In May 2020, ACBL Management disseminated information regarding club reopenings. At that time, clubs were informed of the following: (a) the consensus recommendations of health authorities were (and still are) that people should not yet stop sheltering in place at home, let up on social distancing and wearing masks around others when not at home; (b) widespread testing and contact tracing should be in place in your locality before reopening a bridge club is contemplated; and (c) the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 should be falling for two weeks before any type of group activities should resume – indeed, to be prudent, not until well after these numbers have fallen. Since that time, the situation has not improved. In fact, over the past week in the United States there have been over 400,000 new coronavirus cases, meaning that the predicted fall wave is underway. The Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states are struggling to control major outbreaks and cases are rising in over 30 states (source: New York Times). It is for these reasons that the ACBL continues to believe that it is too soon for resuming activities such as face-to-face duplicate bridge, particularly since people over age 55 continue to have more frequent complications, hospitalizations and a higher death rate than other age groups.
The ACBL is aware that some bridge clubs have resumed operations and others are planning to do so. We are encouraged by the reported safety measures that clubs have implemented.
For the most part, clubs appear to be following the ACBL recommended operational guidelines and best practices for the reopening of bridge clubs. Bridge clubs, other than Unit-owned clubs, are private businesses and, accordingly, the guidelines were strongly recommended for such clubs (they were mandatory for Unit-owned clubs). Established restrictions and mandates that have been set by your local and state government continue to supersede any guidelines distributed by ACBL. If your state or local government has restrictions for mass gatherings (or prohibits gathering over a certain number of people, such as 10 persons), you should not resume bridge play at your club. The ACBL continues to strongly recommend that you err on the side of extreme caution in your decision to reopen given that our membership population faces an increased risk from COVID-19.
For those who are considering reopening, we are repeating the guidelines that we previously published.