The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, announced on Thursday (9 July) that:
- indoor gyms, leisure facilities and swimming pools will be able to reopen from 25 July
- outdoor pools and cricket can begin this coming weekend
- the return of team sports will be facilitated by the relevant national governing body having their own sport-specific guidance approved by government.
Nigel Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Yorkshire Sport Foundation, welcomed the news.
“It’s great to see we have a clear direction now for the opening of swimming pools, gyms and indoor sports facilities.
“It will mean that soon, tens of thousands of people across our area can get back to enjoying being active and playing sport in ways they enjoyed previously. In doing so improving their all-round health and well-being.
“Facility providers and sports governing bodies will continue to work on their plans to ensure everyone’s experience will be safe and enjoyable.
“Not everything will be open at once and not everything will be done in the same way and I’m sure everyone will be patient and adapt as needed.
“Alongside enjoying the outdoors through walking, cycling and play there will be more and more ways people can be active but we’re aware not everyone has the same opportunities.
“We need to keep working hard so to ensure being active is easy and enjoyable for everyone.”
People can go outside more than once a day for exercise alone or with their household, with up to five people from outside their household providing they observe social distancing, or with their and one other household indoors or outdoors, providing members of different households follow social distancing guidelines.
Many facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities can reopen, if those responsible for them feel ready to do so and if they can do so safely. This includes basketball and tennis courts, playing spaces like golf courses (public and private), playing fields, watersports, outdoor gyms and playgrounds.
From Saturday 11 July outdoor pools can reopen, while from Saturday 25 July indoor facilities such as gyms, leisure centres and pools will also be allowed to reopen, 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.