Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Providers of grassroots sport and sport facilities

Guidance for people who work in grassroots sport and sport facilities.

Applies to: England (see guidance for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)

This guide was updated on 1 December 2020.

What’s changed

Updated guidance covering new local restriction tiers information.

Local restriction tiers

The government has announced that the current national restrictions will be replaced on 2 December with a regionally-differentiated approach, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.

There are 3 tiers for local restrictions:

  • Tier 1: Medium alert
  • Tier 2: High alert
  • Tier 3: Very High alert

It is right to target the toughest measures only in areas where the virus is most prevalent and where we are seeing sharper increases in the rate of infection.

From (and including) 2 December, most businesses and venues will be allowed to open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

This guidance sets out the restrictions that certain businesses and venues in England are required to follow.

Find out which tier your business will be in.

Indoor and outdoor sport facilities such as gyms/leisure centres, courts and pitches can remain open across all alert levels, except indoor skating rinks which must close in tier 3 areas. However measures to control the infection rate may restrict the number of people who can gather, the activities that can take place, and the services that can be provided (such as food and drink sales).

You should ensure your facility operates in line with legal gathering limits. Outside specific exemptions and guidance for sporting activity (see below), the following limits apply and should be adhered to at all times:

  • In tier 1 areas: people can gather in groups of up to 6 (indoors and outdoors), or larger groups if from the same household/support bubble

  • In tier 2 areas: people can gather in groups of up to 6 (or larger groups if from the same household/support bubble) outdoors. Indoors people cannot mix with others from outside their household or support bubble

  • In tier 3 areas: people cannot mix with others from outside their household or support bubble indoors. Outdoors, people cannot mix with others from outside their household or support bubble in a private garden or most public outdoor venues. However people can meet in groups of up to 6 in public outdoor spaces, including outdoor sport grounds and facilities.

Retail areas within sport facilities can continue to operate at all levels.

Hospitality: there are restrictions on businesses and venues which will apply to some sport facilities, if they sell food and drinks:

  • In tier 1 and 2 areas: certain businesses are required to be closed between 11pm and 5am if they sell food or drinks. Although sport facilities such as gyms, leisure centres and sport clubs are not required to close, hospitality areas which sell food and drink (such as cafes and bars) must take their last orders of food and drink by 10pm and close at 11pm. This does not apply to automated dispensing machines such as vending or coffee machines.

  • In tier 1 and 2 areas: where a sport facility sells food and drink to consume on site, customers should be seated while eating and drinking. In premises which sell alcohol, customers must be seated when ordered, being served, and consuming, food and drink.

  • In Tier 2 areas: pubs and bars must close except where they are operating like a restaurant - serving substantial meals like a breakfast, lunch or evening meal. Alcohol can only be served as part of these substantial meals.

  • In Tier 3 areas: all hospitality areas (such as restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs) must close. They can still provide takeaway (except for sales of alcohol, which are not permitted), click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery services.

You should also be aware of the specific guidance for the types of sport and physical activity your facility provides.

In tier 1 areas: organised indoor team sport can only take place in groups of up to 6 people (or larger groups if all from the same household or support bubble). Other organised indoor sport, including indoor exercise classes, personal training and sport coaching, can continue to take place with larger numbers present, provided that participants are in separate groups of up to 6 people which do not mix with other groups. This includes contact combat sports, but contact between participants is limited to pad work only.

In tier 2 areas: organised indoor sport (including team and individual sport, personal training and exercise classes), can only take place where there is no mixing between households. This means that people from the same household or support bubble can take part in sport or physical activity together. Individuals or separate households (or support bubbles) can participate in a single indoor sport activity (such as an exercise class) if they can stay separate and distinct from those from other households, and avoid physical contact and proximity (whether deliberate or inadvertent). Contact combat sports are not permitted.

In tier 3 areas: people should not take part in any indoor sport or physical activity with people from outside their household. This includes indoor team and individual sports, training sessions and exercise classes. Gyms and sport facilities will remain open, but group activities are not permitted (unless the group consists of a single household or bubble). Contact combat sports are not permitted.

Participants should adhere to social distancing when not actively participating (e.g. during breaks in play, or when awaiting substitutions).

Organised outdoor sport is exempt from legal gathering limits across all levels, but modifications to high-risk activities should be made in tier 3 areas. This means that organised outdoor team sport and outdoor exercise classes, as well as outdoor licensed physical activity, can happen with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance. This includes personal training and sport coaching. Participants should adhere to social distancing when not actively participating (e.g. during breaks in play, or when awaiting substitutions).

In Tier 3 areas, sports which involve high-risk elements (such as prolonged face proximity) may have to be modified to be played safely. This will include changes to limit contact activity for some sports such as rugby, in both training and matches. Other sports which involve close contact between participants, such as other team sports, can continue with matches as normal, but teams should minimise physical contact between participants during training sessions. National governing bodies of the relevant sports will set out guidance on the modifications needed to allow training and matches in tier 3 areas.

Organised sport participation events such as races and organised walks can take place outdoors but must adhere to legal gathering limits and follow COVID-secure guidance (set out in guidance for safe provision of grassroots sport :

In tier 1 and 2 areas: organised sport participation events can take place outdoors, but participants must not gather or participate in groups of more than 6 people (unless from the same household or support bubble), and should follow social distancing guidelines.

In tier 3 areas: organised sport participation events can take place outdoors, but only if participants do not mix with people from outside their household or support bubble (except in some public outdoor places, including outdoor sports grounds and facilities, where people can meet in groups of up to 6).

‘Organised sport’ refers to sport which is formally organised by a national governing body, club, public body, qualified instructor, company or charity, and which follows the sport’s national governing body’s guidance. Informal or self-organised sport and physical activity is not exempt, and must adhere to legal gathering limits - both indoors and outdoors.

In tier 1 areas: this can only take place in groups of up to 6 people (or larger groups if from the same household or support bubble).

In tier 2 areas: this can take place in groups of up to 6 people (or larger groups from the same household or support bubble) outdoors, but only within households or support bubbles indoors.

In tier 3 areas: this can only take place within households or support bubbles indoors and outdoors (except in some public outdoor places including outdoor sport grounds and facilities, where people can meet in groups of up to 6).

There are exemptions to the limitations on organised indoor sport for people with disabilities, sport for educational purposes and supervised activities (including sport and physical activity) for under-18s, which can continue with any number of participants.

Social interaction before and after playing any sport should be extremely limited and only take place in line with legal gathering limits and other relevant restrictions.

Priority actions to take - what businesses need to do to protect staff and customers

Seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.

  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.

  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings indoors or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Face coverings are not required when exercising. Find out about other exemptions and all places where customers must wear face coverings must be worn.

  4. 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.

  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times. Indoor facilities must limit maximum occupancy by providing a minimum of 100 square feet per person.

  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. This is required by law. Some exemptions apply. Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.

  7. 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 self-isolating.

Five more things to be aware of if you run a sports facility, gym or leisure centre:

  • Check the local restriction tierl for your area, as this will affect which types of sport and physical activity can take place indoors, and other rules (such as for hospitality services) which may apply to your facility.
  • Engage with returning visiting instructors and volunteers. Work with instructors to understand the number of facilities they visit and set up a monitoring system. Consult with volunteers to understand their responsibilities and provide relevant training material to help them return to a facility or sport.
  • Put in place measures to minimise risk in changing rooms (e.g. ensuring social distancing where possible, increasing cleaning). Make clear to customers that they must not mix with people outside their group, household or support bubble (depending on the local restriction tier) and encourage them to avoid or minimise time spent in facilities (e.g. arriving in kit). More information on the appropriate measures you should take can be found in the guidance below.
  • Encourage contactless payments. Whenever possible, use online booking and pre-payment and ask for contactless payments.
  • Understand how your business interacts with the local area. Limit risk by reducing queues on the street outside, staggering check in times and opening hours to other businesses, and advising customers to avoid particular forms of transport at busy times or routes to avoid crowded areas.

These are the priority actions to make your business safe during coronavirus, you should also read the full version of the guidance below.

Introduction

The government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan presents a programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going and providing a route back to normality.

This guide will help you understand how to make your workplace COVID-secure and help tackle COVID-19. We thank you for playing your part in this national effort.

Who this guide is for

This guidance sets out information on how to operate during COVID-19 restrictions for grassroots sport facility providers, including sport providers if they are the facility operator (or there is no operator present - e.g. an outdoor pitch booking). This guidance applies to all indoor and outdoor sport facilities, including gyms and leisure centres, sport courts and pitches, swimming pools, fitness studios, golf courses and other single or multi-sport facilities (such as climbing walls and skate parks). It also includes guidance for providers of saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs such as spa pools or hydrotherapy pools, which may be located in a sport facility or another type of facility.

This should be read in conjunction with guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the operation of any related working environments which apply to your facility, such as guidance for offices, retail or hospitality venues.

All facilities running activities for under-18s should also consult the relevant sport’s safeguarding guidance, and any relevant guidance from the Department for Education. This includes guidance on protective measures for out-of-school settings, which sets out further practical steps providers of community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children should follow to minimise the risk of transmission for children attending their settings.

This guidance does not apply to facilities which can be used for sport but are primarily used for leisure (such as bowling alleys), or which provide physical activity which is not a recognised sport (such as airsoft venues). These types of facilities should follow guidance for the visitor economy.

This guidance does not cover children’s playgrounds, which should follow the guidance for outdoor gyms and playgrounds, or guidance for soft play areas.

Who has contributed to this guide

This guide has been prepared by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) with input from ukactive, Sport England, the Sport and Recreation Alliance and national governing bodies of sport and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

How to use this guidance

This document sets out guidance on how to work, operate and participate in sport and leisure activities safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. It gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in a gym/leisure facility or area of sport.

As well as complying with the law, each business and/or organisation will need to adapt and apply this guidance into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of its business and/or organisation, including the size and type of business and/or organisation, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated. They will also need to monitor these measures to make sure they continue to protect customers and workers.

Local restriction tiers will determine which restrictions apply in your local area. Indoor and outdoor sport facilities such as gyms/leisure centres, courts and pitches can remain open in all tiers (except for indoor skating rinks, which must close in tier 3 areas), but must follow COVID-secure guidance to ensure they are operating safely.

Measures to control the infection rate may restrict the number of people who can gather, the activities that can take place, and the services that can be provided (such as food and drink sales). You should check which tier applies to your local area and follow the appropriate measures.

There is further information on measures for sport and physical activity set out in the Local restriction tiers section. This sets out the rules that apply to the public in participating in sport and physical activity. Different rules apply to elite sport, so some of these limits may not apply to athletes operating under elite sport guidance.

This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that as a business and/or organisation or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors, customers, visitors and other people, as well as your employees and volunteers.

To help you decide which actions to take, you need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers and volunteers.

1. Thinking about risk

In this section

Objective: That all employers and operators carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment.

As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means you need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

You must make sure that the risk assessment for your business addresses the risks of COVID-19, using this guidance to inform your decisions and control measures.

If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment, but it can be useful to do so.

There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at https://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/assessment.htm.

Employers have a duty to consult their people on health and safety. You must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, there are steps you can take:

How to raise a concern:

  • contact your employee representative
  • contact your trade union if you have one
  • contact HSE at:

HSE COVID-19 enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm)
Online: working safely enquiry form

It is important that employers and operators record:

• what they have done

• the steps they have taken to protect staff visiting and contractors

• provides clear advice to those people through briefings, signage or other means

• the handling arrangements in emergency and disaster plans and salvage procedures for sites are likely to need reviewing as soon as practical.

1.1. Managing risk

Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority.

Employers and facility operators have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. Employers must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected.

In the context of COVID-19 this means working through these steps in order:

  1. In every workplace, increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.

  2. Businesses and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to ensure their employees can work safely. This may be working from home, or within the workplace if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. When in the workplace, everyone should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).

  3. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses and/or organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business and/or organisation to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.

  4. Further mitigating actions include:

    – increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
    – keeping the activity time as short as possible
    – using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
    – using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
    – reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

  5. Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.

In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

The recommendations in the rest of this document are ones you must consider as you go through this process. You could also consider any advice that has been produced specifically for your sector, for example by trade associations or trades unions.

If you are currently operating, you will already have carried out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace. You should use this document to identify any further improvements you should make. You must review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

1.2. Sharing the results of your risk assessment

You must share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all employers with over 50 workers to do so). We would expect all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and customers that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this. You should do this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business and on your website, if you have one.

Below you will find a notice you should display in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.

If you have an incidence of coronavirus in your workplace, use Public Health England’s COVID-19 early outbreak management action cards, which provide key steps to quickly identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreaks. Local health protection teams should only be called when the number of cases in a setting exceeds 5 within 14 days.

2. Keeping your customers and users of sports and gym/leisure facilities safe

In this section

There is a legal requirement for certain settings to implement COVID-secure guidelines. This includes ensuring customers adhere to social distancing rules and legal gathering limits.

This applies to:

● leisure and tourism services, including clubs providing team sporting activities, indoor sport and leisure centres, outdoor swimming pools and lidos

● close physical contact services, such as sports and massage therapists

● services provided in, community centres and village halls

Sports and gym/leisure facilities span many different environments where careful risk assessment of both the venue and activity is required to manage social distancing and effective infection control. Particular attention will need to be paid to clients using hydrotherapy pools and assistance they may need in doing so.

Clear communication to participants, volunteers and workers is critical to ensure that they should take all reasonable measures to comply with social distancing and hygiene measures at all times before, during and after physical activity.

Further information is available on social distancing.

All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices. This may include refraining from playing music or broadcasts at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol and droplet transmission.

Additional detail on social distancing and sports at grassroots and community level can be found in the outdoor sport and recreation guidance. Guidance set out here also applies to indoor activity.

2.1. Manage contact

Objective: To minimise contact with surfaces, workers/volunteers, other customers and contractors within facilities or while participating in sport and physical activity.

Primary control for minimising transmission through contact is through handwashing and frequently washing and avoiding sharing of objects.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Informing customers and contractors of guidance about visiting the premises prior to and at the point of arrival (including information on websites, on booking forms and in entrance ways).

  2. Providing handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser and encouraging staff and customers to wash their hands regularly.

  3. Using contactless payments throughout facility, if possible.

  4. Using signage to ensure workers, staff and customers are aware of the need to avoid contact throughout a facility.

  5. Leaving open doors that can be safely left open, where feasible (although noting ventilation requirements set out in section 5).

  6. Where possible, reducing the need to open other objects, for example lockers, storage compartments, trunks and drawers by making equipment that is permitted for use readily accessible.

  7. Avoiding unnecessary contact with paperwork by enabling such processes as bookings and rosters through online channels.

2.1.1. Manage capacity and overcrowding

Objective: To ensure distancing is possible by limiting the number of customers able to access the facilities.

The maximum occupancy of an indoor facility must allow a minimum of 100 square feet per person. You may also wish to set a maximum capacity (overall or for certain areas) which allows fewer customers, taking into account the following factors: social distancing guidance, the nature of activities (e.g. if the activity is static or requires a range of movement), the equipment layout and the configuration of facilities. Particular attention should be given to ventilation and sufficient circulation space especially around equipment and between groups and classes and instructors.

You should also take into account the legal gathering limits that apply in your local area, as these may affect the types of sport and physical activity that can take place, or how people participate (particularly for indoor activities). These are set out above in the section on local restriction tiers for sport and physical activity.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Conducting a specific risk assessment for each facility and the proposed activities, in particular:

    – Keeping in mind the maximum capacity for the premises (see section 5), identify the number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing within the gym/leisure facility, taking into account total space, equipment as well as likely constraints (toilets, locker areas, changing rooms and washrooms) and pinch-points
    – Identify measures that can be taken to minimise risk in changing rooms (e.g. ensuring social distancing where possible, increasing cleaning). Make clear to customers that they must not mix with people outside their group, household or support bubble (depending on the local restriction tier) and encourage them to avoid or minimise time spent in facilities (e.g. arriving in kit). Further information can be found in the relevant section below.
    – Activities and spaces that can be undertaken and specific measures to ensure social distancing and cleaning
    – Additional needs of any customers with disabilities

  2. Limiting the number of customers in the facility, overall and in any particular congestion areas (such as doorways between outside and inside spaces).

  3. Enabling a booking system or other approaches to managing demand, so that no more than the appropriate number of customers and staff are in the building at any one time

  4. Identifying workers/volunteers as designated supervisors for each area of the sport or gym/leisure facility to ensure social distancing measures are being adhered to by customers. Workers and volunteers are exempt from the legal gathering limits as they apply to organised indoor sport, so they do not count towards group totals for activities such as indoor exercise classes, but consideration should be given to ways to limit exposure.

  5. Managing occupancy levels and changeover by reducing class sizes and amending timetabling.

  6. Allowing sufficient break time between classes held in studios to appropriately clean the studio and equipment, and to prevent waiting in groups.

  7. Where possible, operating on a book-in-advance basis. Online or over the phone is preferable.

2.1.2. Moving in, out and through facilities

Objective: To ensure distancing among workers/volunteers, customers and contractors when moving within and through sports and leisure facilities.

There is a legal requirement for certain settings, including sport facilities, to implement COVID-secure guidelines. This includes ensuring customers adhere to social distancing rules and legal gathering limits.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signage such as ground markings or being creative with other objects to mark out the required social distance to allow controlled flows of people.

  2. Using markings to guide staff and customers coming into or leaving the building.

  3. Defining process alternatives for entry/exit points where appropriate, for example, deactivating pass readers at turnstiles in favour of showing a pass to security personnel from a distance.

  4. Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the facility. If you have more than one door, consider having one for entering the building and one for exiting.

  5. Managing outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks, for example by introducing queuing systems, having staff direct customers, and protecting queues from traffic by putting up barriers or routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, or bollards.

  6. Ensuring any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, such as disabled customers.

  7. Using outside premises for queuing where available and safe, for example using a car park, if this can be done safely and without removing use of accessible car parking spaces for disabled users.

  8. Working with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, including queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks.

  9. Reviewing how people move through the facility and how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact between customers, for example through queue management or one-way flow (with relevant signage) where possible.

  10. Organising numbers, routes and schedules for facilities and equipment (such as pools, golf courses and ranges, practice nets and climbing walls) to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

2.1.3. Contact while using facilities

Objective: To ensure distancing among workers/volunteers and customers when using sports and leisure facilities.

Social distancing should be maintained between all users of facilities (including individuals, groups, teams, teachers, trainers and coaches), unless users come from the same household or to manage the additional needs of a person with a disability.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Suspending or modifying activities that are not permitted or cannot be undertaken without contravening legal gathering limits within available facilities. Particular consideration should be taken for indoor courts and sports halls. National governing bodies of sport will have provided specific guidance for how their sport can take place (and any modifications needed) which organisers should adhere to. Sport and physical activity which takes place outside this guidance is subject to legal gathering limits.

  2. Encouraging, where weather and space permits, use of outdoor spaces (in line with legal gathering limits).

  3. Having clearly designated positions from which employees or coaches/volunteers leading activity can provide advice or assistance to customers whilst maintaining social distance.

  4. Avoiding use of shared objects (such as towels, robes, balls, weights, rackets, balls, scoring equipment and sportswear) unless they can be cleaned or sanitised between users.

  5. Ensuring that any water fountains have signage which prohibits face-to-tap drinking, and that these facilities are used only to refill personal bottles or containers.

  6. Operating close-contact services (such as beauty, massage and physiotherapy services) in accordance with relevant guidance.

Adapting and enabling spaces

Where possible adapt and enable spaces to facilitate appropriate social distancing, including government guided spacing markings on the floor at points of assembly including entrances, foyers and reception spaces:

  • Fitness spaces: pieces of gym equipment should be appropriately spaced so that people can comply with social distancing guidelines, and with a suitable margin for adequate circulation or one-way routes. This can be achieved by moving equipment, using screens to separate equipment, or taking equipment out of use. Clearly visible tape should be put around pieces of gym equipment to denote social distance.

  • Changing rooms: put in place measures to minimise risk in changing rooms (e.g. ensuring social distancing where possible, increasing cleaning). Make clear to customers that they must not mix with people outside their group, household or support bubble (depending on the local restriction tier) and encourage them to avoid or minimise time spent in facilities (e.g. arriving in kit). More information on the appropriate measures you should take can be found below.

  • Exercise studios: Where possible, temporary floor marking defining required spacing per individual should be provided

  • Pools:
    – Swimming pools should restrict numbers to allow 3 square metres per bather. If flumes are available, they must be used in a socially distanced manner.
    – Hydrotherapy pools should manage capacity to take account of any additional needs clients may have, such as mobility issues. If social distancing cannot be maintained due to immediate safety concerns, close proximity contact should be kept to a minimum by those not part of the same household or social support bubble.

  • Saunas and steam rooms
    – Maximum capacity should be restricted to 50%. For example, a sauna designed for 4 people should only be used by 2 people at the same time.
    – Facilities should operate with 2m social distancing, including marked seating points in each room.
    – Guests should be given fixed times and staggered slots to enter the sauna or steam room. For example, a sauna with a normal capacity for 4 individuals offers an appointment time of 12.00 - 12.15. Up to 2 individuals may book this slot. They must arrive at 12.00. They may leave and re-enter at any time but the sauna must be vacated by everyone at 12.15.
    – Where possible, increase air flow and air changes to the maximum possible.
    –Ensure that saunas, steam rooms and any equipment are cleaned regularly, at the beginning and end of the day and at regular intervals in-between, determined by the risk assessment

2.1.4. Supporting Test and Trace

Continued opening up of the economy and public services is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to minimise transmission risk. In order to ensure that businesses and local services are able to remain open, we will be mandating that organisations in designated sectors must:

● ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details

● keep a record of all staff working on their 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

● adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation

These duties apply to (among others) clubs providing team sport activities, indoor sport and leisure centres, outdoor swimming pools and lidos, sports and massage therapists, and services provided for social and recreational purposes in youth and community centres, and village halls.

There are additional requirements for the hospitality sector which may apply to sport facilities if they contain relevant hospitality areas. Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues are required to ensure that visitors provide their contact information or check in using the official NHS QR code before being allowed entry.

Any designated venue that is found not to be compliant with these standards may be subject to formal sanctions (including financial penalties). It is vital that relevant venues comply with these requirements, to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open.

Designated venues will need to keep records of customers, visitors and staff for a period of 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials to help contain clusters or outbreaks.

You can find out more about these requirements here: Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.

2.1.5. Spectators & children

Objective: To ensure distancing of spectators and children within sport and leisure facilities

Supporters, parents, and other spectators are only permitted within legal gathering limits, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times whilst attending sporting activities:

In tier 1 areas: people can gather in groups of up to 6 (or larger groups if from the same household/support bubble) outdoors and indoors.

In tier 2 areas: people can gather in groups of up to 6 (or larger groups if from the same household/support bubble) outdoors. Indoors, people cannot mix with others from outside their household or support bubble.

In tier 3 areas: people cannot mix with others from outside their household or support bubble indoors. Outdoors, people cannot mix with others from outside their household or support bubble in a private garden or most public outdoor venues. However people can meet in groups of up to 6 in public outdoor spaces, including outdoor sport grounds and facilities.

This does not apply to carers for people with disabilities, or adults where they are needed to supervise under-18s in a safeguarding role. Parents or other adults who are not required to fulfil a supervisory role are considered to be spectators, and must adhere to the legal gathering limits set out above.

Where it is anticipated that an activity will attract spectators, there should be a named person or persons with responsibility for ensuring adherence with these guidelines and ensuring the facility is COVID-secure. The person should carry out and publish a risk assessment for the activity which limits the number of spectators and focuses on the need to maintain social distancing on arrival, for the duration of the activity, and on departure.

Where required by law, arrangements should also be put in place to support Test and Trace efforts by collecting information from spectators which is detailed enough to allow NHS Test and Trace to contact them if necessary. This will not apply to all facilities (for example, outdoor sport facilities in public places where it is not possible or practical to collect information from all spectators), so you should check the maintaining records guidance for further information.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Controlling spectator numbers within controlled numbers through pre-booking, ticketing and other controls at access points. If allowing spectators would present challenges to maintaining capacity levels, consider prohibiting spectators. Chaperones to children could be asked to wait away from the activity area or outside the facility (taking into account individual circumstances, for example for children with disabilities).

  2. Ensuring spectators follow government guidance for social gatherings and maintain social distancing, preferably with marked viewing spaces.

  3. Reminding customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.

  4. In cases where a child is participating in activities, permitting only one parent/carer per child to supervise their child (from an appropriate distance).

2.1.6. Selling food, drink or merchandise

Objective: To minimise social interaction with guests when selling or consuming food or drink or operating retail outlets.

Retail areas within sport facilities can continue to operate at all levels. However there are restrictions on businesses and venues which will apply to some sport facilities, if they sell food or drinks.

In tier 1 and 2 areas: certain businesses are required to be closed between 11pm and 5am if they sell food or drinks. Although sport facilities such as gyms, leisure centres and sport clubs are not required to close, hospitality areas which sell food and drink (such as cafes and bars) must take their last orders of food and drink by 10pm and close at 11pm. This does not apply to automated dispensing machines such as vending or coffee machines.

In tier 1 and 2 areas: where a sport facility sells food and drink to consume on site, customers should be seated while eating and drinking. In premises which sell alcohol, customers must be seated when ordered, being served, and consuming, food and drink.

In tier 2 areas: pubs and bars must close except where they are operating like a restaurant - serving substantial meals like a breakfast, lunch or evening meal. Alcohol can only be served as part of these substantial meals.

In tier 3 areas: all hospitality areas (such as restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs) must close. They can still provide takeaway (except for sales of alcohol, which are not permitted), click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery services.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Operating bars and restaurants in accordance with relevant guidance.

  2. Operating retail outlets in accordance with relevant guidance.

2.2. Providing and explaining available guidance

Objective: To minimise contact among workers/volunteers, customers and contractors resulting from visits to the sports or gym/leisure facility or venue

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people both before arrival and on arrival, for example, through signage and visual aids, and on your website.

  2. Providing written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to both workers and customers inside and outside the facility particularly in free weights areas and around stationary equipment.

  3. Considering reviewing and amending marketing and timetables, and taking reasonable steps to disseminate them to your customers.

  4. Reviewing external messaging to visitors and customers to make sure it does not provide information that may present a security risk, such as the location of queues or the number of people permitted in a queue.

  5. Consider designating employees or volunteers as ‘social distancing champions’ to demonstrate social distancing guidelines to customers.

  6. Considering the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

3. Who should go to work/volunteer

In this section

Objective: Employers should ensure workplaces are safe whilst also enabling working from home.

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Considering the maximum number of people who can be safely accommodated on site.

  2. Planning for a phased return to work, which will allow people to return safely and effectively.

  3. Monitoring the wellbeing of people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.

  4. Keeping in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.

  5. Providing equipment for people to work at home safely and effectively, for example, remote access to work systems.

3.1. Protecting people who are at higher risk

Objective: To protect clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals have been strongly advised not to work outside the home.

Clinically vulnerable individuals, who are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions), have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing and should be helped to work from home, either in their current role or in an alternative role.

If clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain social distancing from others. If they have to spend time closer to others than set out in the government guidance, you should carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk. As for any workplace risk you must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers who are, as always, entitled to suspension on full pay if suitable roles cannot be found. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing mental health and wellbeing support for workers. This could include advice or telephone support.

  2. Understanding current guidance on who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups.

  3. Consider special provision for vulnerable groups using your facilities

3.2. People who need to self-isolate

Objective: To make sure workers / volunteers who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance do not come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government’s test and trace service.

All businesses are prohibited from requiring self-isolating employees to come into work.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19—a high temperature, new and persistent cough or anosmia, however mild, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during the isolation period, you should restart the 10 day isolation period from the day you develop symptoms.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Enabling workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.

  2. Reviewing current guidance for employees and employers relating to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.

  3. Reviewing current guidance for people who have symptoms.

3.3. Equality in the workplace

Objective: To treat everyone in your workplace equally.

In applying this guidance, employers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.

It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability.

Employers also have particular responsibilities towards employees with disabilities, and employees who are new or expectant mothers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Understanding and taking into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.

  2. Involving, and communicating appropriately with, workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

  3. Considering whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under equalities legislation.

  4. Making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.

  5. Making sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, such as those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

4. Social distancing in the sport or gym/leisure facility

In this section

Objective: To have workers/volunteers and customers maintain government guided social distancing wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from the facility, while in the facility and when travelling between venues.

There is a legal requirement for certain settings, including sport facilities, to implement COVID-secure guidelines. This includes ensuring customers adhere to social distancing rules and legal gathering limits.

Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses and/or organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business and/or organisation to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.

Mitigating actions include:

▪ Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning

▪ Keeping the activity time as short as possible

▪ Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other

▪ Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible

▪ Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using fixed teams or partnering (so each person works with only a few others)

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business and/or organisation, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing.

Events

Individual businesses or venues should ensure they are operating within the rules on gatherings for their local area. This includes ensuring customers adhere to gathering limits, and taking steps to avoid public gatherings.

They should consider the cumulative impact of many venues re-opening in a small area. This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations.

These could include:

  • further lowering capacity - even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue

  • staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas

  • arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues

  • advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue

Organised sport participation events such as races and organised walks can take place outdoors but must adhere to legal gathering limits and follow COVID-secure guidance (set out in guidance for safe provision of grassroots sport):

In Tier 1 and 2 areas: organised sport participation events can take place outdoors, but participants must not gather in groups of more than 6 people (unless from the same household or support bubble), and should follow social distancing guidelines.

In Tier 3 areas: organised sport participation events can take place outdoors, but only if participants do not mix with people from outside their household or support bubble (except in some public outdoor places, including outdoor sports grounds and facilities), where people can meet in groups of up to 6.

4.1. Arriving at and leaving the venue

Objective: To have workers/volunteers maintain social distancing wherever possible, including during their journey to and from the facility, on arrival and departure, and enabling handwashing upon arrival.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Referencing the Department for Transport guidance on getting to the workplace

  2. Staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.

  3. Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to the facility where possible.

  4. Limiting passengers in corporate vehicles, such as, work minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty.

  5. Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace in larger facilities.

  6. Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points.

  7. Providing handwashing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points.

  8. Providing alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads.

  9. If security access devices, adjusting processes at entry/exit points to reduce risk of transmission. For example, cleaning pass readers regularly and asking staff to hold their passes near pass readers rather than touching them.

4.2. Moving around

Objective: To have workers/volunteers and customers maintain social distancing as far as possible while people travel through the facility.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reducing movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and venues, for example, restricting access to some areas or encouraging use of phones or radios (cleaned between users) , where possible.

  2. Introducing one-way flow through buildings. Providing floor markings and signage should remind both workers and customers to follow to social distancing wherever possible.

  3. Reducing maximum occupancy of lifts to a number that allows for social distancing, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging the use of stairs wherever possible.

  4. Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.

  5. Regulating use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts, turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.

4.3. Workplaces and workstations

Objective: To maintain social distancing between workers/volunteers where they work.

Assigned workstations should be used as much as possible; if workstations need to be shared, the number of different users should be minimised. For people who work in a fixed position, their workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible. If it is not possible to keep workstations socially distanced then businesses and/or organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business and/or organisations to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reviewing layouts to allow workers/volunteers to work further apart from each other.

  2. Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep the recommended social distance from each other.

  3. Avoiding people working face-to-face, for example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other.

  4. Using screens to create a physical barrier between people.

  5. If people have to work in close proximity and the activity cannot be restructured (such as maintenance activities), consider using a consistent pairing system so that contact with others is minimised.

  6. Minimising contacts around transactions, for example using contactless payments for access to lockers.

  7. Rethinking demonstrations and promotions to minimise direct contact and to maintain social distancing.

4.4. Meetings

Objective: To reduce transmission risk from face-to-face meetings.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using remote working tools to avoid in-person meetings where possible.

  2. Arranging or attending meetings only when absolutely necessary and, in such cases maintaining social distancing throughout.

  3. Avoiding unnecessary transmission risk during meetings, for example avoiding sharing pens and other objects.

  4. Providing hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.

  5. Holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.

  6. For areas where regular meetings take place, using floor signage to help people maintain social distancing.

4.5. Common areas

Objective: To have workers/volunteers and customers maintain social distancing while using common areas.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Ensuring your risk assessment carefully considers worker the safety of employees and volunteers, especially those working closely with many customers.

  2. Staggering break times to reduce pressure on staff break rooms or eating places.

  3. Using safe outside areas for breaks.

  4. Creating additional space by using other parts of the working area or building that have been freed up by remote working.

  5. Installing screens to protect workers in receptions or similar areas.

  6. Providing packaged meals or similar to avoid fully opening staff canteens.

  7. Reconfiguring seating and tables to optimise spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.

  8. Encouraging workers to remain on-site during breaks and, when not possible, maintaining social distancing while off-site.

  9. Considering use of social distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, showers, lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.

4.6. Visiting instructors, coaches, teachers, and management

Objective: To ensure safe practices for visiting instructors and supervisors who rotate across sport venues and leisure facilities.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Ensuring that visiting instructors and supervisors are aware of how legal gathering limits apply to indoor sport and exercise classes, and provision is organised accordingly. Where legal gathering limits apply, instructors and supervisors are exempt and are not counted as part of the group, but must maintain social distancing.

  2. Considering limiting the number of classes that rotating instructors teach in order to minimise exposure.

  3. Determining the number of facilities you are comfortable with instructors rotating amongst in order to minimise exposure, and establishing a system for monitoring this.

  4. Given the potential risk of transmission from visiting instructors, where possible, establishing a private testing programme for rotating/visiting instructors.

4.7. Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents.

In an emergency (such as a fire or medical emergency) people do not have to maintain social distancing if it would be unsafe.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards, including washing hands.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Considering the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.

  2. Considering whether you have enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe. For example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security.

  3. Following government guidance on managing security risks.

5. Ventilation of indoor gym and leisure facilities

Air extraction and ventilation measures

Ventilation is an important part of mitigating against the transmission of COVID-19. Ventilation into the building should be optimised to ensure a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the facility and increased wherever possible. Particular attention should be given to areas where high intensity exercise takes place.

To achieve this, specific measures should be implemented:

  • The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100sqft per person. For this figure, the area is the net useable indoor facility space available to members to use, including changing rooms, toilet and wash facilities. Reducing capacity in this way whilst sustaining ventilation flows, will increase the typical current 10l/s/p flow rate of ventilation to at least 20l/s/p, as fewer people are being served by the ventilation system.

  • Ventilation systems should provide 100% fresh air and not recirculate air from one space to another.

You should also consider:

  • increasing the existing ventilation rate by fully opening dampers and running fans on full speed

  • operating the ventilation system 24 hours a day

  • increase the frequency of filter changes

  • in the absence of known ventilation rates, a carbon dioxide sensor shall be used as a surrogate indicator to switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open windows.

Further guidance is provided in the CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation guidance and [HSE ventilation guidance}(https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm).

6. Cleaning the workplace/facility

In this section

6.1. Before reopening

Objective: To make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart, including:

  • an assessment for all sites, or parts of sites, which have been closed, before restarting work

  • cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser, before restarting work

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.

  2. Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings, or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.

  3. Prior to re-commissioning a swimming pool facility, the following re-commissioning advice should be followed: PWTAG Technical Note No. 45: Re-opening a pool after COVID-19 shutdown.

6.2. Keeping the workplace/facility clean

Objective: To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Maintaining good ventilation in the sport or gym/leisure facility. For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.

  2. Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment including stationary gym equipment between use, using your usual cleaning products.

  3. Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including stationary gym equipment, free weights, mats, and balls.

  4. Providing spray and cloths and instructions for users to wipe down stationary gym equipment after each use. Whilst operators will wish to increase the frequency of normal or enhanced cleaning of touched surfaces, the only means of minimising contact transmission is cleaning equipment after every user. Therefore, materials for self-cleaning of handles and rails after use (in line with normal practice) is essential and signage should emphasise to users that this is expected after use of a piece of shared equipment.

  5. Maintaining rigorous cleaning procedures, reviewing and adapting where necessary, including in high-risk spaces such as main thoroughfares, touch- points, and walls and floors in circulation routes (corridors, lifts, foyers, landings, stairs, lobbies).

  6. Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.

If equipment cannot be cleaned after each use, it should not be used.

If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you refer to the relevant guidance.

6.3. Hygiene – handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets

Objective: To help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, and good hygiene practices like avoiding touching your face and coughing or sneezing into your arm.

  2. Considering how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.

  3. Providing regular reminders and signage to ensure people maintain good hygiene standards.

  4. Frequently cleaning work areas and equipment between uses.

  5. Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from work areas at the end of shifts.

  6. Thoroughly cleaning all fitness equipment, including mats and weights after use – as well as in your regular cleaning schedule.

  7. Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations, in addition to washrooms, particularly where there may be a higher risk of transmission (such as reception and entrance foyers, changing rooms and lockers, adjacent to fitness equipment and entrances to halls, gyms and studios). You should check frequently to ensure you maintain adequate supplies at all times.

  8. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing can be maintained, including putting up a visible and up-to-date cleaning schedule.

  9. Keeping the facilities well- ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where possible.

  10. Increasing the number of waste facilities and frequency of rubbish collection.

  11. Using disposable paper towels in handwashing facilities where possible.

  12. Minimising use of portable toilets. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

6.4. Changing rooms and showers

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers.

Changing rooms are an area of increased transmission risk, so usage should be minimised and additional measures taken where necessary to reduce transmission and minimise social contact. Operators must assess the available space and take all necessary precautions to ensure appropriate distancing can be maintained, including assessment, and communication, of the maximum number permitted in a space at any one time and any necessary operational changes.

Changing rooms and shower facilities should not be closed unnecessarily, but customers must not mix with people outside their group, household or support bubble (depending on the local restriction tier) and should maintain social distancing wherever possible. Venue operators should encourage participants to avoid or minimise use where possible (e.g. by arriving in kit and showering at home) and to minimise the time they spend in the changing area. Access must be maintained where safety and safeguarding measures require their use, e.g. supporting customers with disabilities, allowing children to change clothes.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Taking steps o ensure that all water systems, for example showers and sinks, are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimise the risk of legionella and other diseases associated with water.

  2. Introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly throughout during the day and at the end of the day.

  3. Encouraging participants and staff to change and shower at home rather than in changing rooms where possible (though changing rooms should not be closed unnecessarily as access will be needed, particularly after swimming or outdoor sport in wet weather).

  4. Ensuring customers are aware of the legal gathering limits for indoor facilities, and the need to maintain social distancing at all times. Encourage customers to limit time spent in changing areas, especially during the changeover of group activity.

  5. Providing cleaning materials and hand sanitiser for customer use at touch points.

  6. Providing additional signposting in these areas to maintain social distancing and adhere to the relevant gathering limits.

6.5. Handling goods, merchandise and other materials

Objective: To reduce transmission through contact with objects in the facility.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and customers or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical

  2. Limiting customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock.

  3. Putting in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.

  4. Encouraging contactless payments and refunds.

7. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

In this section

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks.

Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

At the start of this document we described the steps you need to take to manage COVID-19 risk in the workplace. This includes working from home and staying appropriately distanced away from each other in the workplace if at all possible. When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

The exception is clinical settings, like a hospital, or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health England advises use of PPE, such as first responders and immigration enforcement officers. If you are in one of these groups, you should refer to the advice at:

Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

7.1. Face coverings

Face coverings are required in most indoor settings. Although this does not include gyms and leisure centres, where possible and practical, visitors should be encouraged to wear masks in enclosed public areas when not engaging in sport or physical activity (and may be required to do so in some areas such as shops within the facility). All businesses are required to remind customers to wear face masks where mandated.

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.

Staff in close-contact services are required to wear a mask and a visor when providing services.

Follow government guidance on face coverings.

8. Workforce Management

In this section

8.1. Shift patterns and working groups

Objective: To review the way work is organised to reduce the number of contacts each worker has.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Where workers are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups considering fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.

  2. Identifying areas where people have to directly pass things to each other and finding ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones.

  3. Assisting the Test and Trace service by keeping a temporary record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days and providing the data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

More information: NHS Test and Trace: how it works

8.2. Work-related travel

8.2.1. Cars, accommodation and visits

Objective: To avoid unnecessary work travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home, they should do so. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Considering whether staff can work remotely, with particular consideration to those at higher risk.

  2. Minimising the use of shared vehicles for people from different households or support bubbles using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation when possible and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  3. Limiting passengers in corporate vehicles, such as work minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty.

  4. Cleaning shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.

  5. Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally logging the stay and making sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

8.2.2 Deliveries to other sites

Objective: To help workers delivering to other sites (such as factories, logistics sites or customers’ premises) to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Putting in place procedures to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries to other sites.

  2. Maintaining consistent pairing where two-person deliveries are required.

  3. Minimising contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

8.3. Communications and training

8.3.1. Returning to work

Objective: To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures and feel safe to return to work.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistent ways of working.

  2. Engaging with workers and worker representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.

  3. Developing communication and training materials for workers prior to returning to site, especially around new procedures for arrival at work.

8.3.2. Ongoing communications and signage

Objective: To make sure all workers are informed of relevant safety measures implemented or updated.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Ongoing engagement with workers (including through trades unions or employee representation groups) to monitor implementation of changes to working environments, and understand any unforeseen impacts.

  2. Increasing awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. This may include sharing guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  3. Using simple messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, wwith consideration of those for whom English is not their first language.

  4. Using visual communications, such as whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to production schedules, breakdowns or materials shortages to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

  5. Communicating approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, customers or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience.

9. Inbound and outbound goods

Objective: To maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site, especially in high volume situations, (such as distribution centres and despatch areas).

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Revising pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings.

  2. Minimising unnecessary contact at gatehouse security, yard and warehouse. For example, implementing non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for the use of electronic pre-booking.

  3. Considering methods to reduce the frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.

  4. Where possible and safe, having single workers load or unload vehicles or using the same pairs of people for loads where more than one is needed.

  5. Enabling drivers to access welfare facilities when required.

  6. Encouraging drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing drive-aways.

10. Further guidance for clubs, community sports organisations and deployers of volunteers

In this section

Volunteers play a vital role in sport, particularly in ommunity sports clubs and groups, who are often entirely dependent on volunteers giving their time to enable the club to deliver sport and operate safely.

It is important that appropriate consideration is given to identify the practical steps that can be taken to ensure that volunteers feel supported, welcomed and safe. Further information on working with volunteers is available on the Sport England website.

10.1. Workforce planning to provide a safe environment

Objective: Considering the needs of volunteers when planning for re-starting activities.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Consulting NVCO advice on volunteering.

  2. Consulting your relevant national governing body for sport-specific guidance.

  3. Considering the tasks and roles needed to support activities that can take place. For example, how many volunteers are needed, in what roles and how those roles may need to be adapted.

  4. Following public health guidelines to assess individual circumstances and levels of risk, to support decisions about whether it is safe for individuals to volunteer.

  5. Considering that volunteers may have other responsibilities at this time such as looking after relatives, childcare or changing working circumstances. Identify what time they may be able to commit and what flexibility and support they may need to undertake their volunteering role.

  6. Developing a plan for ongoing communication with members, volunteers, parents and carers which includes consulting on their intentions to return and regularly updating on re-opening plans including providing members with advanced access to guidance.

10.2. Session organisation and activity grouping

Objective: To modify the way activity is organised to create distinct groups and reduce the number of contacts each volunteer has.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. As far as possible, where paid and unpaid workers are split across sessional activity, fixing these groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.

  2. Identifying areas or activities where people have to directly pass things to each other and finding ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones.

  3. Enabling a booking system or other approaches to manage demand for access to facilities, particularly for group sessions, so that no more than the desired number of participants are present at any one time.

10.3. Training for returning to activity

Objective: To make sure all volunteers are trained on COVID-19-related safety procedures and feel safe to return to activity.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Identifying which roles need new processes and procedures, such as for hygiene or social distancing. Core training is available for free for all volunteers through CIMSPA.

  2. Following the relevant national governing body’s guidance for volunteer coaches and leaders.

  3. Considering what new training needs to be offered to volunteers to support them to adapt to new ways of working, or if they are undertaking a new role.

  4. Providing training materials for volunteers prior to returning to their activities, such as new procedures for arrival at the venue or facility and how to safely run activities.

  5. Providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistent ways of working.

  6. Engaging with volunteers to continuously understand any concerns and agree any changes required.

10.4. Wellbeing and inclusion

Objective: To ensure that the environment is inclusive, and that the wellbeing of volunteers is considered and continuously monitored.

You should ensure that workers and volunteers are aware of the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty (for example through guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus. Free Mental Health Awareness training for volunteer coaches is available from MIND through UK Coaching.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using simple messaging to explain guidelines, using images and clear language, with consideration of groups those for whom English is not their first language.

  2. Using visual communications, such as whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to access, timetables, or programmes to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

  3. Communicating approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, customers or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience.

Where to obtain further guidance

COVID-19: What you need to do

Support for businesses and employers during coronavirus (COVID-19)

General guidance for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further guidance on social distancing and sports at grassroots and community level.

Specific guidance, toolkits and resources for facilities are available from ukactive.

Specific guidance, toolkits and resources for supporting the workforce as well as access to free online certified training for workforce members is available from the Chartered Institute of Management in Sport & Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

Contact your national governing body for any sport-specific guidance.

Download the ‘Staying COVID-19 Secure’ notice