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COVID-19 Licensing Issues: New and updated Guidance to support the latest lockdown relaxations in England Published Date: 01/06/2020

Groups of up to six people from different households will be able to exercise outside as long as they remain at least two metres apart. Gatherings of more than six people from different households are still not permitted.

This means that people who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions, although anything involving physical contact is not allowed. It will also allow parents to accompany their children to coaching sessions carried out on a one to one basis or in small groups.

The guidance will reiterate that people should wash their hands frequently and keep equipment sharing to a minimum. Outdoor gyms, playgrounds and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools will remain closed.

It follows rules on exercise being initially relaxed from 14 May, to allow people greater access to local, outdoor physical activity. This allowed the public to go outside for unlimited exercise, alone or with their household, or one other person while adhering to social distancing rules. It also permitted outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts to reopen, with strict safety measures in place.

On 28 May the Prime Minister announced that groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from 1 June, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces, provided social distancing guidelines are followed.

The Government says the changes are part of a carefully-designed package to ease the burdens of lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate, the average number of secondary infections produced by 1 infected person, down.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

'The coronavirus outbreak has demonstrated to so many of us how important exercise and fitness is, both for our physical and mental wellbeing, and I am hopeful that people will continue to make time for it as life gradually returns to normal.

'This next step will allow more of us to exercise with more people from outside our households providing social distancing is maintained.

'We are working hard to get grassroots sport back up and running safely too, so that people can reunite with their own football, rugby or cricket teammates and get back on their pitches, fields or athletic tracks. But we will only do this when it is safe and appropriate to do so, based upon scientific advice.'

This guidance will be for people in England. When visiting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the advice of the devolved administrations applys.

Guidance links:


Restrictions ease for the ‘extremely vulnerable’

The Communities Secretary has confirmed that extremely vulnerable people who have been “shielding” in England can now safely spend time outside with members of their household, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

‘Those shielding from coronavirus have made huge sacrifices over recent months to protect both themselves and the NHS – they deserve our thanks and our support for their efforts.

‘Incidence rates of coronavirus are now significantly lower than before these measures were put in place. That’s why we are focused on finding the right balance between continuing to protect those at the greatest clinical risk, whilst easing restrictions on their daily lives to make the difficult situation more bearable – particularly enabling the contact with loved ones they and we all seek.

‘We will now be providing regular updates to the shielded to guide them through the next phase and we hope, to better and less restrictive times. In the meantime we will continue to provide the support that the shielded in our communities need.’

People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to take additional action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with the virus.  Current advice is to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum (for instance once per day).

This is called ‘shielding’ and the advice is now updated:

  1. If you wish to spend time outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.
  2. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time).
  3. You should stay alert when leaving home: washing your hands regularly, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size.
  4. You should not attend any gatherings, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.
  5. You should strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your sense of taste or smell).

The Government is currently advising people to shield until 30 June 2020 and is regularly monitoring this position.

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19