COVID-19NewsCOVID-19 – Return to Play from May 17

14th May 20214
Jeremy shooting

Our Government has confirmed that from Monday May 17th, its ‘Step 3’ restrictions will apply.

This is a major boost for our sport as it represents a significant move towards near pre-pandemic normality for everyone that loves playing or organising pétanque. It means that our members, clubs, leagues and regions can really get back to playing in a progressive and inclusive way after many months of disruption.

As we have always done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the PE Board is taking steps to revise its guidance and we have issued an updated document which we hope will provide all the required information.

Key points

  • Unless required by the owner/operator of private land, you can play with up to 30 participants at a venue without the need to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment or carrying out other COVID-Secure requirements, although a more general risk assessment is always needed to meet the conditions of PE’s insurance policy which covers our members, leagues, clubs and regions;
  • Beyond 30 participants, the playing or coaching of our sport will only be permitted if it is formally run by a PE coach, one of PE’s affiliated bodies (club, league, region) or national organisation or a company/charity that follows our Return to Play guidance (including carrying out COVID-19 risk assessments);
  • There are no limits on the number above 30 at formally-run events as long as the venue is risk assessed to allow the number participating;
  • Spectators are now permitted on both private and public land subject to any COVID-19 risk assessed limits;
  • On-pitch, social distancing should continue to be observed if possible, but it is not an absolute requirement. Vacant lanes between pitches are no longer needed;
  • Off-pitch, no-one present (players, officials and spectators) should meet in groups of more than 30 and they should not mingle with anyone outside that group. Social distancing should be followed;
  • Sharing equipment should still be avoided where possible;
  • Plastic circles and scoreboards can be used but players should ensure regular hand hygiene. The safest option remains drawing a circle and using hand held pocket scorers;
  • Car-sharing to travel to play is permitted and further Government Guidance is awaited on this;
  • Club facilities and hospitality can receive people indoors (including changing rooms and toilets). The rule of 6/two households applies indoors and there should be no mingling between distinct groups of 6/two households. Whilst not seated indoors, face coverings should be worn. Remember: the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is far greater indoors.

Please contact national PE officials if you require any further advice. The path towards normal play is now clearly established and we wish all our members, clubs, leagues and regions a very happy return to play!


  • Andrew Winter

    14th May 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Do we still need to complete the list of players and contact numbers on the pad you sent us?


    • Martin Hughes

      15th May 2021 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Andrew, it is not a requirement for petanque activities under 30 participants to sign in at a private or public venue either by using the QR code system or by keeping a physical record. However, on private land, the owner/operator might require it and for the purposes of ensuring they don’t miss anybody in the instance of a subsequent COVID-19 infection, clubs might find it easier to continue to record names/contacts. We think that in most instances under 30 participants, clubs will be able to work out who was present if they needed to do so, but as I said, it might be easier just to do the sign in. Hope that helps. Above 30 participants the full sign in is obviously required.


  • John Renton

    15th May 2021 at 9:59 am

    Please can you provide a link to the updated document, or did I miss it somehow, thanks


    • Martin Hughes

      15th May 2021 at 12:52 pm

      Hi John, if you hover over or tap on ‘an updated document’ in paragraph 3 of the news item you will get the link to download the document.


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