Golf & football among grassroots sports to return in England from Monday

Golf course
Golfers have been scrambling for tee times in England this week

Outdoor sports including football, golf and tennis can resume for amateur players in England from Monday as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Other facilities such as cricket pitches, basketball courts and outdoor swimming pools are allowed to reopen.

A combination of improving weather and the vaccine rollout is set to boost people's motivation and ability to be more active, Sport England said.

Leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools can open from 12 April.

Venues such as gyms, tennis courts and golf courses have been closed across England since lockdown was announced on 4 January.

"Over the past year we have prioritised the importance of physical activity, permitting basic exercise at all times," said Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.

"However the reality is that activity levels have still dropped in lockdown. That's why outdoor grassroots sport reopening today is so important."

In horse racing, amateur jockeys will be able to return, having missed out on the Cheltenham Festival but in time for next week's Grand National meeting.

From 29 March

  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and outdoor swimming pools, can reopen. Formally organised outdoor sports - for adults and under-18s - can also restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits.

No earlier than 12 April

  • Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
  • All children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance. Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.

No earlier than 17 May

  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes.
  • Sports events indoors will be allowed up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is lower, while outdoor events will have a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
  • There will be a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

No earlier than 21 June

  • Remove all legal limits on social contact.
  • Reopen the remaining closed settings and enable large events above the capacity restrictions (from no earlier than 17 May entry).

Rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

In Scotland, outdoor non-contact sports like golf and tennis are currently permitted along with organised group exercise and outdoor mixing between four people from up to two households.

In Wales, under-18s have been allowed to take part in team sports since Saturday and up to six people from two different households can meet and exercise outdoors. On 22 April, ministers will consider whether to reopen gyms.

Golf and other outdoor sporting activities can resume in Northern Ireland from Thursday, although clubhouses and sports facilities must stay closed.

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