COVID-19NewsReturn to play update – Step 1

19th March 20218
Sam Blakey in action

The PE Board is working to ensure that all of our members, clubs, leagues and regions can safely get back out on the piste in line with COVID-19 restrictions which are scheduled to follow a phased programme of ‘step’ changes.

We are just over a week away from ‘Step 1’ which commences on Monday 29th March, although our Government needs to confirm that this date will apply. Please note that the current restrictions on playing our sport remain fully in place until ‘Step 1’ is confirmed and that our Play Safe Guidelines remain suspended until we advise otherwise.

The precise regulations associated with ‘Step 1’ are yet to go through our Parliament, but Sport England have issued some helpful advice which they have developed alongside Government.

The key points in this advice which are relevant to our sport are as follows:

  • You should minimise travel, however, travel for organised sport and exercise is permitted;
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as pétanque pistes can reopen;
  • Organised outdoor sport and physical activity for adults and children can return, which will be exempt from the legal gathering limits. The threshold on participant numbers is decided by PE as the recognised national governing body (NGB) and will follow Covid-secure guidance. Please note: the PE Board is currently reviewing our Play Safe Guidance and will issue this prior to 29th March;
  • Outdoor training and coaching sessions are classed as organised outdoor sport and can take place where formally organised by a PE coach or affiliated body;
  • Indoor facilities including changing rooms cannot open, although toilet facilities can be accessed. Indoor facilities can be used for through access (following Covid guidelines). Wherever possible, people should come ready to play.
  • Spectators are not allowed at any grassroot sport and physical activity sessions or events. The permission for formally organised sport to return to play without gathering limits is for players/officials/organisers only. This does not apply to carers for disabled people, or adults needed to supervise under-18s in a safeguarding role. Where it‘s necessary for them to be present, supervising adults should not mix with others from outside their household or support bubble;
  • Informal and self-organised sport and physical activity is not covered by any exemptions and will have to follow the legal gathering limits for outdoors: the ‘rule of six’ or two households. An example in our sport would be some friends playing pétanque in a park;
  • Disabled people can take part in organised outdoor and indoor sport without being subject to social contact limits.

Our updated Play Safe Guidelines will be issued prior to the 29th March. In the meantime they remain suspended.


  • Christine Raynsford

    19th March 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you for update


  • Morris Goodman

    20th March 2021 at 7:13 am

    Thanks very much for the update, nice to know PE are keeping abreast of things, looking forward to your next update and hoping that it will be most favourable.


  • Terry Basson

    20th March 2021 at 9:37 am

    What is the value of an update if it is still subject to change ?

    If – if – if


    • Martin Hughes

      20th March 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Terry,

      We just wanted to share what had been issued by Sport England who have been working with the Government and therefore have an inside track. We have had a lot of queries from members about potential travel restrictions and felt it would be helpful to give some info on that from an informed source. You are right that there are ‘ifs’ outstanding which we hope to address as soon as we can after the Government has pronounced.


  • Martin Hudson

    26th March 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Please can you advise if there have been any changes to the Play Safe guidelnes for return to play on Monday, March 29?


    • Martin Hughes

      26th March 2021 at 9:03 pm

      Latest version about to appear….


  • Alan Beecroft

    30th March 2021 at 11:37 am

    Look forward to seeing you all soon. All being well, next week.


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