SUI COVID-19 Response UPDATE

Published by sui-chair on

The SUI anticipates that a full return to normal caving practices will not be possible until health
organisations determine that the threat of COVID-19 has passed.

Based on this, the SUI cannot recommend a return to caving at this stage, but this will be reviewed as government and health-service advice evolves.

There are several challenges involved in the resumption of caving activities:

1. Due to governmental travel restrictions, many caves are still not accessible.
2. Social distancing is impossible to achieve in a cave.
3. The nature of a cave environment presents challenges to infection control, cleaning, and
disinfection of caving gear.
4. A cave accident during this time will pose significant challenge and risk to the voluntary
members of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation.
5. A cave accident during this time will also create an unnecessary drain on health services.

Caving remains an unnecessary activity, therefore the safest option is to abstain from it, especially if you or a loved one is in an at-risk category for COVID-19.

Only if you are within the permitted travel distance of a cave, and you decide that you are going to go caving, we ask that you consider the following:

1. Limit group sizes (4 people maximum)
2. Visit low-risk caves/engage in low-risk caving activities only
3. If you feel unwell do not attend
4. Maintain social distancing above and below ground
5. Sanitise all equipment in advance
6. Only use your own caving equipment
7. Carry hand sanitiser as part of your kit
8. Avoid entering a cave if it appears that others have entered the same cave before you

The SUI will continue to monitor this ongoing situation and will liaise with relevant bodies and
organisations regarding best practice return-to-caving. We will communicate with members as
required.

As climbing walls and activity centres begin to reopen, we hope that SRT practice can resume. This will be dependent on the rules and requirements set out by the government and climbing centres themselves.
In order to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 at these centres, we recommend that:

● Groups be kept small (6 people maximum)
● Social distancing be practiced on the ground
● Ensure that all equipment is cleaned beforehand
● All participants wash their hands before handling shared equipment
● All participants carry and use hand sanitiser while using shared equipment
● Participants must ONLY attend if the location is within their current travel radius
● Obey all rules set by the activity centre