It’s time of the year again! But this time not in April, but in September. This year the IPL 2020 is different from others as the matches are played live on the fields of the United Arab Emirates. The IPL 2020 players are geared up to showcase their best skills on field after what seems like ages.
The game that is treated as a religion in this country is being watched live from every corner of the country if not from the stadium. While the show is going on, the eight teams, and all the supporting staff have to follow rigorous ruled laid for their precautions. If anyone fails to meet so will have to bear the consequences. The BCCI have also made it crystal clear if anyone shows any symptoms, they should isolate them self from others and notify the other team members.
Along with some basic dos and don’ts each player and supporting staff have to abide by all the sops to ensure healthy virus free game.
- Before travelling to the UAE, each player and support staff were tested every three days. Also, they were quarantined for 7-14 days in India.
- Teams will also be on a 14-day quarantine in Abu Dhabi, and six-day quarantine in Dubai.
- Flu shots was given to all players and staff before travelling.
- As part of both govt protocols, Arogya Setu and a local govt app called ALHOSN were downloaded and filled out compulsorily.
- Every accompanying family member to follow the quarantine protocol and live with the team for the duration of the tournament.
- The main check-in luggage was sent in advance a night prior, for security check. The hand luggage was cling wrapped from the hotel and players and support staff were asked to remove all electronics in a laundry bag with their names to be kept in hand with passport etc.
- Each player were given two PPE kits for travel, to be worn from the hotel. They were also advised not to drink, eat, touch, shop at duty-free or even use public restrooms till the flight.
- The teams used a charter flight and the staff on board was tested at least twice.
- The staff was wearing PPE kits and throughout no food or beverages were served.
- After landing, everyone was tested for Covid-19 at the airport and till Nov 12 will be tested in every three days.
- Room key cards were given in the bus before arrival at the hotel. Each bag entering was sanitised.
- All laundry bags, masks, PPE kits, gloves and everything to be thrown before entering the hotel.
- To ensure hygiene laundry was given after 20 minutes of arriving and t was ensured that the clothes doesn’t come in contact of any surface.
- During 6/14 days of govt quarantine, no housekeeping, no in-room servicing will be done. There is a QR Code for menu and beverages from which orders can be placed. Orders can be placed on the phone and they will be delivered in disposable plates.
- Outside the room, in the lobby, there are extra supplies of towel, toiletries, water etc but housekeeping can deliver these too.
- All staff serving the teams will be wearing mask and gloves. They will also be tested every three days. Also, they will not leave the hotel for three months. The staff will not serve other guests and will remain in the team bubble/team’s side of the hotel kitchen etc only.
- Wings have been cordoned off for players to make them feel at home. There will be a team room with games for destressing.
- There is 24/7 CCTV monitoring to make sure no one is moving from room to room during the quarantine.
- Based on BCCI protocol, teams will start training 15-20 days prior [to start of the tournament] during which teams will get tested, their equipment will be sanitised at hotel and stadium. There will be no storage at stadiums. Players will come, train and leave.
- Once training starts, teams will have one DNA person outside the bubble. In case they need anything, they can come to the hotel, get sanitised and then deliver the parcel.
- A tailor, barber and other amenities will be part of the bubble.
- As for sponsor shoots, teams will hire a local crew director, production, makeup etc who will be part of the bubble. However, each brand can have an additional director who can guide on what and how to shoot. All post-production to be done by the brand. The crew will shoot only on croma background. Each sponsor was individually informed of revised rights and certain carryforwards for multiple year deals.
- Local brands, vendors for water, drinks, buses and other transport etc were sought and explained the testing, sanitisation process and how they will need to follow.
- An Oura Ring like in NBA, English Cricket, Football etc will be provided to all in the bubble allowing medical staff in the bubble to track the slightest symptoms online as and when they show up. Players and support staff are encouraged to focus on online team meetings. This would help in maintaining social distancing. Avoid large gatherings or huddles.
- The players are advised to use of hand sanitisers at regular interval. In case anyone shows any symptoms, they need to alert all the team members and immediately isolate.
- In case of an accidental bubble breach, the players and support staff would be put in isolation for a week and must clear multiple COVID-19 tests before being allowed back in. If there is a breach of bio-bubble and if it’s a wilful act then it becomes a contractual issue between the player and the franchises. It will be dealt with very seriously.
- Physical distance will be maintained in team bus as well.
- All travelling person visa and travel insurance were done by the team in advance.
Undoubtedly following these SOPs can be overwhelming at times but well this is the new reality. All of us have to make sure that we play safe and stay safe.
Stay tuned for more cricket updates!