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Frequently asked questions on the national coronavirus restrictions

This page was last updated on 11 February

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below relate to changes announced by the government on 19 January, which relate to England moving out of Plan B restrictions.

We've developed these FAQs with the government and they're intended to support you to understand what the changes mean for sport and physical activity in England.


  • There are no set restrictions on how many people can take part in sport and physical activity, indoors and outdoors.
  • All forms of activities can take place without set restrictions. We advise you to refer to your national governing bodies’ (NGBs) guidance where relevant.
  • All sports facilities can open, including ancillary facilities. There are no indoor capacity limits, however venues may put in place some guidance or measures to manage their facility.
  • Organised sport participation events such as (but not limited to) races, rides and organised walks can take place outdoors with no capacity caps for participants or spectators.
  • Government guidance for sport and physical activity provides advice on how to reduce transmission when you’re exercising.

Read the government's guidance


  • What sporting activities can I take part in?

    There are no restrictions on how many people can take part in sport and physical activity and no restrictions on the activities that can be done. 

    Organised and informal sport and physical activity can take place with any number of participants. This includes applies to both indoor and outdoor activity, as well as mass participation events. 

    The types of sporting activity that can take place include (but are not limited to): 

    • Group activities (e.g. exercise classes, group cycle rides, walking groups, etc.)
    • Team sports (e.g. netball, football, basketball, rugby, etc.)
    • Individual sports (e.g. tennis, badminton, golf, horse riding, water sports, going to the gym etc.)
    • Sport participation events (e.g. road races, running and cycling events, triathlons, etc.)
    • Contact combat sports (e.g. boxing, judo, wresting, taekwondo, karate, etc.)
    • Informal sport and physical activity (activity that is not formally organised, such as a kick around with your friends in the park) 
    • Inclusive sport and physical activity (disabled people and non-disabled people can take part in both indoor and outdoor activities together) 

    We advise that you refer to your the NGB’s guidance, where relevant, for advice on how to participate in your sport in line with the government’s advice. 

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  • What’s the advice for team sport and contact combat sport providers?

    There are no restrictions on how many people can take part in sport and physical activity, or on the activities they can do.

    This means that full contact versions of team sports and contact combat sports for adults and children can take place indoors and outdoors.  

    NGBs for team sports and contact combat sports should maintain Covid-specific guidance for participants on how to participate safely in their sport, which should be reviewed and updated as required to ensure sport providers and participants are clear on the current advice and best practice.

    This guidance doesn’t not need to be reviewed by the government. 

    NGBs or providers may wish to consider setting out alternative ways for people to participate, for those who don’t feel comfortable with full versions of their sport but still wish to take part.

    Further information on the measures you could consider are provided in the government guidance.

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  • What health and safety measures should be considered for sport and physical activity?

    You should continue to follow any relevant advice from NGBs, sport providers, or the sports facility where appropriate, on how to participate safely in your sport or activity.

    This may set out different ways to organise matches or tournaments, or measures you should follow - like regular breaks to sanitise the ball or other equipment.

    Before attending any activity all participants, officials, volunteers and spectators should self-assess for symptoms of Covid-19. These are:

    • A high temperature
    • A new, continuous cough
    • A loss of, or change to, your sense of small or taste.

    If you, or anyone you live with, have one or more of these symptoms you shouldn’t attend any sporting activity, even if your symptoms are mild.

    You should follow NHS and UKSA guidance on testing and self-isolation.

    If you’ve been informed that you need to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you shouldn’t leave your isolation location to participate in sport and physical activity. 

    You should also continue to follow government and UKSA advice on hygiene, to minimise unnecessary risk of transmission in sport environments. 

    Government guidance for sport and physical activity provides further advice on how to reduce transmission when you’re exercising.

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  • Are large scale events allowed?

    Yes, and spectators are permitted regardless of whether the event is held indoors or outdoors. There are no capacity restrictions or social gathering limits. 

    If you’re organising large grassroots sport events, or expect a significant number of spectators, you should review the guidance for events and attractions and follow the relevant measures to reduce the risk of transmission at your event.

    You can also use the risk management template to help you plan your event.

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  • Do I need to have had a Covid-19 vaccine or have taken a test before I take part in sport and physical activity?

    It’s not a statutory requirement to have had a coronavirus vaccine or take a test to participate in sport and physical activity - regardless of the size of the sporting event.

    A note has been produced with Sheridans Sports Group to provide high-level guidance of whether sport and physical activity providers can stipulate that participants must have been vaccinated.

    We've produced a guidance note with Sheridans Sports Group to provide high-level information on whether sport and physical activity providers can stipulate that participants must have been vaccinated.

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  • Does the ‘work from home’ rule apply for workforce who deliver sport and physical activity?

    If work cannot be undertaken at home, then you should continue to go into work. For more information around working safely, you can access guidance for working safely during coronavirus on the government's website. 

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  • Do we have to apply the school bubbles rule for our activity (i.e. school holiday clubs)?

    No. It’s no longer necessary to keep children in bubbles and activities can take place in groups of any number. See the out of school guidance for more information. 

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  • Are sports facilities allowed to open?

    Yes. All sports facilities, indoors and outdoors, can open. This includes ancillary facilities such as changing rooms and shower facilities.

    Facility operators should review the guidance for sport facility operators.

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  • Are there any capacity restrictions for indoor facilities?

    While there are no set capacity restrictions for indoor facilities, the government has provided advice on how to manage facilities – including advice on increasing ventilation and reducing transmission.

    Those attending a facility/venue must follow any guidance they have in place.

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  • Do I need to wear a face covering inside an indoor sports facility?

    Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings where they come in to contact with people they don’t normally meet, to protect themselves and others.

    It’s a personal choice if you or anyone else chooses to wear a face covering, but facilities or venues may recommend that workers or customers continue to wear face coverings.

    It’s not advised that participants wear face coverings while taking part in sport and physical activity, but you may wish to wear a face covering before or after your activity if you are coming in to contact with others you do not usually meet.

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  • Are sports facilities that sell food and drink allowed to open?

    Yes. Sport providers and participants can use clubhouses and hospitality facilities. 

    Face coverings are exempt in restaurants, cafes and canteens.  

    For more information please see the government’s advice on hospitality settings.  

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  • Can I travel to take part in sport and physical activity?

    You’re able to travel within England to take part in sport and physical activity.

    Any international travel to take part in sport and physical activity should follow the guidance for travelling abroad and the guidance for travel to England should be followed when returning to England.

    From 4am on 11 February the elite sports exemption will cease to exist.

    All international travel, including that by elite athletes, will need to adhere to this travel guidance.

    There’s government guidance which provides further information about the advice and rules for each list.

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  • Is car sharing permitted for sport and physical activity?

    Yes, you’re able to car share with no restrictions on social distancing/social gathering limits.

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  • Can my team use a minibus to travel for sport and physical activity?

    Yes. A team or group can use a minibus/coach to travel for sport and physical activity. 

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  • Can I stay overnight for sport?

    Yes. Overnight stays within England are permitted.

    There are no rules on social distancing or social gathering limits so accommodation can be shared with others from outside your household. 

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Test and trace

  • What are test and trace regulations?

    You’re advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app, but you don’t have to ask customers to check in or turn them away if they refuse.

    You’re no longer legally required to collect contact details, however doing so will help to support NHS Test and Trace.

    If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who ask to check in but do not have the app. 

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  • How do I use a QR code and who should use it?

    Anyone can use the QR Test and Trace system. Customers, visitors and staff at any venue can scan the QR code on display when they arrive, using the NHS Covid-19 app.

    This will help trace and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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