> Vätternrundans åtgärder för minskad smittspridning

Vätternrundan’s measures to reduce the spread of infection

Since April 2020 Vätternrundan, together with fifteen other event organisers have worked hard in securing that their events will take place during 2021. Each event with its own set of challenges and yet striking similarities. This cooperation has been pivotal in finding the best solutions for securing an infection safe event. Vätternrundan has also had ongoing discussions with the Regional Infection Control which has been key when working with our preparations.

The measures Vätternrundan has taken for the 2021 events are based on the Swedish Public Health Authority’s (Folkhälsomyndighetens) restrictions and recommendations to;

  • Maintain distance
  • Wash hands
  • Stay at home if you are ill

What this means in reality is that the Start, Depots and the Finish have been re-designed so as to ensure the possibility of safe distancing while maintaining the total number of persons in the same area are in accordance with the current restrictions. Amongst other things there will be a so called “Pre-start” prior to the start and mulitple finish zones where riders can be funnelled along separate routes plus depots with distinct paths of passage.

There will be approximately 300 hygiene stations during the event and all volunteers will have received continuous and clear information. Special Corona Volunteers will be available to inform riders on site. In our newsletter to participants, Vätternrundan has clearly stated that this is not the year for family and friends to come to Motala. Even living quarters have had to adapt.

At Vätternrundan we feel that we are well prepared to welcome all participants to Motala. This year we expect around 15 000 riders spread over the five events during the four days. This is roughly half of what can be expected during a normal year.

Q & A about spread of infection

How can you arrange Vätternrundan when Göteborgsvarvet is cancelled?

We cannot be held accountable for Göteborgsvarvet and their decision but for Vätternrundan’s part we have made adaptations which enable us to manage the 900 person’s limitation at the start and finish zones. We will have a continuing dialogue with the Regional Infection Control plus we have received our permit from the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen).

Have you implemented any restrictions on the number of participants?

No, we have however made adjustments which will ensure limits on the number of participants that may gather at the start, finish and in the depots. At the same time the number of participants are significantly fewer than normal, amounting to just half of those as in previous years.

Is a Covid Certificate necessary for participants from abroad?

Vätternrundan has no special restrictions on participants from abroad other than those that are already imposed when entering Sweden

How do you inform cyclists from abroad?

We are continuously sending out information to all our participants regarding the adjustments and recommendations we make and this naturally includes participants from abroad.

What measure have you taken to ensure infection management?

We have implemented several measures, mainly at the start, the finish and in the depots. We will deploy special Corona volunteers along the entire route and have made up 150 Corona signs reminding participants to maintain their distance. We will also have 300 hygiene stations with hand sanitizers along the route.

At the start we have created several new pre-starting gates. These will function as a “waiting room” before going to the start. This will prevent too many participants from gathering in the same place. We have also inform participants not to go to the start earlier than is necessary so as to avoid congestion.

On arrival to the depots, cyclists will be guided by volunteers so as to avoid crowding. All cyclists are to follow the same route in and out of the depot taking what they need in the order they pass. This means they will not be able to go back and forth in the depot to get what they want. Buns and other foods will be given out by volunteers with tongs and salted gherkins will be handed out in paper mugs.

The finish is an area that can give rise to crowding. This year however, if the need arises, participants will be guided along side-streets to the finish thereby reducing the number of cyclists on Vätterpromenaden. Medals will not be given to participants by volunteers; instead they will be available for picking up personally at the finish.

What measures have you taken to ensure volunteers follow infection guidelines?

Where we have deemed it necessary, volunteers will wear both plastic gloves and facemasks and will also work in accordance with our new cleaning routines in the depots and other potential infection hot spots.

What will be the biggest changes for the cyclists?

One change from previous years is that we request all cyclists not to encourage their families to come to Motala. Vätternrundan is renowned to be one big family celebration but this year we will have to be content with the festivities taking place out on the course instead. Among other things the riders will be aware of the many signs urging them to maintain their distance plus the abundance of hand sanitizers. They will also notice the changes made at the start and finish; although small, they are significant. The planning involved behind the scenes accounts for the main bulk of the work that has taken place.

Can you guarantee there will be no crowding?

A lot depends on how individual riders behave. We have done as much as possible to adapt the event and follow the recommendations. Yet naturally it is heavily reliant on the interaction of the participants themselves and that they continue to behave as they would in any part of the community in these times: to stay home if you are not well, to maintain a distance, to wash hands.

How do you see your responsibilities in gathering so many people in one place during a pandemic?

The total amount of riders is spread over five different events with many start times. This means that the number of participants gathering in one place at any given time will be in accordance with the recommendations. Participants in Vätternrundan’s events will start in intervals; 50 riders at a time with 2 minutes between each start. After that the riders will be on a course that is over 300kms long and where the risk of crowding will be minimal.

The events will be run completely in accordance with the recommendations we have received from the Swedish Public Health Authority and the Government. We will comply with their assessment in conjunction with our continuous dialogue with the Regional Infection Control in Östergötland.

What will you do if crowding occurs?

We have a number of Corona volunteers that will be deployed at potential crowding hotspots such as depots; their sole purpose will be to remind the participants to maintain a safe distance and to avoid crowding. Also, all volunteers have been trained in how to react, remind and inform participants of the rules and recommendations that apply.

How will you ensure that there will not be too many visitors at the finish?

Most of those that wait around at the finish are family members of those who are taking part in the event. This year we have made a point of informing participants to encourage their family members to remain at home. We naturally hope that they will heed our recommendation.

Several sporting events have resulted in outbreaks of Covid, for example in Norrköping this Summer and not least the European football championships. What are your thoughts on the risk?

We assess that the group we are working with is much different than those at the events mentioned. Most of our participants are already vaccinated. Also, we will not have large gatherings of participants such as those that were seen at the European Championship finals. This is a completely different kind of event where the conditions for avoiding crowding are very good.

Are family and friends welcome to come along and support and cheer on cyclists?

No! We have asked all cyclists to make sure their families and friends do not come to Motala. There will be other years in the future when we can return to the festivities we are used to seeing. More information on how to Follow a rider can be found in Vätternrundan’s Event Guide.

What risk is there that Vätternrundan will be cancelled in 2021?

There is no risk of this happening as long as the recommendations from the authorities do not change.

Participants have in earlier years been able to sleep in close confines to each other in sports halls for example- Has that changed for this year?

This year it is possible to rent so called popup-cabins and class rooms for private groups. There are also many camping sites available.

This is how we can reduce the risk of spreading the virus during this year’s Vätternrundan

Stay at home if you have symptoms

If you develop symptoms after your arrival, travel home as soon and as safely as possible. Do not expose others.

Maintain distance

A good rule of thumb is always remain one bicycle length apart from each other.

Wash hands often and thoroughly

Wash with soap and water or use sanitizer. There are plenty of hygiene stations – use them!

Show consideration

Follow the volunteer’s instructions and directions.

Our partners

Vätternrundan would never be what it is today if it wasn't for our fantastic partners who share our passion for the sport of cycling.