Updated 29 June 2020
Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England
What has changed
From 1 June, you can now exercise alone, with members of your household, or with up to, but no more than 5 other people from outside your household while keeping 2 metres apart at all times. Gatherings of more than 6 people are not permitted (unless an exemption applies, for example, if you are from one household or if it’s essential for work purposes). Social distancing of 2 metres applies to people outside of your household. If you are playing sport or exercising with people from your own household, the 2 metre rule does not apply.
From 10 June, single adult households are now able to form a support bubble with one other household. For the purposes of this guidance, all references to ‘households’ now also include their support bubble.
Check in advance if the facilities you want to use have reopened.
When exercising in the countryside remember to follow the countryside code and act responsibly.
If possible, hand sanitise at intervals if your sport or recreation means you have to touch communal surfaces.
Once you are home remember to wash your hands.
Try to avoid using shared equipment such as racquets and bats.
If catering facilities are open at the venue (for takeaway items) respect social distancing whilst queuing for food and drink. Do not share food items, cups, plates or eating utensils with anyone else.
If you are symptomatic or living in a household with someone else who has a possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection you should remain at home.
If you are classified as extremely vulnerable on health grounds, you are advised to continue shielding to keep yourself safe by staying at home and avoiding gatherings or, if individuals wish to spend time outdoors, to take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping two metres apart at all times.
If you have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you are a contact of a known COVID-19 case, do not exercise outside your own home or garden and do not exercise with others; you can spread the virus to others even if you never get symptoms.
It is important, as more sports and activities restart, that absolutely everyone is able to access these opportunities. This includes disabled people, for whom the health and well-being benefits of activity can be particularly important.
What has changed
The government has announced that people can go outside more than once a day for exercise, alone, with members of their household, or with up to, but no more than 5 people from outside of their household as long as they are following social distancing guidelines. Gatherings of more than 6 people are not permitted (unless an exemption applies, for example, you are from one household or if it’s essential for work purposes).
From 13 May, outdoor sports courts and other outdoor sporting activities have been permitted to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Indoor facilities such as clubhouses should be kept closed, apart from toilets and throughways. Clubhouse bars and restaurants can also offer take-away services (see below for more detail).
Outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will remain closed to the public.
Travelling for physical activity
You can travel for physical activity. Ideally use your nearest, local appropriate venue to reduce pressure on transport infrastructure. But you can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling. It is not possible to practice effective social distancing in small vehicles. You should consider all other forms of transport before using public transport.
Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed.
To help keep yourself and your fellow passengers safe, you should not travel if you: are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or as a result of being in contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, or sharing a household with somebody with symptoms, or are clinically extremely vulnerable.
If you have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you are a contact of a known COVID-19 case, do not exercise outside your own home or garden and do not exercise with others; you can spread the virus to others even if you never get symptoms
See the government’s safer travel guidance for passengers for further information.
Clinically vulnerable people (such as people aged 70 and over)
The advice for clinically vulnerable groups remains the same. If you are in this group you are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.
If you are classified as clinically extremely vulnerable and living in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or is positive for the infection you should self-isolate at the same time as the household and take particular care. If you are in this group and you and those in your immediate household are well then you should follow the guidance for those shielding. This has been updated to advise you can now consider taking safe exercise outdoors and meeting up with one person outside your household, always maintaining social distancing and robust hand and respiratory hygiene.
If you have children with you
You can bring your children with you to exercise. You can exercise with members of your household, and it’s important that children have as many chances to be as active as possible.
But please remember that if you have children with you, you are responsible for supervising them at all times and in line with social distancing guidelines. Children are not always good at hand hygiene; the virus can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Therefore pay special attention to children’s hand hygiene.
Using sport facilities
From 13 May, sports Courts including basketball and tennis courts, bowling greens and playing spaces like golf courses (public and private) were able to reopen. Other outdoor sports facilities such as angling were also allowed to resume.
All of these activities must only be undertaken alone, with members of your household or, providing you are following social distancing guidelines, with up to but no more than 5 other people from outside your household. For example it would not be possible to form a double or Canadian canoe, kayak, rowing boat or tandem cycle with someone outside your household as it would not be possible to abide by the social distancing guidelines.
Outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will remain closed to the public due to the higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
It is important that when facilities reopen, they ensure that disabled people and those with access requirements are able to safely access the sports and activities on offer in line with social distancing guidelines.
Timetable for reopening
For the facilities that are now allowed to open, each venue, including council-owned sports facilities, will make their own decisions about when their facilities are ready to open and can be operated safely. Please check ahead on websites and social media to make sure before you arrive at a facility that it has reopened and what advice they are offering users, for example if there is a booking system.
The government has also published high level guidance for elite athletes and professional sportsmen and women, in order to allow them resume performance training.
Government is working with National Governing Bodies of sport to determine what additional and specific guidance may be needed in future.
It is a decision for facility managers whether or not they hire out equipment.
We would expect them to follow sensible precautions and clean in between users, and to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
Where possible we recommend that you limit sharing of equipment, for example you should use your own tennis racquet, golf club or basketball, but if you do, practise strict hand hygiene.
If you are sharing equipment, including balls, you should wash your hands thoroughly before and after use.
Indoor facilities, apart from toilets and through-ways should be kept closed. When accessing and leaving facilities you should wipe down areas of contact, wash hands thoroughly and use paper towels where possible and avoid touching any surfaces in transit.
Personal trainers and coaching
Personal training or coaching is permitted if outside and if people are a minimum of 2 metres apart and providing there are gatherings of no more than 6 people from different households.
Under the new social distancing guidelines, which allow up to, but no more than 6 people to gather, parents can take their children to a 1-1 coaching or training session, as long as the gathering does not exceed 6 people. Any sports coaches or trainers undertaking 1-1 sessions should ensure they are complying with relevant National Governing Body Safeguarding Policies and Procedures and conduct a thorough risk assessment before engaging in any sessions. This should include particular consideration for under 18s and vulnerable adults.
Bars and restaurants
Bars and restaurants, including any food or drink facilities inside a clubhouse must remain closed until further notice. Take-away services can be offered, but any hot or cold food must be consumed off the premises, outside of the building. Maintain social distancing whilst queueing and do not share food items, cups, plates, or cutlery, and people should move away from the premises to prevent crowding and queuing.
Toilets and through-ways may be kept open, but guidance on hygiene should be followed.
Athletics tracks can re-open, but this is at the discretion of the facility and must be done in a way that adheres to guidance on social distancing.
You can now go fishing but only alone, with members of your household, or with up to, but no more than 5 other people a minimum of 2 metres apart. You should always follow social distancing guidelines when encountering others.
Like most other shops, tackle shops can open.
You can play golf providing you only meet up with no more than 5 other people from a different household and observe social distancing guidelines, remaining a minimum of 2 metres apart. Clubhouses must remain closed except for takeaway catering and toilets.
You can ride a horse, providing that you are alone, with members of your own household or with no more than 5 other people from a different household. You should observe social distancing where possible when encountering other riders or the public.
You are allowed to visit venues like a riding club to exercise. You should only do so alone, with members of your household or with no more than 5 other people from another household as long as you can remain 2 metres away from them. You should not gather with people from outside of your household indoors. You should check ahead to ensure that these facilities are open and prepared to receive visitors.
Lawn bowls and croquet
You can play lawn bowls and croquet where facilities have reopened, but you can only take part in these activities by yourself, or with members of your household or with no more than 5 other people outside of your household, as long as you are able to maintain social distancing.
Outdoor and indoor swimming pools cannot open at this time.
People who play team sports can now meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in wholly separate groups of no more than 6 and must remain 2 metres apart at all times. While groups could practice ball skills like passing and kicking, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. Physical contact with anyone outside of your household is not permitted, therefore playing of any games (small sided or full) is also not permitted at this time. Avoid meeting in groups of 6 in busy or overcrowded areas, if it is so busy that it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times.
You can play tennis providing you only meet up with no more than 5 other people from a different household and observe social distancing guidelines, remaining a minimum of 2 metres apart. You can also play doubles tennis with people from outside of your household as long as you remain 2 metres apart.
You can go to the beach as long as you are alone, with your household, or with no more than 5 other people from outside your household and staying 2 metres apart at all times. You should not share a private vehicle with anyone outside your own household and you should follow social distancing guidelines when encountering others. If you are swimming while at the beach, you should only do so if a lifeguard is on duty.
All forms of water sports practised on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed provided that the guidance on social distancing is observed. See also further guidance on inland and coastal boating.
You are allowed to visit venues like a sailing club to exercise. You should only do so alone, with members of your household or with 5 other people from another household as long as you can remain 2 metres away from them. You should check ahead to ensure that these facilities are open and prepared to receive visitors. You should not gather indoors with anyone from outside your household.