First and foremost, please draw on expert medical advice from the CDC and from your state and local public health agencies. Know what's going on in your community. The CDC has a listing of all State Health Departments
, which is a quick and easy resource to help you find information for your community.
We offer the following recommendations and FAQs as restrictions ease around the US:
- Be prepared for a slow phase-in of return-to-activities in your community. Keep in mind state officials may say one thing, while your county or city officials may say something else based on local conditions. This is not a like a fire drill where everyone will get an "all-clear," "return to normal" directive in May.
- Take your time to work with local officials to understand when you will be allowed to host group runs and produce your race(s). You may find that communities will start to allow for small group gatherings of 10-25 people before allowing events over 100 people. This may present an opportunity to implement some small, controlled group runs to test updated sanitation efforts to implement at future events and larger group runs.
- RRCA, in Partnership with CARA, has issued Operational Perparedness Plans for Group Runs running clubs can adapt to local considerations.
- As a running community leader, do everything you can to maintain/improve the nationwide example of runners being responsible while promoting physical distancing during the return to outdoor group fitness/running.
- f you have utilized paper sign-ins for group runs for safety reasons, now is the time to move to digital options, such as Google forms for sign-ins. Utilize a QR code that people can scan for easy access to an online form for checking in, signing a group run waiver, and sharing emergency contact information.
- Plan, plan, plan - utilize the "Looking Forward: Guidelines for Events" for helpful tips. The guide, as of May 3, includes small case studies of recent evens utilizing new procedures for physical distancing and sanitation.
- Find helpful tips in our Return to Running Survey Results analysis.
- Update your waivers if you do virtual runs. For all events and group runs you will host post-pandemic, we recommend addressing Covid-19 and other diseases in your waiver moving forward.
Q. What are the insurance risks for returning to group running or hosting events?
As always, having policies, plans, and procedures in place are a key element in managing the risks faced by your organization. Utilizing the resource outlined above, we highly recommend you update any local guidelines you have for group runs, as your organization moves into the "re-opening" phase. Having plans and procedures in place and communicating those plans and procedures regularly is an important part of minimizing a claim of negligence.
The activities of RRCA members utilizing our general liability program are covered
, and we strongly encourage you to operate within the regulations in place in your community. For example, if you are allowed to have groups of 25-people, develop plans to ensure that you are meeting local guidelines. Make all efforts to enforce any new policies and procedures you have put in place as a result of the pandemic.
Events may proceed if you are issued a permit to conduct your event as a live event.
We recommend you adopt plans, policies, and procedures to address event operations with references to any local physical distancing requirements, sanitation efforts, etc. Refer to the Looking Forward: Guidelines for Races
and adopt updated policies and procedures based on these recommendations coupled with any state or local requirements or recommendations that have been issued.
Q. If we offer a virtual option instead of a live option, is the event covered? Can we offer both a live and virtual option?
Yes, if you offer a virtual option for a live event, that element of your will be included in general liability insurance coverage for the event. The same is true if you host both a virtual and live option. We strongly recommend you have written guidelines in place outlining how a virtual event should be conducted, and that you have a virtual-event-specific-waiver that is separate from your live event waiver. Updated waiver samples a can be found here >>
Q. Does the RRCA's General Liability Insurance Program cover a member if someone claims they get Covid-19 from participating in an activity?
The General Liability policy provided by the RRCA for its members will defend claims of negligence if someone sues an event, club, or coach saying they got Covid-19 at the event, club program/run, coached program/run. The burden of proof that an illness was actually contracted at an event will be a challenge in a lawsuit. Managing risk to avoid a clam of negligence makes it imperative for race directors and run organizers put plans in place for sanitation, physical distancing guidelines, updated waivers, etc. that are in accordance with local and state health department recommendations. Good plans, along with waivers that specifically include Covid-19 risk acknowledgement
(RRCA waiver samples are updated), are a first line of defense if an event, club or coach were to be sued for a claim of negligence if someone test positive following participation after an event or organized run or group activity.
Q. Is Covid-19 covered under accidental medical insurance?
We are aware that USA Triathlon issued a statement on accidental medical and Covid-19 not being covered. It is important to understand that communicable disease has never been included in the accidental medical insurance coverage. So naturally, Covid-19 is not included, and this is not a policy change. The point of this insurance is to cover a participant in the event of a physical accident, such as: a fall with broken bones; being struck by a car or object on course (falling signs); or other accidents that result in physical harm. Keep in mind, this coverage is not general health insurance for an uninsured participant. The coverage is supplemental to a participant's own health insurance coverage and is designed to make a participant financially whole to prevent a lawsuit if an injury is incurred during an event.
Q. Can we ask people during registration if they have had Covid-19 or if they have been exposed to it?
Race directors and club leaders should be concerned about the issue of gathering health information from individuals, which can create increased liabilities by doing so. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge, often referred to as Protected Health Information (PHI) by the legal community and regulatory bodies. Beyond HIPAA, states have their own laws that protect health information. While HIPAA is primarily focused on the patient/health care provider relationship, gathering sensitive health information could expose an organization if the information is not managed appropriately. The fines for PHI being leaked or not protected can be significant (from $2000 to upwards of $100K).
Race directors and club leaders should consult an attorney that specializes in managing PHI to ensure they have systems in place to protect their entities from leaks or misuse of information if they elect to gather sensitive health information, especially Covid-19 infection history.