The UK government has now confirmed that amateur sports clubs will continue to use red diesel, and that all forms of activity can be carried out without restrictions related to the coronavirus on the number of people who can participate. According to the government roadmap, sports facilities, such as soccer and cricket fields, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor swimming pools, golf courses and sailing clubs, can now safely reopen, placing the nation on the path to better physical and mental health. The government has also announced another £300 million intended to support major spectator sports as a result of losses during the pandemic. It's brilliant to see grassroots sports returning today and, in particular, netball players across the country preparing to hit the courts again.
There are now no restrictions on the number of people who can participate in sports and recreational activities, whether indoors or outdoors. This fund applies primarily to hospitality businesses, however, in exceptional cases, up to £1 million of equivalent funding will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or purchase a sports field at risk of loss to the community. Formally organized outdoor sports, for adults and under 18, can also resume and will not be subject to meeting limits, but must comply with guidelines issued by national government bodies. Exercise classes, walking groups, team sports (following approved guidance), other organized sports (e.g. cricket) can all take place without any restrictions on numbers.
In addition, earlier government guidelines were issued on Tuesday, September 22, with some aspects affecting physical activity and sports taking effect from Thursday, September 24. Sports that were previously conducted as modified versions, such as combat and close contact sport, can now resume full contact training and competition. The pilot events will provide an opportunity to stress test the government's “Stage 5” guidance on returning fans to elite sporting events. Finally, there are steps everyone can take to help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading respiratory infections, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Think about how you can protect yourself and your family, and make safer choices when participating in outdoor sports.