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.

Guidance announced on Monday 23 November, to come into effect from Wednesday 2 December:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Monday 23 November that England will return to a tiered system of covid-19 restrictions at the end of the national lockdown on Wednesday 2 December.

We will update this page further once it is clear which tier London will be placed into.

The Prime Minister confirmed that in his new Winter Plan organised sport and physical activity will return under all tiers, though there is expected to be specific guidance for contact activities.

Gyms and leisure facilities will be permitted to reopen across the country. Organised activity for elite athletes, U18s and disabled people can also take place across every tier.

These new rules will be debated and voted on by MPs and, if approved, will come into effect from 2 December.

The current guidance, around what is and isn’t allowed, remains in effect until then (see below).

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

Full information on the new national restrictions can be found here at

Tier 2 (High Risk) Restrictions: Effective 16 October 2020 to 5 November 2020

It was confirmed on Thursday 15 October that the whole of London will be placed under Tier 2 (High Risk) restrictions effective midnight on Friday 16 October 2020. These new restrictions have some impact on physical activity and sport.

Outdoor Sport and Activity

Team Sports that adhere to National Governing Body approved Return to Play plans, outdoor exercise classes, and outdoor licensed participation events can continue to happen with no restrictions on numbers of participants, provided they are delivered in line with covid-secure guidance.

The previous Rule of Six guidance remains in place for all informal outdoor sports.

Indoor Sport and Activity

Organised indoor sports and activities for under-18s, disabled people and for over-18s if explicitly for educational purposes can take place in any number in venues that operate covid-secure principles.

Organised individual and team sports must be played only by a single household or a single support bubble. Informal sports may only be played indoors by a single household or a single support bubble.

Exercise classes are permitted to continue provided that they can be delivered safely and that people are in separate groups of up to six people, or larger groups if they are from the same household or support bubble, and do not mix.

All indoor venues must ensure that they are adhering to appropriate covid-secure principles and the wider guidance set out on 22 September 2020.

In London and need support? Contact us today.

The latest publish health guidance from Public Health England

This is the commitment we have made to our stakeholders and to the wider physical activity sector in London

An update for the national sport sector from Sport England

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

The covid-19 outbreak is having an unprecedented impact on people, organisations and businesses across London and throughout the whole of the nation.

We know that many of our partners and stakeholders are actively responding to developments on a daily basis. We want to reassure everyone working in physical activity and sport in London that we remain dedicated to the work that is being done every day to support Londoners in all parts of the capital.

Firstly, as an employer, London Sport is carefully monitoring and following government and Public Health England guidance and advice around the covid-19 outbreak. As a result, most London Sport staff members are working remotely, and we anticipate that this will continue for the foreseeable future. We remain on-hand to support you, and all of our staff are available to be contacted as normal.

The House of Sport remains open to staff of member organisations, but staffing levels have been reduced to a minimum to comply as fully as possible with guidance from government and Public Health England. External meetings at House of Sport have been cancelled until further notice. Should that situation change, we commit to updating all our partners immediately. We have also taken the difficult decision to postpone all London Sport events for the time being while we consider the most appropriate ways to bring people in the sector together.

This is a fast-moving situation, and we recognise that there will be some medium-term impacts on our work and the work of others throughout physical activity and sport. We promise to keep all of our partners updated with our plans throughout the coming weeks. Meanwhile, we have committed to a range of Funding Principles set out by London Funders, pledging to continue our support to the clubs and projects that we fund.

Most importantly, we remain as committed as ever to our strategy and to the importance of physical activity and sport in the lives of Londoners. We will do everything in our power to 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.

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


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

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, 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

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

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