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2021 Six Pillars Century Bicycle Ride – COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies
Each year riders from all over the country converge on Dorchester County to participate in the Six Pillars Century Bike Ride, to benefit MidShore Character Counts. The 2020 event, originally scheduled for May, had to be postponed due to the Governor’s Orders restricting the mass gathering events.
In April of 2020, this event was acquired by TCR Event Management, out of St Michaels, MD, and will continue to be one of the fundraisers for the For All Seasons behavioral organization, which has taken the place of the closed MidShore Character Counts organization.
This document is to form a COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) action plan based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It should be noted that this plan is a LIVING DOCUMENT, and can be changed based on the current situation in the area. Further restrictions can be made, based on recommendations from community stakeholders, and a more comprehensive plan for the safe start to the event will be created and passed on to athletes as the event draws closer.
COVID-19 is categorized as a respiratory disease and has been detected in over 100 locations internationally. The number of reported incidents in the United States has been increasing over the past few weeks and many mass-gathering events have been cancelled or postponed, due to threats specific to their area.
The CDC’s current risk assessment (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html) states that the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States. Furthermore, the assessment is that people in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location. Due to this assessment, we will be actively monitoring the number and location of cases of COVID-19 in the immediate area.
The CDC has prepared a document on Interim Guidance for event planners (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html). This guide has been utilized by TCR Event Management to produce races in the later season of 2020 and is continually adopted for events.
Address Key Prevention Strategies
All TCR Event Management/Six Pillars Century staff members and volunteers will be educated on the prevention methods, set forth by the CDC, for decreasing the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. This will be done by both email communication, as well as laminated paperwork that will be at every aid station. All staff members/volunteers will be required to wear both masks/face coverings AND gloves, at all times. Direct, physical contact with cyclists should be kept at a minimum. All staff members/volunteers will have their temperatures taken, prior to the start of the day. Any person with a temperature over 100.4 degrees will be immediately sent home.
The Six Pillars Century will be sending out periodic emails to all participants, and making social media posts, for the currently registered participants, and will continue to do so as long as the registration period is open. These emails will promote the daily practice of everyday preventable actions. These activities will include:
· Stay home when are sick
· Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
· Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
· Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily
The Six Pillars Century will also provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at the event.
· Additional hand washing stations have been added to the Start Line and Finish Line area of the event. These areas are the area that are of the greatest concentration of people at one time.
· DEFINITION – Aid Stations are areas, along the run route, which are manned by volunteers who hand the runners water, sports drink, and some type of food.
· Liquid soap and water for Aid Station volunteers to be able to wash their hands will be made available at each of 5 aid stations.
· Nitrile gloves will be provided at every aid station for MANDATORY use by the aid station volunteers.
· Aid stations will serve food that is pre-packaged to reduce cross contamination
· Water and sports drink coolers at the aid stations will be filled with water from sealed gallon containers and gloves will be worn when refilling
· Hand sanitizer pumps will be available at all aid station for cyclists to utilize
The Six Pillars Century will promote messages that discourage people who are sick from attending the events.
· A liberal deferral program will be communicated to registered athletes, that will allow them to use their 2021 entry for the 2022 Six Pillars Century, at no charge.
Communicate about COVID-19
· All riders will be sent out a COVID Questionnaire, Thursday, April 29th, with questions asking about any new symptoms. This questionnaire MUST be completed by every athlete and will be checked during packet pickup and/or START. The responses will be captured and compared to those coming in to the start area and, if needed, could be done via mobile device on race morning. This questionnaire will be similar to the CDC form found at chrome-https://www.cdc.gov/screening/paper-version.pdf
· In addition to the COVID questionnaire, riders will have their temperature checked at the starting area of the ride, as they pick up their packets for the event. This will be done by a Staff member, who will wear masks and gloves at all times. Any participant with a temperature over 100.4 degrees will be asked to leave the area, not participate in the event, and be given a free deferral to the 2022 event.
· In addition, athletes, volunteers and spectators are ALL encouraged to download and install the TCR Event Management app, which is the home for the Six Pillars Century app. This app will allow us to send out any Push Notifications to all parties. This will allow for us to have rapid communication with everyone with the app. This has been used in other TCR Event Management events to remind people to hydrate while spectating and volunteering, when the weather was hotter than expected.
TYPE OF EVENT- TRADITIONALLY
The Six Pillars Century is a non-competitive bicycle event, consisting of a 37 mile, 56 mile, and 100 mile bicycle ride in the Dorchester County area. The event traditionally starts and ends at Gerry Boyle Park on Somerset Avenue, and culminates with a provided lunch. The times have traditionally been from 7 am to 2pm. Along this course there are typically five (5) “aide stations” where riders are able to resupply with water, electrolytes, and food. These aide stations are typically manned by volunteer groups, who restock materials and interact with the riders. Homemade goods and other food items are typically found at the aide stations.
TYPE OF EVENT – 2021
For 2020, the Six Pillars Century will continue to be a non-competitive bicycle event but with alterations to help mitigate exposure risk. As a brief overview, the following alterations are presented:
o Riders will be mandated to wear a cloth face mask, when not actively riding.
o This will include before and after the ride
o If there are many people at the aide stations, and 6 foot social distancing cannot occur, then the riders should wear their mask until they start to ride
· No mass start/finish area
o There will not be a large start to the event, as in previous years. Participants will be encouraged to Show-And-Go by starting from their vehicle, wherever it is parked. Once the event is concluded, participants will be provided with a box lunch and asked to return to their cars and leave.
o FOR 2021, WE ARE GOING TO ASSIGN START TIMES, BASED ON THE DISTANCES THAT THEY ARE RIDING. WE WOULD LIKE TO LAUNCH ALL 100 MILERS AT 7AM, all 56 MILERS AT 8AM, and ALL 32 MILERS at 9AM. Additional waves, of no more than 150 riders, may be assigned based on sign-ups. We would like to have a discussion with local Health Officials regarding what would be deemed a safe interval for starting.
o Start time will begin at 7am (sunrise) but athletes will be able to stay on course until 3pm (8 hours). This will allow athletes to come out any time that they like to start their event, and will spread out the number of riders on course.
· Volunteer reduction
o Volunteer interaction will be greatly reduced, as will the total number of volunteers. Any volunteer activity that can be eliminated will be done so.
o Volunteers will have their temperature checked before starting their “shift” for the day.
o All volunteers will be given masks and gloves, and will be discouraged from interaction with the Riders.
o When a TCR Event Management staff member can do the job of the volunteer, they will do so, with all safety protocols aforementioned in place (Temperature check, Gloves, Mask)
o Volunteer groups will be eliminated from the aide stations (5 total on course). Instead, these aide stations will be self serve (described below)
o All volunteers will sign waivers and will strictly adhere to all safety measures
· Aide Stations
o There are five (5) aide stations on course, with the most being on the Century (100 mile) course
o These aide stations will have AT LEAST two (2) portable toilets and AT LEAST one (1) hand wash station. Additional bottles of hand sanitizer will be on site as well
o Aide stations will ONLY have pre-packaged water, endurance drink (Gatorade) and commercially pre-packaged foods.
o Aide station volunteer groups will be eliminated.
o Aide stations will be monitored by NO MORE THAN FOUR (4) persons. The role of these monitors is to re-stock the drink and food supplies, but at no time should they be “working” the aide station. They are to remain in their vehicles unless an emergency dictates that they need to interact with riders.
· Group riding
o Group riding/Drafting will be discouraged
o There will NOT be marshalls on the course enforcing this, as this is not a competitive event
o Any vetted information about riding in large groups will be sent out, electronically, to all riders
· After ride amenities
o There will be a number of portable toilets stationed at Gerry Boyle Park, where the event typically starts and ends. This number will be dictated by the total number of registrants
o Concurrent with this number will be a hand washing station. Our goal is to provide one hand wash station for every 5 portable toilets
o Riders will be provided with a pre-packaged lunch and a commercially sealed bottle of water
o Lunches will be at a single location, with a separate entrance and exit, and will be self serve, with one staff member monitoring the lunches and water for re-filling
o Riders will be encouraged to leave the area upon completion of the event, to decrease the amount of people congregating in one area
o There are no awards, as this is not a competitive event.
We understand that this is a very fluid situation and that the event can be cancelled at any time. Thought the event will be planned for, should we not be in an appropriate phase in our Roadmap to Recovery, or should there be a spike in COVID-19 cases that warrants concern for the safety of the riders and the community, we understand that the County Health Officer will have the ability to cancel the event.
Click the icon below to download the attached PDF.