England’s four-stage lockdown-easing plan for sport explained


rime Minister Boris Johnson has set out his roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions imposed in England to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Here is a look at how grassroots sport and attendance at live events will be reintroduced.

Step 1 – March 8, and March 29 at the earliest.

From March 8, under-18s can take part in sport at school as part of the reopening of educational settings from that date, or as part of wraparound care.

From March 29, the second part of step one, outdoor sports facilities can reopen. These can be used by groups of up to six people, with those from different bubbles adhering to social distancing.

Organised adults and children’s outdoor sports can also return at this stage, and will not be subject to gatherings limits.

Step 2 – April 12 at the earliest

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms can reopen, but only to be used alone or as part of a household group.

Children will be able to attend any indoor activity, including sport, regardless of circumstances.

The roadmap also sets April as the date when pilot events will begin to test out how enhanced testing and other measures can allow for the safe return of spectators to events without the need for social distancing.

Step 3 – May 17 at the earliest

Crowds can return to sports venues. For larger outdoor seated venues this could mean as many as 10,000 people; for smaller outdoor venues it would be 4,000 maximum or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lowest; for indoor venues it would be 1,000 maximum or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lowest.

Organised indoor sports for adults could also resume.

Step 4 – June 21 at the earliest

Full capacity venues possible dependent on the success of pilot events. At that step, the intention is to “remove all legal limits on social contact”.

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