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School and organised outdoor sport and physical activity to return next month

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Posted 24th February 2021

Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement which includes plans for restarting grassroots sport and physical activity.

The Prime Minister confirmed children and young people will be able to take part in sport and activity at school as part of educational provision and wraparound care from 8 March, while from 29 March outdoor grassroots sport for adults and children will restart, subject to guidance.

Further details about the timeline for the reopening of gyms and leisure facilities, and the restarting of indoor sports, are here

Read about guidance for the activity sector on our Return to Play page and find out here about getting active.

Roadmap out of lockdown (edited with a focus on sport and physical activity) 

A four-step roadmap lifts restrictions, with five weeks between each step. All dates subject to change. 

The decision will be based on four tests: the vaccine deployment, evidence on reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; infection rates; and new Variants of Concern. 

Step 1a – March 8.  

  • Children and students return safely to face-to-face education  
  • Childcare and children’s supervised activities can resume 
  • People can leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household, support bubble or one other person 

Step 1b – March 29.  

  • The ‘stay at home’ rule ends.  
  • People should continue to work from home where they can   
  • Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed 
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also return 
  • Outdoor swimming pools and lidos plus open water venues will be allowed to open for both children and adults and for all activity.

Step 2 – 12 April  

  • Opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises, libraries and community centres.  
  • Indoor leisure facilities for people on their own or in household groups  
  • Outdoor attractions reopen.  
  • Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets without shared indoor facilities reopen. 
  • Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors with table service, will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks 
  • Indoor pools can reopen for individual use or within household groups, such as lane swimming.  
  • Indoor swimming activity for under 18s can also restart at this step, including learn to swim lessons and club sessions.  

Step 3 – 17 May 

  • Most legal restrictions on meeting up to 30 people outdoors will be lifted  
  • Social distancing, may be updated, ‘rule of 6’ or 2 households meeting indoors may be increased. 
  • Most businesses will be able to reopen.  
  • Indoor entertainment and accommodation venues to reopen including indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.  
  • Indoor sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number)  
  • Outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number)  
  • Outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).  
  • Organised indoor adult sport. 

Step 4 – 21 June 

  • Legal limits to be lifted on social contact, social distancing (1 metre plus, face coverings), working from home and other measures. 
  • Reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, ease restrictions on large events and performances.  


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