic but have tested positive for an active Coronavirus infection, then as required by Government guidance, you are to self-isolate (as is your household) and not proceed to the venue under any circumstances.
Arrival, breaks and leaving
The time before and after games is when the risk of spreading the Coronavirus will be at its highest and the most care should be taken. Avoid any contact within a distance of less than 2 metres with anyone outside your household or social bubble, especially after any period of exercise.
You must car share only with people who are members of the same household or social bubble.
Be aware of social distancing at all times – when within the safe area, checking in, having your replicas chronographed, and out in the field.
If at all possible, consider booking and filling out your insurance waver online or via e-mail. If this is not possible, bring your own pen or bring along a pre-printed and populated insurance waiver.
Bring all your own food and enough drink to sustain you for the day. It’s looking to be another hot July so you need to make sure that you are properly hydrated, and as a way of limiting transmission of the Coronavirus, sites will more than likely not be selling or providing any food or drink that they may have provided before.
Most sites will require the use of basic personal protection equipment such as face coverings – if required, keep this on at all times in the safe area. Be aware that if mesh face masks are used, that these masks will accumulate condensation – and thus will need to be carefully handled.
During game play
The time that you’re out during games should be relatively easy to maintain social distance – games are usually held in areas that normally run to the tens of acres.
At all times try to observe social distance – as a basic rule of thumb if you are within two arms reach of any other skirmisher, you are too close. This advice is in place even to those who are in the same household or social bubble, as any marshals on the field may not be aware of your particular domestic arrangements from afar – naturally it wouldn’t be a good idea to end up in an argument with a marshal on the field!
This also applies to crowding behind cover. Don’t let your instincts kick in and hide behind the first thing you see – check that it’s safe and that you won’t come into close contact with any other skirmisher.
We would also expect there to be no “knife kills” or any other sort of close contact.
Something that should be made very clear – don’t be a hero. Within the heat of the moment, skirmishers are known to do silly things, like running across the game zone jumping over objects within said game zone to reach the objective. As fun as this is, it can also be painful if it goes wrong.
As part of site’s re-opening preparations, first aiders should have received training on how to be COVID-secure and how to carry out first aid in a manner which ensures the protection of both the first aider(s) and the casualty – however it’s better to not require the attention of first aid at all.
Personal protection equipment
Notwithstanding the fact that Airsoft requires a minimum of eye protection when not in any safe area, it is important that personal protection equipment must be kept on at all times.
We’d like to reiterate the importance of face protection – we have always recommended full face protection however one needs to be careful how PPE is used. Generally, mouth protection consists of wire mesh which can quite often accumulate condensation after exercise. Therefore, to prevent the risk of cross contamination, we would strongly advise that any face coverings are worn on top of any full-face protection.
We’d also like to recommend that you bring more than one face covering – that can be safely changed during any breaks or at the end of the day. Re-usable face coverings such as scarfs or shemaghs – already used popularly within airsoft – would be ideal for this.
Additionally, bring your own hand sanitiser – and ensure that any used personal protection equipment, whether reusable or not, is placed in a suitable container after use.
After leaving the venue
If after attending this skirmish, you begin to feel the symptoms of Coronavirus (and subsequently test positive) within 14 days of last attending any venue – you are required to self-isolate as per Government guidance.
Additionally, you must inform the venue of your infection. The Government’s Track and Trace team (if they are involved) will likely also be in contact with both yourself and the venue, however we would strongly recommend that you contact the venue themselves so that the venue’s management team can contact other skirmishers and inform them of your subsequent infection.