1. Sports facility closure/ non-closure
Indoor Gyms, fitness and dance studios and indoor sports facilities in an area entering Local COVID-19 Alert Level Tier 1 (Medium) or Tier 2 (High) are not required to close. Sport activities can continue when formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, NGB, company or charity and in line with government legislation, and after completing an appropriate risk assessment.
Indoor Gyms, fitness and dance studios and indoor sports facilities in an area entering Alert Level 3 (Very High) of the Local COVID-19 Alert Levels will not be automatically required to close by law but a decision will be made between the local authority and central government as to whether these facilities may remain open or not. I.e., closure/ non-closure at Tier 3 can vary between different local authorities.
2. Martial art training exemption
Martial arts are classified as individual sports/ exercise classes and not indoor team sports. While indoor team sports [outside of universities, see below*] may be restricted to six participants, martial arts classes that are following social distancing guidelines can take place with more than six people present, provided groups of more than six do not mix. If groups of six are likely to mix, these indoor activities must not go ahead.
Training must be adapted [socially distanced] according to the legislation and, at this time, no pad work should go ahead in any combat sport, as per specific Sport England guidance.
3. University sport exemption
Further to the exemption for martial arts training to take place in groups larger than six, most sport in educational settings is covered by the exemption for sport for the purpose of education, such as curriculum sport or playing for college/university teams [includes both indoor individual and team sports]. This means the limit on numbers for indoor team sport doesn’t apply, even if the pupils are over 18, or playing alongside under-18s, provided the sport is for the purpose of education. This applies to all coronavirus alert levels.
4. Alert levels
From 14th October 2020 every part of England is in one of three Covid-19 Alert Levels: Tier 1 (medium), Tier 2 (high) and Tier 3 (very high). Here’s a summary of what this mean for sport and physical activity:
Tier 1 (medium)
National restrictions, introduced from 24 September, continue to apply.
Organised individual and team sports that have been through return to play protocols can continue, while adhering to the ‘rule of six’, which means playing in a group of no more than six people.
There are exemptions to this: under-18s, disabled people and, if for educational purposes, over-18s, can play in any number.
Other indoor activity, such as exercise classes [including martial arts classes], can continue in larger numbers based on the size of the venue, provided that people are in separate groups of up to six people, or larger groups if they’re from the same household or support bubble, which do not mix.
Gyms and leisure facilities can stay open, and the ‘rule of six’ applies to informal activity.
National governing body-approved organised team sport, exercise classes and outdoor licensed physical activity and sport participation events can happen in any number provided they’re in line with Covid-secure guidance.
The ‘rule of six’ applies to informal sport.
Tier 2 (high)
Organised individual and team sport must be played by a single household or support bubble.
Exemptions laid out in Tier 1 on specific groups of people who can play in larger numbers continue to apply.
Exercise classes [including martial arts classes] can also continue as per the rules under Tier 1, while informal sport can only be played indoors by a single household or support bubble.
Gyms and leisure facilities can stay open.
There’s no change to the guidance for outdoor sport and physical activity – the Tier 1 rules still apply.
Tier 3 (very high)
Guidance under this tier is subject to change, depending on local and national government agreements.
Sport and physical activity can be played as per the guidance under Tier 2.
Gyms and leisure facilities may have to close depending on local approaches to business closures.
Sport and physical activity can be played as per the guidance under Tier 1.
In England and at all three levels you may continue run socially distanced sessions with more than 6 participants following your existing return to sport plan/ risk assessment. Inter-university sport, and intramural indoor sport, can still go ahead in all areas of England.