What sport is permitted under ‘unlimited exercise’ rules? Golf, tennis allowed, playgrounds banned


Golf, tennis and angling will all be permitted from Wednesday – but outdoor gyms and playgrounds will still be off-limits.

The Government’s coronavirus recovery strategy said that from May 13, people will be allowed to exercise “as many times each day as they wish” with one other person from outside their household.

People will also be allowed to drive to parks and other open spaces “irrespective” of how far away they are.

Team sports such as football, where social distancing would not be possible, will only be allowed with members of your household. And people may not be able to play a sport like football in a public place, as they may risk running into too-close contact with other people who aren’t playing, Dominic Raab suggested on Monday.

Playgrounds, outdoor gyms and “ticketed outdoor leisure venues” – where there is a higher risk of close contact – also remain off-limits under step one of the plans.

On Monday, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden, said sport which takes place in the “in the least risky outdoor environments” could start again.

Some sports which require access to currently-closed venues will be allowed. Golf can go ahead, if people play alone or in a two-ball with another member of their household, at courses that can prove they can follow the return-to-golf protocols laid out by the R&A.

People can play tennis and basketball with people they live with, while fishing will also be allowed.

The reopening of leisure facilities like gyms and swimming pools may only be “fully possible significantly later” depending on the reduction in infections, document added.

But it warned that if people break the rules and begin to mix in groups in parks, the infection rate could increase and trigger the need for further restrictions.

Under the guidelines, those exercising outdoors must comply with the two-metre social distancing rule when around people they do not live with. On Monday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said people could also meet a single member of another household for a walk or to sit down in a park. It would be permitted to meet one person from another household in the morning, and another in the afternoon, he said.

What can I do from Wednesday, May 13 that I couldn’t do before?

There will be a limited number of things you can do from Wednesday that you cannot do now:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
  • go to a garden centre

As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home

People will be allowed to drive to outdoor open spaces as “this does not involve contact with people outside your household”, the Government said. But the rules remain different in Scotland and Wales – so visitors from England will not be able to drive to these countries and break the rules in force there.

According to advice from the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage), the risk of infection outdoors is “significantly lower” than inside.

The strategy said: “These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date.

“The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.”





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