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, especially where your site is providing organised sports activities.

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 may reopen from the 12 April.
  • Indoor facilities such as changing rooms may be used from the 12 April, but people should be encouraged to shower and change at home if possible.
  • Toilet facilities can remain open for visitors.
  • People using outdoor sports facilities 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.
  • 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 to attend sporting events taking place on private land, other than adults needed to supervise children or to provide care or assistance to a person with disabilities participating in an organised sporting event or activity. They should maintain social distance and not mix with other households.
  • This does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space, such as a park, in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.
  • However, sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed events), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (e.g. a major marathon) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May).

Indoor sport facilities can open to the public from 12 April

  • From 12 April, indoor sport facilities can open to the public. This applies to most indoor sport and physical activity facilities, including gyms and leisure centres, sport courts and pitches, dance studios and fitness studios, climbing walls and climbing wall centres, multi-sport facilities (including driving ranges, archery venues and indoor riding centres) and swimming pools.
  • Indoor skating rinks and trampoline parks must remain closed.
  • Guests using your facility must adhere to the rules on social contact. People should not mix with others they do not live with (or share a relevant bubble with) indoors unless an exemption applies.
  • Changing rooms can open but their use should be minimised. People should be encouraged to shower and change at home if possible.
  • Indoor sport facilities can only be used for individual activity or for activities by people from the same household (or support/childcare bubble). Personal training and coaching can take place either 1:1 or within households/bubbles. Group activities and exercise classes are not otherwise permitted for adults.
  • All children can take part in indoor childcare and supervised activities, including sport and physical activity (such as community sport clubs).

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.

  • Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, including consideration of the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  • Ensure self-isolation requirements are complied with. It is a criminal offence to allow an employee who you know is required to self-isolate to come to your premises to work. Ensure that all staff know that they must inform you as soon as they know that they are required to self-isolate, including the start and end dates of their self-isolation period. This includes those who have received a positive Covid-19 test result or who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Failure to do so could result in a fine starting from £1,000.
  • Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating. Employers must not require someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. Any employer asking a worker to break self-isolation to work is committing an offence.
  • People are not required to wear face coverings while taking part in sport and physical activity. All forms of face coverings may restrict breathing efficiency and should not be used during exercise except on specific advice from a physician.
  • Visitors and staff are not required to wear face coverings in sport facilities; however, they should be encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public areas when not engaging in sport or physical activity.
  • However, face coverings may be required in specific areas. If your facility contains retail or hospitality areas (such as a shop, cafe, or bar), face coverings must be worn by visitors and staff in public-facing roles. If this applies to your facility, you are required to remind customers to wear face coverings where they are required (for example, displaying notices outside and inside a cafe area).
  • You must take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers, visitors, and staff for 21 days. This is a legal requirement. Some exemptions apply. Check 'Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace' for details.
    • Display the official NHS QR code poster. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.
    • Ask every customer or visitor aged 16 and over to check in to your venue or provide their contact details.
    • Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect information from your customers and visitors who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app. You must keep this data for 21 days and provide it to NHS Test and Trace if it is requested.
  • Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces and equipment, especially those that are being touched frequently.
  • Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow. Enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.
  • Provide adequate ventilation. This means supplying fresh air to enclosed space where people are present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  • Consider the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19 for yourself and others. The government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).


It's important that you continue to put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including maintaining social distancing, frequent cleaning, good hygiene, and adequate ventilation, even if your workers have:

  • received a recent negative test result
  • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)

Where you are providing testing on site, you should ensure that workplace testing is carried out in a safe manner and in an appropriate setting where control measures are in place to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the testing process.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a free NHS test.