Safety Protocols for Northants Bar Billiards


The Northants Bar Billiards Committee recognises pivotal role continued play has in sustaining the game in pubs and clubs and also in benefitting the individuals involved in playing.

While the Government guidelines remain ambiguous individual venues have made the decision whether or not Bar Billiards can be played in their establishment; this will be subject to their own health and safety assessment. Any play at a host venue will be fully subject to strict adherence to the protocols set out by the venue.

Northants Bar Billiards has produced the following guidance to make the return of Bar Billiards as safe and COVID-19 secure as possible. We ask you to commit to following this to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission while playing Bar Billiards.

Host venues must always consider safety first, particularly minimising the risk of infection/transmission. As such, appropriate measures will have been put in place to ensure participants and staff are protected.

Players should carefully consider the use of venues to ensure players will have access to the venue and to the Bar Billiards table while ensuring social distancing measures are met in line with the current UK Government guidelines.


All players should undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms before leaving home, using the latest information on the NHS website.

No-one should leave home if they, or someone they live with, has symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste

If individuals display any of these symptoms they must follow the NHS guidance on self-isolation.

If any player having participated in a match should develop symptoms of COVID-19 they should follow the NHS test and trace guidelines.



Players should consider how to arrive at the venue following best practise. This includes minimising the use of public transport and limiting car sharing between people outside of your household or support bubble. Match start and finish times should be carefully considered to avoid any overlap with other events happening within the venue. Teammates that are not currently playing a match should only spectate with the express permission of the host venue. It is anticipated that a maximum of three people (2x players and 1x scorer) be anywhere near the Bar Billiards table whilst a game is in progress.

While not playing everyone should remain seated according to the host venue protocols and must not approach the Bar Billiards table unless necessary. Opponents should acknowledge and welcome each other but not by shaking hands or any other physical contact.

Before the match the entire table and equipment must be fully sanitised. The league will provide such equipment to all team captains. Special attention should be given to touch points such as balls, ball tray, table edges, pull handle, pegs and scoreboard. Hand sanitiser will be provided and must be available by the Bar Billiards table and should be extensively used before, during and after the match. Players are encouraged to only approach or touch the table as is necessary to play or clean the table.

Any player who feels the necessary measures are not in place for them, or their team, should feel secure in raising these concerns at the earliest available opportunity. If changes can not be made to address these concerns then the player/s should not participate in the match.


during the match
  • Before and after each leg players and the scorer must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Between each leg the table and equipment should be sanitised/wiped – additional coins used can be reimbursed by the league if required
  • Players should be offered enough space around the table to play the game while safely distancing from their opponent and all others within the venue. When not playing everyone else should remain seated and away from the table as directed by the host venue
  • The use of protective face masks and disposable gloves is strongly encouraged although we recognise that some players may have exemptions and reasons why they may not do so
  • Players should use their own cue and chalk, and these should not be left on the table
  • No handshakes between players before or after the leg
  • A player should not remove a ball from the tray and leave it on the table for their opponent at the end of a break
  • Should the nearest ball be required a player must retrieve it themselves once the scorer has confirmed which ball this is
  • Players should replace any pegs they knock over
  • The scorer must be positioned at a distance of two meters from the players
  • The scorer should only approach the table in case of dispute and where possible should avoid touching the table, balls and pegs
  • The scoreboard should be placed to enable the scorer to remain socially distanced from the players while still remaining visible to the players


additional considerations
  • Teams should try to stagger arrival and leaving times of individual players
  • Players should be encouraged to try and spend as little time in a venue as is necessary to play the match
  • For each match fixtures will be pre-scheduled so that players on both teams know what time they are required to play and which player they will play
  • Formats will be determined to ensure that players do not compete against more than one opponent during a match
  • The drinking of alcohol should be done in moderation and teams are encouraged to look after and respect each other at all times – captains are additionally expected to ensure all protocols are adhered to by their team.
  • No pressure should be placed on any individual to play if they do not feel happy/safe to do so
  • Flexibility should be applied to any situations arising where a full match can not be completed due to players feeling unsafe to play or players unable to play due to self-isolation

The committee will consider any additional guidance which league members feels should be added and notify all participants in good time.