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Frequently asked questions on the return of sport and activity

Indoor facilities, such as gyms, leisure centres and pools, can now reopen if they feel able to and provided operators follow government guidelines.

Team sports can also restart when each sport's national governing body has published a government-approved action plan and related guidance on playing safely.

We know these changes will spark some questions, so we've worked with the government to compile answers below to some of the most common ones.

Read the government's guidance

Group numbers

Test and trace

  • What are the requirements for an organisation if somebody contracts coronavirus who's attended an event/session?

    The opening up of the economy following the coronavirus outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace.

    You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your participants for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your organisation, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

    An organisation isn't required to do anything until NHS Test and Trace contact you for further details.

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Gyms and indoor facilities

  • When can indoor facilities reopen?

    Facilities such as gyms, leisure centres and pools can now reopen, as well as other indoor facilities like community halls, which can be used for sport as long as that venue follows the guidance set out for indoor sports facilities. These changes took effect from 25 July.

    Ice rinks and bowling alleys will be able to reopen from 15 August.

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  • Do gyms/pools have to keep changing rooms and showers closed?

    As the guidance says, facilities may reopen showers and changing rooms if they can do so in a safe way with thorough cleaning measures in place.

  • Will people be required to wear face masks/gloves in gyms?

    No, this is optional.

  • Is there a limit on class numbers? How will people socially distance?

    No, there's no limit, but it's up to gyms to ensure they can enable social distancing in classes, before and afterwards, as outlined in the guidance.

  • Will people be required to leave their details at gyms, as with pubs and restaurants?

    Yes. All visits to these facilities will be recorded for track and trace purposes.

  • How will gyms prevent the spread of Covid-19 given the amount of sweat and aerosol droplets?

    The government has published comprehensive guidance that sets out clear safety measures to mitigate risks. It's up to operators to ensure their facility is equipped to open safely in line with the guidance.

  • What about the high turnover of people using gym equipment?

    That will be up to gyms to decide. However, the guidance is clear that frequent cleaning of equipment has to happen.

    Gyms should also provide spray, cloths and instructions if they're asking users to wipe down machines after use, for example.

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  • Can indoor sports include close-contact sports?

    For close-contact sports specifically, the government is advising that these are not resumed if social distancing and government guidance cannot be followed.

    This is due to the increased risks of transmission of Covid-19, because of the proximity of participants and contact between them.

    However, activities that follow government guidelines can go ahead.

    Please contact the relevant national governing body, as they'll often provide specific guidance on how their sport can be played or adapted to enable social distancing and adherence to the government guidelines.

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  • Will leisure centre cafes be allowed to reopen?

    Yes, in line with separate guidance on hospitality venues.

  • Will there be a limit on numbers for indoor pools?

    There's an advised limit on area per person in a pool. It will be up to pools to assess how many people they can safely accommodate at one time.

  • 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.

    This may require support from someone outside of their household or support person.

    It’s important that you discuss this with the person to consider their needs and preferences.

    CIMSPA has published further guidance on indoor training and group exercise in England.

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Team and other recreational sport

  • Does my sport/activity need approval from government before we can return?

    Some team sports wanting to return to play are required to submit their guidance to government for review, but not all.

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  • Can people get closer than 2m for non-professional sport and exercise purposes?

    The government guidance sets the overarching framework from which team sports will need to work. Each sport will then have their specific guidance cleared through Public Health England (PHE)/the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

    People will only be able to get closer than 2m for competitive purposes subject to cleared guidance for the respective sport.

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  • What's the earliest date grassroots sport could come back/how long will it take for the government to approve sports' action plans?

    Cricket was approved to resume from 11 July. Other team sports can resume when their guidance has been finalised and approved by PHE and the HSE and the sports then declare themselves ready to go.

  • Can supporters turn up to a grassroots match?

    Yes, and it will be up to venues to determine how many spectators are permitted while still ensuring everyone can remain socially distanced.

    Spectators must not be in groups of more than six from different households within the wider space, as per public health guidance.

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  • Can teams travel together in a minibus to away matches?

    If they cannot drive individually, walk or cycle, then yes, but only if they can do so in a way that's Covid-secure, i.e. they must consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle – this may mean using more than one coach or minibus, for example.

  • What about parkruns/triathlons?

    Participation events/competitions such as parkruns and triathlons will be able to take place as long as the events/venues are Covid-secure and operate within government guidance.

  • What are the changing room rules?

    Where possible, players must arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities when available.

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