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What the new national lockdown means for sport and physical activity in England

The government has announced a range of new restrictions designed to combat the steep rise in coronavirus (Covid-19) infections.

4th January 2021

On Monday 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown to counter the steep rise in coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in England.

The new restrictions become law on Wednesday 6 January, but people should follow them as of now.

More information about what is and isn't allowed is available on the government’s website.

The new regulations have implications for sport and physical activity, and we’re working closely with the government to provide comprehensive guidance to the sector.

We’ll update our website with as much detail as possible as soon as we can, but in the meantime, we can confirm the following applies: 

  • People should minimise time spent outside their home. It’s against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of an individual’s household or support bubble.
  • People can only leave their home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure, and can do so with one person from outside their household.
  • This should be limited to once per day, and individuals should not travel outside their local area.
  • When around other people, individuals should stay two metres apart from anyone not in their household - meaning the people they live with - or their support bubble.
  • Where this isn’t possible, they should stay one metre apart with extra precautions (such as wearing a face covering).
  • Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed.
  • Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.
  • Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Tim Hollingsworth, our chief executive, said: "We all understand the incredibly difficult decisions that the government is having to make to keep people and communities safe and why they are necessary at this time.

"These latest restrictions will once again test the resilience of everyone involved in delivering sport and physical activity and will make keeping active a real challenge for people across the country.  

"Sport England’s role in seeking to address this remains critical. We know that one of the best things people can do right now for their physical and mental health is to get up and get moving, and we've got a huge number of resources and campaigns to help them to do so which we will be promoting widely as we move through this lockdown.

"We will also continue to work with the sector to offer vital financial support, including through our existing open funds which organisations can now apply for and our administration of the government’s Winter Sport Survival Package and National Leisure Recovery Fund, so that we can understand the challenges faced and emerge from this period in as strong a position as possible."

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