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Covid-19: Update from London Sport

This page will be updated with new statements or information from London Sport on the covid-19 outbreak and any impacts on our work.

Covid-19 Update: 13 December, 2021

Due to the increasing rates of Omicron variant, the Government has announced plans to move England into ‘Plan B’ of its Covid-19 Autumn and Winter Plan.

From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be required in most public indoor spaces, except when completing exercise, eating or drinking. Face coverings will not be required in hospitality settings.

It is advised that, from Monday 13 December, people who are able to, work from home.

From Wednesday 15 December, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will be needed to gain entry into settings with large crowds, including indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 attendees and any event with more than 10,000 people.

Attendees of these events will need to demonstrate evidence of two vaccinations or proof of a negative lateral flow test.

It is expected that these measures will be voted on in Parliament on Tuesday 14 December.

Useful links for further information

View our page with Return to Play guidance from National Governing Bodies here

Read Sport England’s Frequently Asked Questions here.

A summary of the Government guidelines is available here.

Full information on the current restrictions can be found here at www.gov.uk

In London and need support? Contact us today.

The latest publish health guidance from Public Health England

An update for the national sport sector from Sport England

A summary of the sport-specific guidance published by NGBs.

The Mayor of London’s Community Sport Team created a toolkit following a socially-distanced sport pilot

The impacts of the covid-19 pandemic have had a major impact on London’s people, organisations and businesses and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Whatever stage our partners and stakeholders are in, in terms of dealing with, or recovering from, those impacts, we remain dedicated to supporting them in any way we can.

London Sport continues to be fully committed to supporting everyone working in the physical activity and sport sector in London to reduce levels of inactivity across the capital.

As per government guidance, London Sport staff are working from home.

House of Sport remains home for those who need it and, as ever, is fully compliant with the guidance provided by the Government to ensure we provide a safe space to work. More details around joining House of Sport are here.

We recognise this situation will continue to evolve over the coming weeks and months and will continue to update partner and stakeholders with any updates to our plans. London Sport and our staff remain as committed as ever to our LDN Moving strategy and the importance of physical activity and sport in the lives of Londoners.

We will continue to champion and make the case for physical activity and sport, both for its ability to support life in our great city now, and for the important role it will play in the months that follow.

Staff are available to discuss our plans, and the steps we are taking throughout this period. Please contact us on [email protected], or if you are one of our funded clubs or projects, [email protected].


Roadmap out of national lockdown:
Step 4 effective from 19 July

For sport and physical activity in London, this means:

  • There are no restrictions on how many people can take part in sport and physical activity, indoors and outdoors.
  • All forms of physical activity and sport can take place without set restrictions. We strongly advise you to refer to your national governing body’s (NGB’s) guidance where relevant
  • All sports facilities can open, including support/additional facilities. There are no indoor capacity limits, however, venues may wish to put in place some restrictions and guidance for enclosed areas.
  • Organised sport participation events such as (but not limited to) races, rides and organised walks can take place outdoors with no capacity caps for participants or spectators.
  • Government guidance for sport and physical activity will provide advice on how to reduce transmission when you’re exercising.

Previous Guidance: Roadmap out of National Lockdown:
Step 3 effective from 17 May

A further easing of lockdown restrictions (Step 3 of the government’s roadmap) has been confirmed for Monday 17 May in England with indoor sport for adults now allowed for the first time in 2021.

Full details of the changes are outlined below.

Organised indoor sports

Organised indoor adult and children sport and physical activity can return (including exercises classes) subject to sport-specific guidance.

For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there’s no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities. 

Other indoor gatherings remain restricted to six people (the ‘rule of six’) or two households.

Organised outdoor sports

Organised outdoor sport and physical activity can take place in any numbers, subject to sport-specific guidance.

Organised sport and physical activity includes: group activities (e.g. exercises classes, walking groups etc), team sports (following approved guidance), other organised sports (e.g. tennis, golf etc), organised sport participation events (e.g. running and cycling events) and organised contact sports (following approved guidance).

Up to 30 people can meet outdoors.


All sports facilities can open. This includes facilities which can be used for sport but are primarily used for leisure (such as trampoline parks, bowling alleys and ice rinks) or which provide physical activity which is not a recognised sport (such as airsoft venues).

Changing rooms can open, but participants should be encouraged to avoid or minimise use where possible.

Further guidance on facilities is available on the government’s website.  

These restrictions will remain in place until Step 4 of the government’s roadmap which will be no earlier than June 21.

Previous Guidance: Roadmap out of National Lockdown:
Step 2 effective from 12 April

On Monday 5 April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the government’s roadmap for exiting lockdown was on track and that the next raft of changes can take place from Monday 12 April.

The changes for the sport and physical activity sector in London is summarised below while the guidance on outdoor activity etc remains as it was for Step 1b (which began on 29 March):

Organised outdoor sports

Outdoor facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, and swimming pools, can be used by people in line with the wider social contact limits (rule of 6 or two households).

Formally organised outdoor sports – for adults and under 18s – can also restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies.

Organised outdoor sport and activity includes organisation outdoor group activities (e.g. outdoor exercise classes, group cycle rides, walking groups etc.), outdoor team sports (including adapted versions for ‘higher risk’ team sports), other organised outdoor sports (such as, but not limited to, tennis, golf, horse riding, water sports), organised sport participation events (road races, running and cycling events, triathlons etc.).


Spectators are not allowed at any grassroot sport and physical activity sessions or events. This does not apply to carers for disabled people, or adults needed to supervise under-18s in a safeguarding role. Where it‘s necessary for them to be present,  supervising adults should not mix with others from outside their household or support bubble.

Informal sport and physical activity

Informal sport and physical activity is not covered by any exemptions, and will have to follow the legal gathering limits for outdoors: the ‘rule of six’ or two households.

Activity for disabled people

Disabled people can take part in organised outdoor and indoor sport without being subject to social contact limits.   

Indoor Facilities

indoor leisure and sports facilities (including gyms and swimming pools) will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble.

Indoor facilities includes, but is not limited to, gym and leisure centres, indoor sports courts and pitches, swimming pools, fitness studios and multi-sport facilities (such as climbing walls, driving ranges, archery venues, indoor riding centres, and indoor skate parks).

Children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance. Organised indoor children’s sport and physical activity must be formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follow sport-specific guidance where appropriate.

Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five) can restart indoors.

Previous Guidance: Roadmap out of National Lockdown: Step 1b effective from 29 March

Indoor facilities should remain closed unless providing organised sport for: educational purposes, as part of wraparound childcare, disabled people or elite sport.

Indoor facilities including changing rooms cannot open, although toilet facilities can be accessed. Indoor facilities can be used for through access (following Covid guidelines). Wherever possible, people should come ready to play sports and exercise.  

Previous Guidance: Roadmap out of National Lockdown: Step 1 effective from 8 March

In the House of Commons on Monday 22 February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the roadmap for England to move out of the national lockdown which began at the beginning of January.

Following government analysis of current data, schools will reopen on 8 March at which point under-18 sport can take place at school as part of educational provision, or as part of wraparound care, but should not otherwise take place.

Stay at Home restrictions continue so that outdoor exercise outdoors should still be with a person’s own household, support or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household.

People can continue to leave home to exercise alone, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and should not involve travel outside of a person’s local area. Social distancing should be practised at all times.

Indoor Leisure and Organised Indoor Physical Activity and Sport

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will be required to close.

Outdoor Physical Activity and Sport

Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is permitted to continue under the latest guidance.

People may continue to exercise alone, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and should not involve travel outside of your local area. People should maintain social distancing.

U18s and Disabled People

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people will be permitted, but the exemption for U18s no longer applies.

Elite Sport

Elite sport may continue and facilities may remain open for elite sports person to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities).

These guidelines can be found in government’s full guidance on the new National Lockdown – Stay at Home restrictions.

Effective 4 January 2021

England’s third national lockdown came into effect on Monday 4 January.

The national restrictions mean all indoor and outdoor sports facilities, except for those in use for the purposes of training and competition for elite sport, are required to close. This includes outdoor gyms and swimming pools, and a range of other facilities including golf courses, archery ranges etc.

The exemptions for organised sport for U18s have ceased, and this is also now no longer permitted

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people remains allowed under the new guidance

People can continue to leave home for outdoor exercise alone, with their household or support bubble, or with one other person. As with the previous March lockdown (and different to changes made in the summer and in November), this should be a maximum of once per day and should not involve travel outside of a person’s local area

Previous Guidance: Effective 5 November 2020

New national restrictions to tackle the spread of covid-19 announced on Saturday 31 October and came into effect at 00.01 on Thursday 5 November across the whole of the country.

From 5 November 2020

  • Unlimited outdoor exercise with people you live with, with your support bubble, or when on your own with one person from another household will be permitted. Children under school age and people dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities who are accompanied by parents or carers, will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outdoors
  • All indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, including leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities, swimming pools, golf courses, driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks will be required to close

Previous Guidance: Effective 24 September 2020

Earlier government guidance was issued on Tuesday 22 September, with some aspects impacting physical activity and sport taking effect from Thursday 24 September.

New Government Guidance – Indoor Sport

Effective Thursday 24 September, the following will apply to organised indoor sports:

  • Indoor organised sport for over 18s will no longer be exempt from the “rule of six”
  • Organised indoor sports for under 18s and for disabled people are both exempt from this change
  • The operation of indoor facilities will continue to be based on principals of safe operation

Outdoor Sports and Physical Activity Events

  • Sports that have confirmed return-to-play protocols may continue in line with agreed safety and security measures
  • Formally organised outdoor sports and physical activity events that are adherent to agreed covid-19 secure plans can also continue

Gyms and Fitness Classes

  • Gyms and indoor fitness classes are permitted to continue for groups of over 6 people, but there should be no interaction between individual groups of six
  • People should not attend these venues socially in groups of more than six, in line with wider government guidance

General Guidance for Facilities and Venues

  • Hospitality facilities within community sport facilities and venues will be subject to enhanced guidance around the selling of food and drink.
  • This includes restrictions on opening hours, display of NHS QR code posters to support contact tracing, wearing of face coverings for staff and customers, and enforcement of table service
  • From 28 September, all businesses and organisations managing premises will be subject to stricter rules and enforcement to ensure their facilities are covid secure. This includes making a wider range of businesses subject to Covid-19 Secure requirements in law which can carry fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches
  • Clubhouse bars and restaurants have been permitted to open since July, in acccordance with detailed guidance available here
  • Full information on changes in guidance for businesses and organisations can be found here

Previous Guidance: Effective 11 and 25 July 2020

From 11 July 2020

  • Outdoor swimming pools can re-open. This replaces previous guidance that required outdoor swimming pools to remain closed
  • Cricket will be permitted to resume, following the adoption of the ECB’s plans and guidance for the game’s safe return

From 25 July 2020

  • Indoor facilities, including gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will be able to reopen, so long as operators follow government guidance
  • Any indoor facility planning to reopen will need to ensure preparations are complete to allow for safe operation. Sport England and ukactive have both produced guidance and resources to support safe return to play
  • Government have also issued detailed guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities, available from www.gov.uk

Team Sports

  • Team sports will be able to recommence following the publication of government-approved sport-specific action plans from the relevant National Governing Body
  • General advice around the resumption of recreational team sport is available from www.gov.uk, but any return to play will first require the approval of NGB action plans

Previous Guidance: Effective 04 July 2020

Travelling for Physical Activity

  • Where possible, people should use the nearest appropriate local venues to reduce pressure on transport infrastructure
  • Travel to outdoor open spaces is permitted irrespective of distance
  • Travel should be restricted to people within your own household, unless involving social distancing – for example, by cycling
  • All other options should be considered before using public transport


  • Facility managers should make decisions on whether or not to hire out equipment – any hiring of equipment or use of shared equipment should involve sensible precautions and clearning in between users
  • It is recommended that the sharing of equipment is limited, and that use of any shared equipment should be followed by practising of strict hand hygiene

Further Detailed Guidance

  • Full guidance including further detail on areas including personal training and coaches, use of changing rooms and toilets, and access for children is available at gov.uk

Sport England Return to Play resources

On 26 June 2020, Sport England produced new Return to Play resources to support the sector’s readiness and preparations for wider resumption. The guidance includes:

  • Inclusion and Accessibility guidelines
  • Information on legal risks and Duty of Care responsibilities associated with resumption of physical activity
  • Continuing research into public attitudes to sport and exercise related to covid-19

The full guidance is available at www.sportengland.org/return-play

Previous changes to government guidance on physical activity and sport were announced on 29 May 2020, and took effect from 01 June 2020 across England:

  • People can now go outside more than once a day for exercise in groups of up to six people
  • People from different households should continue to observe social distancing by keeping two metres apart
  • Anyone planning to take part in sport or exercise as part of a small group should familiarise themselves with all government guidance around social distancing and hygiene
  • All previous guidelines around the reopening of facilities and the resumption of outdoor sport and physical activity remain the same

Earlier changes to government guidance on physical activity and sport were announced on 10 May 2020, and took effect from 13 May 2020 across England:

  • Outdoor sport and physical activity facilities can reopen so long as those repsonsible for them feel able to do so, can do so safely, and operate in line with public health guidance
  • Outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor swimming pools must remain closed