Skip to content

Coronavirus: what happens next?

We've worked with the government to help answer some of the key questions people in the sport and physical activity sector will have as restrictions change.

We’ll continue to update this page as the government issues more information.

Current guidance

The national lockdown restrictions mean you should minimise time spent outside your home.

It's against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they're part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you shouldn't travel outside your local area.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you're legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with one person from another household (going for a walk with someone counts as exercise).

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • playgrounds.

Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.

There are, however, two exemptions to the national lockdown restrictions for sport and activity:

  • Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.  
  • Elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - are allowed to meet in larger groups, to compete and train.

Government guidance

With a national lockdown in place, the government's compiled detailed guidance of what can and can't be done for exercise under these restrictions.

What you can and can't do

Frequently asked questions

With a national lockdown in place, we've compiled answers to some of your most common questions on what this mean for sport and physical activity.

Your questions answered

The next steps

The reopening of some outdoor sports facilities had paved the way for many other clubs and organisations to start detailed planning and preparation ahead of the wider reopening of sport and physical activity, which began last summer.

We want to do everything possible to help community sport return safely and responsibly. 

We’re liaising with the government to help their work in devising guidance and support for the sector and have created some 'return to play' resources to help clubs and organisations to get ready. 

This suite of tools, which we'll continue to be updated as further guidance is provided by the government and public health authorities – includes simple checklists, expert hygiene advice and links to best practice.

See our return to play resources

Why we must get this right

We emerged from the 2020 spring lockdown as a nation of people who understand better than ever before the benefits that sport and activity can bring to mental and physical wellbeing,

Thanks to the government placing exercise at the heart of its priorities throughout lockdown, national values are being reformed around activity. Exercise has been redefined as a necessity, rather than a recreational choice or luxury and most adults are now telling us that they think being active is more important than before and are using it to stay physically and mentally healthy.

In order to gain maximum benefit from this momentum, we need to ensure that when we reopen, this is done in a well coordinated way and isn't just focused on getting something back up and running, but is genuinely inclusive. 

Our insight tells us that, in the midst of coping with our changing circumstances, many people are doing more activity and experiencing different activities than usual, but alongside this, many others are doing less. We can already see that older people, women, people on low incomes, living in urban areas or living alone, are finding it harder to be active during the outbreak.

Working together, we have an opportunity to reframe grassroots and community sport and activity as something genuinely for everyone and to support those involved with delivery to get it right from the off.

Principles to help return to play

These three principles have been published by the government to help organisations as part of the return to play.

  • Working to ensure the activity can meet public health guidelines

    All activity should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene.

    That means that participants and others can maintain a safe two metre distance, that good hygiene practices are in place, that equipment is disinfected regularly, and that it's clear that anyone who's symptomatic or suspects they've been exposed to the virus does not take part and remains at home.

    Read less
  • Communicating clearly and consistently

    Organisations will need to communicate clearly and regularly with members and participants setting out what they're doing to manage risk, and what advice they're giving to individuals to do likewise.

    Ideally, organisations should publish an action plan detailing their plans to reopen safely and the steps they're taking to avoid confusion.

    Organisations should also communicate clearly opening times and how people can safely access a facility, if relevant, for example through a booking or queuing system.

    It's more important than ever to consider inclusive guidance for people who need support to be active and organisations should consider this as part of their work to encourage people to return.

    Read less
  • Flexibility and innovation

    Any measures organisations can put in place to enable an activity to return needs to be capable of being adapted to follow government guidelines on social distancing. e.g. strengthening or relaxing measures at short notice. Organisations are encouraged to think creatively about how best to make their sport or activity possible within the guidelines.

    The limit on gatherings - no more than two, unless members of the same household - means that it's unlikely to be possible to organise amateur events or competitions at this time.

    Read less

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.