Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions on bowls confirmed

by Bowls Australia

In lieu of recent announcements made by the State and Federal Governments in providing the pathway for a safer return to sport, Bowls Australia (BA) has prepared a set of national guidelines for clubs and participants to follow during this transitional period.

BA acknowledges the authority of the State and Territory Associations (STAs) to follow the advice and decisions of their respective Governments in regard to the use of bowls facilities.

Updated: May 25, 2020

Transitional Guidelines for Clubs & Participants

These guidelines are currently effective for all states and territories, however, BA advises all clubs and participants to additionally refer to the advice from their relevant STA. A breakdown by STA can be found here.


  • The responsibility lies with individual clubs to ensure that:
    • they are fully aware of and compliant with their own State or Territory Government and STA advice, and
    • all of these guidelines are adhered to and engage any staffing/volunteers required as necessary to fulfil the guidelines.
  • Hand sanitiser is to be made available at the entrance to the club and beside each green in use.
  • Disinfectant spray must be made available beside mat/jack boxes. After each use, all mats and jacks must be thoroughly cleaned before being used again.
  • Any club bowls that are loaned to players are to be thoroughly cleaned before and after use.
  • Clubs may need to implement a booking system to facilitate rink bookings, to conform with guidelines. Best practice is that a register of attendees is kept, just in case a communicable illness were to occur.
  • No indoor club meetings are to occur at this stage (except in WA and SA). Any meetings held on the club premises should be held outdoors, employ physical distancing of 1.5m and be limited to the number of people determined by state-specific social gathering limits. Individuals should leave the premises immediately after the conclusion of meetings.
  • Where possible, outdoor-accessible toilets should be open. At the very least, hand washing facilities should be available.
  • No barefoot bowls groups to be hosted at this stage.

Bowls Activity:

  • As long as the following guidelines are adhered to, bowls activity can include practice and/or roll-ups, social play and smaller club competitions (e.g. singles and pairs events) on outdoor greens only. There is to be no play on indoor greens (except in WA).
    • State-specific:
      • VIC – Practice only, no social play or competition.
      • QLD – Practice only, no social play or competition.
      • NSW – Practice only, no social play or competition.
  • Subject to the state-specific social gathering and distancing restrictions, up to four people are allowed to play together and the 1.5m social distancing rule is to be observed at all times. There must be one rink space (an empty rink) between each rink in use.
    • State-specific: 
      • VIC – 1.5m space between each rink.
  • A maximum of 10 people allowed per green at any one time. Clubs may need to have a booking system in place to facilitate. Clubs with more than one green need to ensure that compliance is achieved with respect to social distancing restrictions.
    • State-specific:
      • WA – Limit of 20 people per green.
      • NT – Advise groups of 10 but can be larger if physical distancing is maintained.
  • All players are to use separate mats and jacks (or ensure that the same player on each rink places mats or places/rolls jacks).
  • Other bowls equipment cannot be shared between players (e.g. bowls, cloths, measures etc).
  • Disinfectant spray must be made available beside mat/jack boxes and between each use, all mats and jacks must be thoroughly cleaned by players.
  • Players should practice safe hygiene at all times, including washing hands for at least 20 seconds before and after bowls.
  • Individuals must leave the premises immediately after the conclusion of play and cleaning of equipment.
  • Coaching should be limited to no more than a coach and two other people at the time and all practicing physical distancing of 1.5m during the coaching session.
  • No barefoot bowls activity.

STA Guidelines

Additional Resources

BA remains committed to complying with advice provided by the Federal Government for all bowling activities under its control.

The states and territories will continue to be responsible for decisions around local restrictions, including those related to sport and recreation resumption, at all levels.

States and territories will also determine progression through the phases, taking account of local epidemiology, risk mitigation strategies and public health capability.

All STAs and their affiliated clubs must also give absolute priority to the safety and well-being of participants, especially for those over 60-years of age.

People at a higher risk of severe illness (those aged over 70 and/or those with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems) are encouraged to remain at home whenever possible.

Each step we take needs to be underpinned by a strong commitment from all of us to:

  • Stay 1.5 metres away from other people whenever and wherever we can
  • Maintain good hand washing and cough/sneeze hygiene
  • Stay home when we’re unwell, and getting tested if we have respiratory symptoms or a fever,
  • Download the COVIDSafe app so we can find the virus quickly, and
  • Develop COVID safe plans for workplaces and plans.