This page was last updated on 12 April.
The government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England consists of four steps, and the second step came into play on Monday 12 April.
There will be four tests that the government will review ahead of each step, so the dates outlined below are the earliest that we may move to each step and may be subject to change.
You can read a summary of what will be included in each step on the government's website.
Phase 1 began on 8 March
Phase 2 began on 29 March
Step 2: began on 12 April
Step 3: begins no earlier than 17 May
Step 4: begins no earlier than 21 June
We’re working with the government to answer your questions about the roadmap and what this means for sport and physical activity. Answers to your questions on Step 2 are on the second tab at the top of this page.
We’re continuing to work with government on the other steps in the roadmap and will update these frequently asked questions when we know more.
We moved into Step 2 of the government's roadmap on 12 April. The answers to these questions are now applicable and will be valid until Step 3 comes into force, which will be no earlier than 17 May. The government will give a week’s notice before each new step will come into force.
These frequently asked questions have been developed in line with the government sport-specific guidance. They’re intended to support you in your work in preparing to restart and to understand what the government guidance means for you.
We’ll continue to work with the government to add further information on the next steps in its roadmap as we get further clarity.
- Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, sports pitches, outdoor skateparks and outdoor swimming pools can reopen
- Organised outdoor sport and physical activity for adults and children is permitted, which will be exempt from the legal gathering limits. The threshold on participant numbers will be decided by each national governing body (NGB) or organising organisation and will follow Covid-secure guidance
- Unless an activity is organised by a qualified instructor, represents a club, national governing body, company or charity, this will be classed as an informal activity
- Organised outdoor sport and activity includes:
- Organised outdoor group activities (such as outdoor exercise classes, group cycle rides, walking groups etc.)
- Outdoor team sports (including adapted versions for ‘higher risk’ team sports)
- Other organised outdoor sports (such as, but not limited to, tennis, golf, horse riding, water sports)
- Organised sport participation events (e.g. road races, running and cycling events, triathlons etc.).
- Outdoor gatherings of either six people (the 'rule of six') or two households can take place. Any informal outdoor sport and physical activity must follow these limits
- Outdoor hospitality can open
- Indoor leisure facilities can open for adult individual/household use only (no group activities are allowed)
- This includes facilities such as, but not limited to, gym and leisure centres, indoor sports courts and pitches, swimming pools, fitness studios, multi-sport facilities (such as climbing walls, driving ranges, archery venues, indoor riding centres, and indoor skate parks).
- Children’s activities can take place indoors in line with Department for Education and Out of School Setting guidance
- Disabled people can take part in organised outdoor and indoor sport without being subject to social contact limits
- Changing rooms can be opened, but participants should be encouraged to avoid or minimise use where possible
- Travel should be minimised but can take place for the purpose of sport and physical activity. Car sharing, however, isn't permitted
- Spectators are only allowed on public land, where they must adhere to social gathering limits either in groups of six or two households.
Can indoor sport and physical activity take place?
Yes, but what's permitted differs for adults and children.Read more
Adults: Indoor sport and physical activity can only take place for individuals or single households. This means that group sessions and exercise classes, and indoor sports/activities that require more than one person (for example, badminton, bowls etc.), cannot take place unless you’re playing with someone from within your household/support bubble.
Children: Children will be able to attend organised indoor children’s activity, including sport permitted in Step 2. Organised indoor children’s sport and physical activity must be formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follow sport-specific guidance where appropriate. Children's indoor sport and physical activity sessions must be done in groups of 15, in line with guidance from the Department for Education and out of school setting guidance.
Parent and child: These activities can take place indoors and outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees. Children under the age of five do not count towards the attendee limit.
Are personal training sessions allowed indoors?
Yes, personal training sessions can take place indoors one to one or for one household.Read more
Personal training cannot take place indoors in people’s homes in Step 2, unless the premises are classified as a business premises.
Anyone acting in a workforce capacity (for example volunteers, match officials, coaches and instructors) are exempt from the rules on gathering, however, they must remain socially distanced from players where possible during play/activity.
Can I take part in contact combat sports indoors?
What is permitted depends on whether it is for children or adults.Read more
Adults: Organised contact combat sports can take place indoors for adults in Phase 1 (padwork only) of the combat sport framework, in line with the relevant national governing body guidance. It can only take place individually or in one to one coaching sessions in line with wider government restrictions on access to indoor facilities.
Children: Organised contact combat sports for children (under 18s) can take place in Phase 2 of the combat sports framework, in line with the relevant national governing body guidance. Groups should follow the Out of School Setting guidance on numbers within a session which is available on the government’s website.
National governing bodies for contact sports have developed action plans in line with the government’s Combat Sport Framework, which takes into account the level of risk of their sport and how they can work to mitigate it to minimise Covid-19 transmission risk.
Do I need to wear a facemask when taking part in sport and physical activity indoors?
You don’t need to wear a face covering while exercising, but you should wear a face covering at all other times when at an indoor sports facility.Read more
Match officials, medics and coaches are also not required to wear face coverings while present in a work or volunteering capacity.
However, those coaching combat sports should follow their national governing body’s combat sport framework action plan, which may specify that you need to wear a facemask. This is to mitigate the closer contact elements of the activity.
Can outdoor sport and physical activity take place?
Yes. From 29 March people have been permitted to meet outdoors in groups of up to six people, or as a group of two households, for exercise or recreation. A group made up of two households can include more than six people, but only where all members of the group are from the same two households (or support bubbles, where eligible).
Social distancing must be maintained between people who don’t live together or share a support bubble.Read more
Outdoor organised sport and physical activity is permitted in larger numbers.
This means that organised outdoor individual and team sport, outdoor exercise classes (including walking groups) and organised sport participation events can happen with any number of participants during the activity, as long as it’s undertaken in line with Covid-secure guidance.
People must follow social gathering limits before and after the activity.
What constitutes organised sport and physical activity?
Organised outdoor sport and physical activity must be formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follow sport-specific guidance where appropriate.Read more
Organised outdoor sports and activities include:
- Organised outdoor group activities (such as, but not limited to, outdoor exercise classes, group cycle rides, walking groups etc.)
- Outdoor team sports (including adapted versions for ‘higher risk’ team sports)
- Other organised outdoor sports (such as, but not limited to, tennis, golf, horse riding, water sports etc.)
- Organised sport participation events (such as, but not limited to, road races, running and cycling events, triathlons etc.).
If the sport is not formally organised, or the sport-specific guidance is not being followed, this is considered to be informal or self-organised sport and will need to follow the guidance on outdoor legal gathering limits. An example of informal or self-organised sport would be some friends playing sport in a park.
Participants should adhere to social gathering and social distancing guidance when not actively participating, such as during breaks in play, or when awaiting substitutions. Social interaction before and after playing any sport should only take place in separate and distinct groups consisting of up to six people or two households.
Can I take part in contact combat sports outdoors?
Contact combat sports can take place where it is formally organised and following the relevant national governing body guidance.Read more
Adults: Organised contact combat sports can take place outdoors for adults in Phase 1 (padwork only) of the combat sport framework, in line with the relevant national governing body guidance.
Children: Organised contact combat sports for children can take place outdoors and indoors in Phase 2 of the combat sport framework.
National governing bodies for contact sports have developed action plans in line with the government’s Combat Sport Framework which takes into account the level of risk of their sport and how they can work to mitigate it to minimise Covid-19 transmission risk.
How many people can take part in outdoor personal training/coaching sessions?
Outdoor personal training and coaching sessions are classed as organised outdoor sport, and can take place where it’s formally organised and follows Covid-secure guidance. It can take place in outdoor spaces, including people's gardens.Read more
Outdoor organised sport and physical activity is permitted in larger numbers and is exempt from the legal gathering limits, as long as it’s undertaken in line with Covid-secure guidance and follows sport-specific guidance where appropriate.
Do workforce/volunteers/trainers count in the social gathering limits?
No. Anyone acting in a workforce capacity (for example volunteers, match officials, coaches and instructors) are exempt from the rules on gathering, however, they must remain socially distanced from players where possible during play/activity.Read more
Should match officials not be able to remain socially distanced due to their role in the sport, their sport should conduct a risk assessment to see if other mitigations may be necessary.
Can I take part in informal sport and physical activity outdoors?
Yes. Unless an activity is organised by a qualified instructor, represents a club, national governing body, company or charity, this will be classed as an informal activity. Where sport is not formally organised, it can only take place within the rules on legal gathering limits - in groups of up to six people, or two households. For example, meeting friends for an outdoor workout can only be done in a group of up to six people, or as two households maintaining social distancing.
Are indoor sports facilities allowed to open?
Yes. Indoor facilities are allowed to open for individual / household use only from Step 2. This includes, but is not limited to, facilities such as:
- Gyms and leisure centres
- Indoor sport courts and pitches
- Swimming pools
- Fitness studios
- Multi-sport facilities (such as climbing walls, driving ranges, archery venues and indoor skate parks and snow sport facilities)
Facilities should open in line with the government’s Sport Facility guidance, for example, the maximum occupancy of an indoor facility must allow a minimum of 100 square feet (9.3 square metres) per person
Facilities which can be used for sport but are primarily used for leisure (such as trampoline parks, bowling alleys and ice rinks) or which provide physical activity which is not a recognised sport (such as airsoft venues) should not open in Step 2 unless for indoor children's activity.
Do you need to wear a face mask inside an indoor sports facility?
You don't need to wear a face covering while exercising, but you should wear a face covering at all other times when at an indoor sports facility.Read more
Are outdoor facilities allowed to open?
Outdoor sport facilities can reopen, and can be used for sport, physical activity, exercise and entertainment. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor swimming pools, outdoor gyms, skateparks, tennis and basketball courts, golf courses including adventure golf, and ice skating to enable outdoor sports in compliance with social gathering limits.
Can ancillary facilities be opened?
Changing rooms and shower facilities can be opened, but you should encourage participants to avoid or minimise use where possible (for example, by arriving in kit and showering at home) and to minimise the time they spend in the changing area.
Participants should social distance whilst in changing rooms. More than one household can use changing facilities at one time but they must not mix and must adhere to capacity limits.
Are sports facilities that sell food and drink allowed to open?
Sport providers and participants can use clubhouses and hospitality facilities in line with government guidance on hospitality settings and specific advice for sport facility operators available on the government’s website.
People using clubhouses and hospitality facilities must adhere to legal gathering limits and wider government guidance.
Events and spectators
Are grassroot sport and physical activity events allowed?
Yes. Organised sport participation events such as races and organised walks can take place outdoors and are exempt from legal gathering limits. However, they must be organised in accordance with the relevant guidance available on the government’s website, and follow any guidance specific to your local area (such as travel advice).
Are spectators allowed?
Spectators aren’t permitted to attend sporting events taking place on private land.
This doesn’t apply to carers for disabled people or adults needed to supervise under-18s that they have a responsibility for in a safeguarding role whilst they’re participating in an organised sporting activity.Read more
Where it’s necessary for them to be present, supervising adults shouldn’t mix with others from outside their household or support bubble. More information on safeguarding and return to play can be seen here.
This doesn’t prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that’s taking place in a public space, e.g. a park, in groups of up to six people or two households.
However, spectators shouldn’t be actively encouraged for sporting activities taking part in public spaces.
Sporting events that are intended to attract spectators, including ticketed events, or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators, e.g. a major marathon, shouldn’t take place in a public space, or on private land, until Step 3.
Public spaces include, but aren’t limited to:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- the grounds of a heritage site
Can I travel to take part in sport and physical activity?
You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise and take part in informal and organised sport and physical activity. Always check that it’s safe to travel before you set out to take part in sport or recreation.
Is car sharing permitted for sport and physical activity?
No. Car sharing is not permitted with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. Sport and physical activity is not an exempt reason, so you cannot car share for sport and physical activity. Car sharing so that disabled people can access sport and physical activity is an exempt reason and therefore is permitted. Please see the government's travel guidance for further information.
Exemptions - under-18s
What's the definition of an under-18 participant?
The exemption for under-18s includes young people who were under 18 on 31 August 2020, even if they turn 18 during the remainder of the academic year.
Can under-18s take part in indoor sport and physical activity?
Children can take part in indoor activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance. This includes in businesses which otherwise cannot open until Step 3, such as ice rinks and trampoline parks.Read more
Indoor sport for children must be formally organised meaning it is organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follow sport-specific guidance where appropriate.
Can my child take part in contact combat sports?
Contact combat sports for children can take place where it is formally organised and follows the relevant national governing body guidance. Contact combat sport for children can resume indoors and outdoors in Phase 2 of the combat sport framework.Read more
Can adults mix with youth/junior groups when taking part in indoor sports?
No. Supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s can take place as long as it follows the government’s out of school setting guidance but this does not apply if adults take part in the activity.
I manage an under-18s team that play indoors, and have 17 and 18-year-olds in the team, can they continue to play together?
The exemption for under-18s includes young people who were under 18 on 31 August 2020, even if they turn 18 during the remainder of the academic year. They can still play in the team in the same way for the remainder of the academic year.Read more
Those over the age of 18 on 31 August 2020 are considered to be adults. Adults can only take place in indoor sport and physical activity individually or with members of their household.
Can parent and baby/toddler classes continue to take place with adults and children present?
Parent and child groups can also take place indoors and outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees. Children under five years of age don't count towards the attendee limit.
Exemptions - disabled people
What activities can disabled people take part in?
Organised outdoor and indoor sport can only take place where it follows the government's guidance on recreational team sport and grassroots sport and leisure activity that is available on the government’s website. This also includes group activities, such as organised walks.Read more
National governing bodies providing sport formats for disabled people will set out how they can deliver this provision in line with existing guidance on social distancing and Covid-secure measures.
There’s no limit on numbers, however, government guidance on organised sport must be followed.
Why are disabled people exempt from the restrictions?
We know disabled people face more barriers to taking part in sport and physical activity, so it's vital we do as much as possible to keep these opportunities accessible.
Not allowing organised sport would have a disproportionate impact on disabled people.
Does this exemption put disabled people at an increased risk of contracting coronavirus?
Organised sport can only take place where it follows the government's guidance on recreational team sport and grassroots sport and leisure activity.
Can non-disabled people take part in organised indoor sport alongside disabled people?
No. This exemption only applies to disabled people and any other people necessary to enable the sport to take place (such as a carer or coach helping the disabled person to participate).
Where disabled people need support from a carer or personal assistant during activity, will this be allowed, e.g. a visually impaired person needing a guide runner?
Yes. People who provide essential support (e.g. carers) to disabled people are exempt, and don’t count towards gathering limits. Therefore, disabled participants can be supported by a carer(s)/personal assistant(s) while taking part in exercise.Read more
This can be in addition to others from your household, support bubble or one person from another household – this could be a coach.
Up to two carers for a disabled person, needing continuous care, aren’t counted towards the gatherings limit on two or more people exercising outside.
Do I need to maintain social distancing if I'm working with a disabled person who needs support?
Social distancing should be maintained where possible, but in some circumstances people will need physical assistance to be active. It’s important you discuss this with the person to consider their needs and preferences.Read more
Any sports coaches or trainers undertaking one-to-one sessions should ensure they’re 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.
Exemptions - coach education
Are coaching/education courses able to continue?
You're allowed to travel for work, education or training.
This means professional training that is working towards an external accreditation recognised by a professional body (such as a national governing body coaching course) can go ahead.Read more
For practical activity sessions, you should follow national governing body/training provider guidelines.
The exemption from legal gathering limits and travel restrictions for education, also covers curriculum activity provided by a school or further/higher education provider (such as a college or university).
Exemptions - elite sport
What's defined as elite sport?
The definition of an ‘elite athlete’ means a person who is:
- an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport
- a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body
- a member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body, or
- on an elite development pathway.
For these purposes, a “relevant sporting body” is the national governing body of a sport which may nominate athletes to represent either (a) Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Tokyo or Beijing Olympic or Paralympic Games, or at the Paris Olympic or Paralympic Games, or (b) England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham.
A “senior representative” means a person who’s considered by a relevant sporting body to be a candidate to qualify to compete on behalf of (a) Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Tokyo or Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games or at the Paris Olympic or Paralympic Games, or (b) England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham.
An “elite development pathway” means a development pathway established by the national governing body of a sport to prepare sports persons (a) so that they may derive a living from competing in that sport, or (b) to compete in that sport in the Olympic or Paralympic Games, or in the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham.
Where can elite athletes train?
Elite athletes will be able to train through their elite training centres. Other indoor and outdoor facilities will be able to provide access where needed for elite athletes to train, as long as specific elite sport guidance can be followed.Read more
All elite training and competition must be delivered under the relevant guidance, which sets out the responsibilities on all parties involved, including the facility, the athlete and the relevant sporting body/national governing body.
Test and trace
What are the test and trace regulations?
Regulations require facilities to display an NHS QR code that visitors, customers and staff must scan.
This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus.Read more
To support NHS Test and Trace, you must hold records for 21 days. This reflects the incubation period for coronavirus, which can be up to 14 days, and an additional seven days to allow time for testing and tracing.
Does the facility I manage have to display a QR poster?
You should create and display a QR code if you are:
- a business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that’s open to the public, or
- an event which is taking place in a physical location.
You can do so using the government’s instructions.
If you’ve more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location. You can add multiple locations in the service.
How do I use the QR code and who should use it?
Ask customers, visitors and staff at your venue to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS Covid-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus.
Do gyms need to have a QR code or just local authority leisure facilities?
The legislation states that leisure facilities, including gyms and swimming pools, are required to have a QR code poster.
If I'm delivering personal training sessions at my home gym or outdoors, do I need to display a QR code?
Yes. This guidance applies to any establishment that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises, and whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings.
What should I do if I'm delivering a session at a venue that isn't displaying a QR code?
Ensure you provide a separate customer log/collect customer details, so that contact tracers can get in touch with people if required. Notify the venue operator if possible.