People will be able to exercise outside with up to five others from different households from Monday, provided that strict social distancing guidelines are followed
The updated public guidance is the latest phase of a return for outdoor sport and recreation.
Groups of up to six people from different households will be able to exercise outside as long as they remain at least two metres apart. Gatherings of more than six people from different households are still not permitted.
This means that people who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions, although anything involving physical contact is not allowed. It will also allow parents to accompany their children to coaching sessions carried out on a one to one basis or in small groups.
The guidance will reiterate that people should wash their hands frequently and keep equipment sharing to a minimum. Outdoor gyms, playgrounds and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools will remain closed.
It follows rules on exercise being initially relaxed from 14 May, to allow people greater access to local, outdoor physical activity. This allowed the public to go outside for unlimited exercise, alone or with their household, or one other person while adhering to social distancing rules. It also permitted outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts to reopen, with strict safety measures in place.
On 28 May the Prime Minister announced that groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from 1 June, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces, provided social distancing guidelines are followed.
The changes are part of a carefully-designed package to ease the burdens of lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate, the average number of secondary infections produced by 1 infected person, down.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
The coronavirus outbreak has demonstrated to so many of us how important exercise and fitness is, both for our physical and mental wellbeing, and I am hopeful that people will continue to make time for it as life gradually returns to normal.
This next step will allow more of us to exercise with more people from outside our households providing social distancing is maintained.
We are working hard to get grassroots sport back up and running safely too, so that people can reunite with their own football, rugby or cricket teammates and get back on their pitches, fields or athletic tracks. But we will only do this when it is safe and appropriate to do so, based upon scientific advice.
This guidance will be for people in England. When visiting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you must adhere to the advice of the devolved administrations at all times.
It is part of the government’s clear, phased approach to recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, as outlined in the Prime Minister’s roadmap.