MY FIRST POST-LOCKDOWN AIRSOFT GAME!

Hey everyone!

Welcome back to the blog! Sorry it's been a while since my last blog post, during June I took a couple of weeks off to mentally prepare myself for the world somewhat returning back to normal. I think we can all agree that lockdown was a weird and stressful time with a lot of uncertainty for many of us!

Today we're back with a new post that I teased on my Instagram stories on Saturday evening! On Saturday 4th July 2020 COVID19 lockdown restrictions in England lifted and we were able to play airsoft again. Now some of you will know from watching my IG Q&A sessions that I am a massive germaphobe and I also suffer from health anxiety - not really ideal during a global pandemic if I'm honest. I won't lie, after over 100 days in lockdown and barely seeing another human being, the thought of being around a lot of people again did make me very nervous so I chose to stay close to home and attend a site that I trust. The site I visited was West Midlands Airsoft: The FOB which many of you will know I also Marshall for. 

The reason I chose to go to WMA for my first game day back is because the staff are like family and I explicitly trust them to not come to site if they've had symptoms or if they've been in contact with someone that has. I also trust that appropriate measures will be put into place to keep players and staff safe.


A lot has changed since the last time we played airsoft back in March 2020, and a lot has changed in regards to how we marshall games now. All staff at WMA have received extra COVID-19 training and specific team members have taken extra COVID First Aid training.

I was met on the car park by one of our Marshalls, who directed me to a suitable parking space and after having a brief chat I dragged, yes dragged my kit bags and rifle case out of the car and made my way to the safe zone. On the way in, the team put up a 1 way system to minimise contact. Customers wait 2m apart inline until they are at the front of the queue. One side leads into the shop/sign-in area and safe zone, and the other leads to the new entrance to the gaming area and to the exit.



At the shop/sign-in area there is a sign to remind customers to wait until they are called towards the desk and there is a hand sanitiser dispenser on the wall which customers must use before payment (or signing a form if you forget to bring one). PRO TIP: printing out your insurance waiver and filling it out at home means less contact for yourself and staff and also gets the queue down quicker!


At the sign-in desk there is now a perspex screen to protect both staff and customers. WMA is still accepting cash payments but of course, contactless payments are preferred. At the moment, hot food isn't being served at lunch to be safe so it's advisable to bring a packed lunch. There are still drinks and snacks that can be purchased on site if you get peckish during the day!


Before, all players would gather at the podium to hear the safety brief, however as social distancing needs to be maintained, players now stay at their designated kit areas and Paul (the owner of WMA) gives the safety brief from a distance (using the megaphone if required). In the new updated safety brief players are given a thorough run through of what is expected of them during the day. The biggest changes to the rules in the game area are that players must practice social distancing and for the foreseeable future there will be no medic rule but unlimited respawns and the use of respawn flags.


Unfortunately the only thing I didn't get images of is the new table set-ups. WMA have added more tables into the safe zone and they are all taped up and are limited to the amount of players on them. There is also 2m social distancing signs/posters and hand sanitiser stations throughout the safe zone to promote hygiene. As my friend Joe at Sixmil.com was away for the day I asked if I could use his shop area to set-up and keep my equipment/myself away from others which helped a lot with my general anxiety.

As it was the first game day back, and everyone is still adjusting to our new 'normal' there were bound to be some learning moments. A group of 3 players decided to also use the space I was using to kit up (despite not asking). My problem wasn't that they were using the space, it was that they were putting their guns on my case, not social distancing and crowding around the space in general which made me feel very uncomfortable and was inconsiderate. After asking them to move their guns off my case which they did, and give me some space which they didn't I spoke to Paul and they were told they had to adhere to the rules which caused some grumbles but the team handled it really well and I appreciated that. I think this shows how seriously the team at WMA are taking this.

The toilets are being cleaned more regularly and are limited to one person in the room at any time. What did surprise me was how many players the staff had to tell to wash their hands after they've used the toilet *facepalm*. The staff were on top of it - Becky made SURE everyone washed their hands, but damn guys how hard is it to wash your hands! What concerns me regarding this is if this is how useless airsofters are at washing their hands after using the toilet during a global pandemic, how shit were they at it before? *shudders*

Overall, I think the team at WMA are taking the Gov guidelines seriously and have put in appropriate measures to keep both the staff and players safe. They were great at policing social distancing in both the safe zone and in the game zone and of course hand washing. With all this in place, it is now down to the players to do their part and maintain good personal hygiene and social distancing.

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