A Statement from The IOG


Supporting our members during the Covid-19 outbreak  

The IOG has been working hard on behalf of its members to answer your questions. At this difficult and unprecedented time, we understand that livelihoods and businesses may be at stake. It has proved difficult to get complete clarity for our entire membership, but we’re working hard to get a deeper understanding by networking and raising your concerns with the sports bodies, and Government, this past week. 

Our membership is hugely diverse and operates across multiple sports and sectors – and we’re listening to concerns from professionals and volunteers working in multiple environments, and across sectors. We strongly advise that all those working in the grounds industry monitor the government’s latest guidance, and frequently check the website for your relevant body.  

Ultimately, our primary concern is protecting the safety and wellbeing of anyone and everyone across the turf care sector. 

Heeding government advice is paramount and adhering to the clear message of ‘Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’ places our sector with severe restrictions as we transition from winter to summer sport. This is an unprecedented situation and we must protect each other by ensuring we play our part in slowing down the spread of Covid-19.  

What this means for you 

Professional managers and staff are advised to continue to actively consult and discuss working practices with their employers, who should ensure all employees are informed of and are following Government guidelines. Subject to Government policy, your employer should determine with you whether your continued work is necessary, essential and/or safe. 

Self-employed grounds staff or contractors are advised to follow the latest Government guidelines, formulate an agreed plan that includes your safe working procedure, and clearly communicate with clients in advance and agree safe working procedures. We advise regular review as Government guidelines develop. Ultimately it is your decision to suspend operations or, to continue to work. The emphasis though is to ensure safe working practices, as communicated by Government. Make plans now for the future and reschedule appointments where you can and keep reassessing this in order that when restrictions are lifted you are able then to return to projects that may have been suspended.  

We know that volunteers take great pride in their work. Volunteers should follow latest Government guidelines and not put themselves or others at risk. We advise that the volunteer network monitors the timings of any announcements of the various sports re opening for play, however realistically this will be dependent on how we are able to slow the virus down and return to normality.  

Travelling to and from work  

We want to ensure that our members take every precaution to minimise the risk of spreading Covid19. If you show any symptoms follow official medical advice – do not attend your place of work. Self-isolate and be responsible for your health and the good health of others. 

Supporting the industry  

Many turf businesses have suspended operations during this unprecedented time, making responsible and difficult decisions. We stand by our members who own and manage business, and all those working within the businesses within the Turf Care sector. Our commitment at the IOG to our members is undiminished as we face this greatest of challenges in our lifetime. The IOG has also established new ways of working remotely from home and adjusting our focus and priorities as we face the challenges ahead of us. 

Recognising the extreme difficulties we are likely to face as an industry, as well as the impact on the quality of this nations sports pitches, we must all play our part in slowing down the spread of Covid19.  

The IOG has, and will, continue to have an open dialogue, raising your questions, seeking answers, and working on your behalf. Join us to help tackle Covid-19 so we can all return to the wonderful sports venues that your efforts and expertise makes possible for so many to enjoy.  

Adopting sensible precautions, keeping safe distances apart, and observing common sense by adhering to Government advice and guidance will enable us to return to the jobs and the industry we love in the shortest possible time frame. 

Stay safe, protect the NHS, and help save lives. 

For and on behalf of the IOG 

Geoff Webb  
The Institute of Groundsmanship