Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Operating sports clubs safely

The Government has confirmed that the roadmap for the further easing of COVID restrictions in England remains on track.

A checklist of measures to help protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus

These are the priority actions to help keep your business safe and legally compliant during coronavirus. It is your responsibility to keep up to date with developments, and you should also read and implement the full version of the guidance:

Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to consider the guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars, close contact (beauty) services or the visitor economy.

Outdoor sport facilities can open to the public from 29 March

  • This applies to all outdoor sport facilities, including outdoor gyms, swimming pools, courts, pitches, golf courses (including mini-golf), water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres and archery venues. Outdoor skating rinks and trampolining parks must remain closed.
  • Indoor facilities such as changing rooms should not be used, except by people with disabilities (or in emergency situations). Toilet facilities can remain open for visitors.
  • People using your facility for outdoor sport must adhere to the rules on social contact. People can meet outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households, for exercise or recreation. Where people are indoors (for example, walking through an indoor reception to get to an outdoor sport pitch), they must not loiter or gather with people from outside their household/support/childcare bubble.
  • Outdoor sport for adults and children can take place in larger numbers, where it is formally organised (for example, by a national governing body, business or charity) and follows COVID-secure guidance.
  • All children can take part in outdoor childcare and supervised activities, including sport and physical activity (such as community sport clubs).
  • Spectators are not permitted unless for specific purposes.

Currently indoor sport facilities must remain closed

Priority actions to take

The following key steps are a summary of the priority actions you should take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. As a business it is a legal requirement that you must undertake a risk assessment and put in place control measures to reduce the spread of the virus. You should share your risk assessment with the workforce. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  2. Develop an action plan for safe participation of organised sports, setting out the transmission risk of the relevant sport or activity, and demonstrating its mitigations, how it plans to operate, and any adaptations required. 
  3. You should ensure you and any relevant staff (such as managers or supervisors) are aware of the steps to take if there is a case or outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace.
  4. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces and equipment, especially those that are being touched frequently.
  5. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law, and in any indoor space.  Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique (with soap and water for 20 seconds), the need to increase handwashing frequency.  Provide sanitiser for use.
  6. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Participants should adhere to social distancing when not actively participating (e.g. during breaks in play, or when awaiting substitutions). Venues should also implement traffic-flow systems where possible and appropriate.
  7. Increase ventilation. Ensure a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the indoor facilities and increased wherever possible. You can do this through mechanical ventilation, and by opening doors and windows. You must also ensure that you stay within the capacity limit of your facility (100sqft per person) as this increases the effectiveness of your ventilation system.

    When permitted to open, particular attention should be given to areas where high-intensity exercise takes place.
  8. Support NHS Test and Trace; Many sport and leisure facilities are required to keep a record of all visitors, customers and staff on the premises including:
  • indoor sport facilities
  • gyms and leisure centres
  • clubs providing team sport activities
  • outdoor swimming pools and lidos
  • sport and massage therapists

You must

  • Ask every customer or visitor to provide their name and contact details.
  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day, and their contact details.
  • Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.
  • Display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option, as an alternative to providing their contact details. However, you must still have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who do not have access to a smartphone.
  • Ensure you manage this information in line with data protection regulations.

This is a legal requirement and failure to comply is punishable by fines. You should check the NHS Test and Trace guidance to see if this applies to you.

  1. If you are made aware of a worker needing to self-isolate, you must ensure that they do not come to the workplace. It is against the law for you to knowingly require or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to the workplace. This includes people with a positive test, people who are advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, and people required to self-isolate in relation to travel.
  2. All players, officials, volunteers and spectators must undergo a self- assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in sport if they, or someone they live with, has symptoms of COVID -19 currently recognised as any of the following:
  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste

Should an individual have demonstrated any such symptoms, they must follow NHS and PHE guidance on self-isolation.