Important: please read this message before following the guidance
Information on what is permissible under each alert level: COVID-19 alert levels
Frequently asked questions (FAQs), including common questions related to sport, exercise and outdoor activity, will be published and updated for each alert level as we move between them. More detailed advice on sport, recreation and leisure is available in the guidance below.
Set out below is summary information about the restrictions most relevant to sport, recreation and leisure, with links to the sections of this guidance most relevant at present.
Please use this summary information to review the restrictions and to access this guidance.
Restrictions on gatherings
From 24 April 2021:
The number of people able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, increased to six people not counting children under 11 or carers provided that those gathering do not come from more than six households. Social distancing and hand hygiene need to be maintained.
Further information can be found at: Current restrictions: frequently asked questions and Leaving your home and seeing other people: current restrictions
- Outdoor activities guidance, found in outdoor sports
From 3 May 2021:
- People in one household will again be able to form an extended household with one other household.
From 17 May 2021:
Up to four people from four households, or a single household if more than four people, can meet in regulated premises (this includes sport and leisure facilities), subject to confirmation, if conditions allow.
Further information can be found here: COVID-19 alert levels
Organised activities and sports
Organised outdoor activities
From 27 March 2021:
Organised outdoor activities for the development or well-being of children aged under 18 on 31 August 2020 are permitted.
From 26 April 2021:
Organised outdoor activities for adults (limited to 30 people) are permitted. Alcohol may not be served.
From 17 May 2021:
The limit on organised outdoor activities will increase to 50 people, subject to confirmation, if conditions allow.
- Organised children's activity: frequently asked questions
- Outdoor sports
- Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities
- Outdoor sections of principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities
- Organised activities and team sports a framework for developing bespoke guidance
Organised indoor activities
From 3 May 2021:
Organised indoor activities for the development or well-being of children aged under 18 on 31 August 2020 are permitted.
Organised indoor activities for up to 15 adults (including group exercise classes) are permitted, alcohol may not be served.
From 17 May 2021:
The limit on organised indoor activities will increase to 30 people, subject to confirmation, if conditions allow.
- Organised children's activity: frequently asked questions
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities
- Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities
- Indoor sections of Principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities
- Organised activities and team sports a framework for developing bespoke guidance
Stadiums and events
No events (unless specifically authorised by Welsh ministers).
Sports and exercise
Professional, elite and designated sports and training permitted.
- All sections of this guidance are relevant.
Non-professional / elite sports and training:
See “Meeting outdoors”, “Meeting indoors”, “Organised outdoor activities” and “Organised indoor activities” above for more information, including guidance links.
Organised children’s activities
Allowed outdoors for children under 18 from 27 March 2021 and outdoors or indoors from 3 May 2021.
See “Organised outdoor activities” and “Organised indoor activities” above for more information, including guidance links.
Businesses and services
Ice skating rinks (public leisure use)
Closed (due to open at alert level 1)
Further information can be found at: Business closures: current restrictions
Leisure and fitness facilities (gyms, swimming pools, spas, fitness studios)
From 26 April 2021:
Outdoor attractions and outdoor swimming pools can reopen.
From 3 May 2021:
Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres, spas and indoor swimming pools can reopen (steam rooms to remain closed).
From 17 May 2021:
Steam rooms can reopen, subject to confirmation, if conditions allow.
- Outdoor sports
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities
- Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities
- Principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities
From 3 May 2021:
Community centres can open.
Further information can be found here: Safe use of multi-purpose community centres (COVID-19)
Sports courts, golf courses, pitches
Open outdoors, indoor sport facilities etc. can open from 3 May 2021.
- Outdoor Sports
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities
- Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities
- Principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities
Playgrounds, public parks
Further information can be found here: Reopening children's playgrounds and outdoor play areas: coronavirus
From 17 May 2021:
Indoor play centres and areas signalled to open from 17 May 2021, subject to confirmation, if conditions allow.
Section 1: introduction
We are proud of being a nation that values sport, both as participants and spectators, but this period has been, and continues to be, a very uncertain time for the sport and leisure sector. The public health crisis associated with the Coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges.
Sport is a vital part of our communities with our sportspeople, clubs and organisations part of the fabric of everyday life. They, and the hundreds of thousands of Welsh people who participate in sporting activities, provide the bedrock for the health and wellbeing of the nation. But progress on the safe return to play has to be carefully coordinated, with the health of our country in response to Coronavirus the primary consideration. This guidance has been developed to support that process.
The Welsh Government has worked closely with a number of partners and stakeholders, including Sport Wales and the Welsh Sports Association (WSA), to develop this guidance. Sport has come together to collectively address the public health concerns around an inclusive return to activity, training and competition and demonstrate a collective ability to implement mitigation measures to ensure public safety. As many of the issues are shared across sport, depending on the context in which they take place, considerable progress has been made by working together.
This guidance does not constitute legal advice, nor is it statutory guidance issued under the Regulations. It does not replace any government or Public Health Wales advice. Individuals, sports clubs, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and affected organisations should therefore continue to ensure that they seek prior independent advice including from medical practitioners in their progressive implementation of their return to sport plans.
This guidance does not itself impose any legal obligations, nor does it modify or override any existing legal obligations. Most of what is set out in this guidance reflects requirements in the Health Protection Regulations. The Regulations are law and so may be enforced by the police or local authority enforcement officers. Ultimately the responsibility for complying with any obligations lies with individuals and organisations upon whom those obligations rest. The Welsh Government shall not be responsible for any loss or damage of any kind, which may arise from any use of or reliance on this guidance. Care has been taken over the accuracy of the content of this guidance but checking that information is up to date or reflects all relevant legal requirements cannot be guaranteed and is the responsibility of the individual or organisation. It is recommended that professional specialist technical and legal advice is obtained before taking, or refraining from, any action based on information contained in this guidance.
The Welsh Government has no formal role in agreeing specific protocols developed by sports, clubs or facilities for their return to activity but this document will be reviewed and updated regularly to guide the development of those protocols.
The coronavirus control plan and current status in Wales
The Welsh Government has updated its published coronavirus control plan for Wales. This sets out four alert levels that can be applied across Wales, depending on the infection rate of the virus. These range from alert level one (low risk) to alert level four (very high risk). The Control Plan sets out what each alert level means, what is allowed and why and how we will move between levels.
Cases of coronavirus in our communities continue to fall. As the public health situation across Wales has gradually improved and the pressure on the NHS has eased, the First Minister has announced a number of relaxations to restrictions. The move to alert level 3 was completed on 3 May 2021. Further relaxations have been signalled if conditions continue to improve. However, the virus still remains a threat and so the gradual easing of restrictions remains important in order to keep the virus under control and protect public health.
Although there are still significant restrictions in place, some sport and leisure activities have been able to resume. More activities and facilities will be allowed to restart as we move through the alert levels set out in the Control Plan and further relaxations of the restrictions come into effect.
Section 2: developing a collaborative safe return for sport and exercise
Early engagement with the sport sector, facilitated by Sport Wales and the WSA, has been essential in progressing a safe return for sport and exercise. The sector has continued to develop a joined-up approach which has assisted the Welsh Government in taking decisions about which activities have been able to resume and when. This collaboration has taken the form of specific groups, with representation from the breadth of sporting activity across Wales, to consider more distinct challenges around the following themes:
- Elite and professional sports
- Outdoor sports
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities
The purpose of each group has been to develop an approach to assist the return and inform the Welsh Government’s periodic review of the regulations and guidance.
This guidance should also be considered in the context of regulations and guidance in other areas of life where there are key interdependencies that will affect the way we continue to move forward, such as restrictions on travel and education and childcare. Resumption of some activities will depend on access to natural and outdoor cultural sites. The Welsh Government has provided separate guidance on the reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues. Further information is available here: Arts, culture and sport coronavirus guidance. Advice for older and/or more vulnerable members of society, including those individuals who were previously advised on medical grounds to shield and those in the increased risk group has also had an impact on how sports, clubs and facilities have been able to plan for a phased return to activity.
The following section summarises the high-level considerations underpinning the guidance for sport and exercise to resume safely.
Our elite sportspeople are at the top level of sport and have been seeking to return to training and play as early as possible.
Under the Regulations, an elite athlete is defined as an individual who either derives a living from competing in sport; or is designated as an elite athlete for these purposes by the Sports Council of Wales; or is considered an elite or professional athlete under previous iterations of the Regulations or a sportsperson or elite athlete under the equivalent health protection regulations that apply in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The Welsh Coronavirus rules strongly encourage people to work from home, where possible. There may be a reasonable excuse to gather with others for the purpose of work but only if doing so is reasonably necessary and there is no reasonably practicable alternative. Where this applies and the workplace remains open, employers must take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. In a professional sporting context, this means that training and play for our professional sportspeople can continue, provided the clubs, as employers, take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, including maintaining physical distancing. There remains strict protocols in place to allow those athletes to train and prepare safely, without compromising their own health, and the health and safety of others.
Elite athletes include those individuals who derive a living from sport. In so far as professional sports are concerned, the players, coaches and staff will be employed or otherwise carrying out work – and when doing so they would have a reasonable excuse to gather. Should they feel unwell and display symptoms of Coronavirus, they should immediately self-isolate (as should other members of their household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines and request a Coronavirus test. Further information is available: Contact tracing: your questions.
Unless a restriction on gathering or travelling would prevent it, elite athletes and coaches of elite athletes, are allowed to:
- gather in a public place that is open for training and competing
- gather in a public place that is open to provide coaching or other support to an elite athlete, or providing support at an elite sporting event
- travel for the purposes of training or competition, or
- providing coaching or other support to an elite athlete, or providing support at:
- an elite sporting event, or
- a sporting event taking place outside Wales
Professional sportspeople, elite athletes, coaches and staff who are required to travel for the purposes of training and play should be mindful of the Welsh Government’s and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice - especially the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport in Wales, subject to exemption and reasonable excuse, and for foreign travel and the associated rules. Sportspeople, coaches and staff entering Wales, either to compete or when returning from abroad, should be aware of Welsh border rules introduced due to Coronavirus and the circumstances when they may be exempt from these rules, or be required to quarantine on arrival, but allowed to leave quarantine to train or compete in their sport.
Sport Wales has been provided with the responsibility to consider further additions to the elite athlete designation. This will be done in a controlled and phased way, where clear guidance is in place by sport governing bodies to protect all participants. The total number of people involved in the gathering must be the minimum number to allow training or play to take place safely.
Outdoor sports and associated training, especially group activities, are constrained by certain regulations put in place to control the spread of Coronavirus.
Outdoor activities (other than organised outdoor activities or events, discussed below) are dependent on the current alert level in Wales. A summary is provided below of what is permitted at each alert level.
More information on meeting other people, including further guidance, is available: Alert level 3: frequently asked questions
From 24 April 2021: Gatherings limited to a maximum of six people from up to six households (“rule of six”) are permitted. Children under 11 and the carer of a participant do not count towards this limit.
Outdoors or regulated premises, which includes sport and leisure facilities, up to six people from different households can participate in a gathering. More than this number can be permitted provided that all present in the gathering are part of the same household. Outdoors but not on regulated premises, the rule of six also applies but more people may gather if they are all from the same household or extended household.
From 26 April 2021: Outdoor attractions and outdoor swimming pools can reopen.
From 3 May 2021: Move to Alert level three completed. The rules on gathering remain unchanged from 24 April 2021 (as described above).
- Alert level two (17 May 2021 - subject to confirmation): The rules on gathering remain unchanged from 24 April 2021 (as described above).
- Alert level one: No more than 30 people, excluding under 11s and carers of participants.
Organised outdoor activities are dependent on the current alert level. A summary is provided below about what is permitted at each alert level:
From 27 March 2021: Organised children’s activities allowed to restart outdoors for those aged under 18 on 31 August 2020, provided they are for the development of well-being of the children involved. This includes a broad range of activities attended by children, including a range of clubs or classes attended on evenings and weekends including, but not limited to, sporting or cultural interests. It also includes parent and baby / toddler groups that may run during the daytime.
It does not include activities such as children’s birthday parties, or wider gatherings of families and friends, and no organised children’s activities can take place indoors at the current time. See FAQs on organised children’s outdoor activity for additional information.
From 26 April 2021: Organised outdoor activities for adults were permitted, limited to 30 people (no alcohol allowed).
From 3 May 2021: Move to Alert Level three completed. Limit for organised outdoor activities for adults increased to 30 people (as described above).
- Alert level two (17 May 2021 - subject to confirmation): Up to 50 people.
- Alert level one: Up to 100 people.
When organised activities are permitted, anybody who is working or providing a voluntary service as part of the activity does not count in calculating the limits applicable at the time, as described above. Children aged under 11 also do not count towards the limits. Coaches and match officials would generally be regarded as participants so the limits should include them. The limits on numbers do not apply if the organised activity is specifically organised for the development or well-being of children (which for those purposes means anyone under 18 on 31 August 2020).
Simultaneous gatherings of groups and individuals in the same location are allowed, where there is sufficient space to do so safely and independently (i.e. the separate gatherings of groups and individuals must not be in the same place to do something together). Events involving waves or staggered starts should not be allowed if there is any risk that the limit on the size of a gathering applicable at the time is breached during any stage of the activity.
The financial viability of some indoor and outdoor venues will be constrained by the physical distancing and reasonable measures requirements and the Welsh Government’s ‘Guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses for a phased and safe re-opening’. Consequently, even if they are allowed to open, some facility owners and operators might choose not to.
To avoid increasing the burden on the NHS and the emergency services, we continue to advise people not to take unnecessary risks while exercising or taking part in any activity. For water sports, we advise people to consider the RNLI’s essential lifeguard and safety advice on water activities at the beach on water activities at the beach, on the coast or at sea.
Sports or clubs that have been considering the potential return of events that make use of natural and outdoor cultural sites with public access (e.g. triathlons, running events) were also advised to refer to separate guidance on the reopening of those sites for recreation provided by Natural Resources Wales, and Welsh Government guidance on the reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues.
Individuals exercising outdoors should minimise risk to themselves and others and only undertake activity well within their ability. Should they feel unwell and display symptoms of Coronavirus, they and their household should immediately self-isolate, follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and request a Coronavirus test. Further information is available - Contact tracing: your questions.
Social distancing for young children is discussed in the section Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities.
Indoor sports and leisure facilities
The opening of swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres is dependent on the current alert level. When facilities are able to open, indoor sports and associated training, especially organised group activities, will remain constrained by certain regulations put in place at that time to control the spread of coronavirus.
A summary is provided below of what is permitted at each alert level:
Prior to 3 May 2021 (alert level 4): Indoor facilities were closed.
From 3 May 2021: Move to Alert level three completed. Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres, spas and swimming pools can reopen (steam rooms to remain closed). Organised indoor activities for the development or well-being of children aged under 18 on 31 August 2020 are permitted in addition to outdoor activities. Organised indoor activities for up to 15 adults (including group exercise classes) are permitted.
- Alert level two (17 May 2021 - subject to confirmation):Steam rooms can reopen. For indoor activities other than organised activities (e.g. individuals booking an indoor badminton court), up to four people, or a single household if more than four people, can meet in regulated premises (this includes sport and leisure facilities). The limit on organised indoor activities will increase to 30 people.
- Alert level one: Ice skating rinks can reopen. The limit on organised indoor activities will increase to 50 people
When organised activities are permitted, anybody who is working or providing a voluntary service as part of the activity does not count toward the limit applicable at the time. Children aged under 11 and carers do not count towards the limits. Where the activity takes place on regulated premises the responsible person must take all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing.
Further guidance on the definition of an indoor space in the context of the applicable limit for gatherings is provided later in this guidance.
Simultaneous gatherings of groups and individuals in the same location are allowed indoors, where there is sufficient space to do so safely and independently. They key point is that those separate groups or individuals must not be in the same place to do the same activity together. Activities involving waves or staggered starts should not be allowed if there is any risk that the limit on the size of a gathering applicable at the time is breached during any stage of the activity.
The latest science on micro droplet spread may mean exercise in an indoor, non-air ventilated area may carry more risk. Outdoor or open area play would carry least risk. Air conditioned rooms are not particularly effective, but opening windows and doors to the exterior on the opposite side of a building to create air flow is effective at clearing micro droplet airborne particles created when, for example, someone sneezes or shouts. Face coverings should be worn indoors by everyone over the age of 11 when not engaged in a physical activity (e.g. when waiting for a class to start, when watching on sidelines), unless they have an exemption. It is not recommended that face coverings be worn during any physical activity.
We would advise sports, clubs and facilities to consider whether and how they might return to training and/or play on this basis (e.g. maintaining distance, preventing or limiting actual contact, eliminating or minimising the use of shared equipment). Clubs, coaches, trainers or instructors should also prepare risk assessments and consider the guidance below for Sports, Clubs and Facilities, consulting with their local indoor facility owners and providers when preparing for the resumption of their sports.
Supported by Sport Wales and the Welsh Sports Association, members of the indoor sport and leisure facility operators group have collaborated to create and launch the Welsh Leisure Hub. Operators might wish to consider the best practice protocols and other material hosted on the Hub and can do so by requesting access via the preceding web link. UK Active, Swim Wales, Torfaen Leisure Trust have also produced detailed guidance and resources designed to conform with and complement this guidance. Social distancing for young children is discussed in the section Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities.
Section 3: guidance for sports, clubs and facilities
In general, the return to exercise, sport and physical activity is allowed within the current Coronavirus health regulations. Indoor and outdoor activities are constrained where premises are required to be closed and subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance.
The following section provides high-level guidance on the safe resumption of sport, within the constraints of current regulations. It is intended to assist NGBs, clubs (i.e. sport clubs and other organisations that provide regular access to sporting activities) and facilities to plan and prepare. We would especially ask NGBs to reach out to participants and facility providers / businesses beyond their traditional membership, to ensure that any ‘distanced stakeholders’ in their sport have access to important information and advice.
It is an expectation that each organisation will apply appropriate and bespoke solutions that focus on safeguarding participants, staff and the public, and will give due consideration to the local communities in which they exist and operate. For those organisations who own and manage geographically dispersed sites, it is important that approaches are appropriately tailored to local circumstances. In doing so, you must consider the rights of those with protected characteristics and how they can continue to safely access your site and activities. You must also consider how you will continue to comply with Welsh language legislation when implementing any changes.
Plans should be proportionate and reviewed regularly. Organisations should also focus on creating agile solutions that can be paused or rapidly reversed in the event of further Coronavirus outbreaks.
Public confidence will be key in supporting a successful and commercially viable return to business.
Obligations on businesses, owners and operators of premises
Indoor businesses and premises open to the public, (i.e. regulated premises) must continue to take all reasonable measures to keep people two metres apart whether on, or waiting to enter, premises, other than those who are in the same household or between a carer and the person cared for. They must also consider what other reasonable measures they must take to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. They also have a duty to provide information to those entering or working on premises about how to minimise exposure.
Where it is not reasonable to ensure a two metres distance is adhered to (e.g. where disabled customers might require assistance to access activities on an equal basis), there is also the additional duty to take any other reasonable measures to minimise risk of exposure, which might include additional protective measures, putting physical barriers in place or rearranging the layout and furniture to minimise close face-to-face contact. It might also include ceasing to carry out certain activities (e.g. where they would promote close or face-to-face contact and the risk cannot, therefore, be minimised) or closing a part of a premises (e.g. where the structure or layout prevents reasonable adaptations for mitigating measures to be implemented). More guidance on measures that should be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public is available.
Given the diversity of sport, recreation and leisure facilities across Wales, it is likely that venues may need to consider limiting or reorganising their activities to enable their facilities to open. Certain facilities (e.g. irregularly shaped or ‘fun’ pools, with features such as shallow depth ‘beach’ areas, wave machines in deeper water or long, enclosed slides) may face additional challenges in implementing reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Operators of such facilities should consider carefully whether they are able to introduce measures that properly mitigate for these risks before deciding whether to open. Local Authorities have enforcing authority powers to direct or close facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus if they have specific concerns, including cases where operators are making best efforts to conform with the Regulations and guidance. Operators are advised to consult with their Local Authority if they have any concerns, before taking a decision to open.
Physical distancing for children
For young children (those of primary school age or younger), it is less essential to attempt to rigidly maintain continual two metre distance between them, or between the children and any adults they do not live with. However, you should still take all reasonable steps to make sure they do.
Children can still transmit the virus, so parents of young children should still exercise their good judgement, and take care especially to encourage their children to follow hand hygiene measures and keep close contact to a minimum wherever possible. Even with children it is safer to meet in smaller numbers, and to meet the same people regularly rather than a range of different people.
It is recognised that for younger children, the emphasis will be on separating groups as it is accepted that they cannot physically distance from adults or from each other, therefore consistent group settings (i.e. where the child remains in the same group of children) provide an additional protective measure. Maintaining distinct contact groups that do not mix with other groups makes it quicker and easier, in the event of a positive case, to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible.
Sports, clubs and facilities should still exercise good judgement by programming and running activities to keep close contact to a minimum, wherever possible, and taking care to ensure that all other mitigations are in place.
Principles to prepare for a safe return to training and play
The principles described here for preparing a safe return to training or play illustrate the level of preparation and activity that might be expected of larger NGBs, professional or elite teams and clubs, and facilities that provide services at that level or to those organisations. They are not intended to be prescriptive for all organisations providing sporting, leisure and recreational activities. Plans for resuming training or play should be appropriate to the nature of the organisation and activity concerned and be guided by the required specific risk assessment.
However, it is important to stress that we would expect all clubs, organisations or facilities providing activities at any level, whatever their size, reach or location, to be mindful of these principles when planning for a resumption of activity, to ensure this happens safely and they have regard to Welsh Government’s general guidance on the Coronavirus regulations.
The principles should be adapted for use as required, proportionate to the level, size and scope of activities being delivered and tailored accordingly, subject (as appropriate) to medical advice and consultation with the relevant NGB. The WSA or Sport Wales may also be able to provide support, advice and identification of best practice, but would have no formal role in agreeing individual return to sport plans.
Working within public health regulations and guidelines
The definition of an organised activity and the responsibilities of persons organising an organised activity are provided in the Regulations and Welsh Government guidance.
Organised activities should only be resumed where Welsh Government guidelines on physical distancing can be followed.
Indoor and outdoor activities are constrained where premises are required to be closed subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance. Further guidance is also available at: Business closures: restrictions from 27 March.
All organised activity should be consistent with the Welsh Government’s guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene. Under current circumstances that means participants and others must be able to maintain a safe two metre distance, that good hygiene practices are in place, that equipment is disinfected regularly, and that it is clear that anyone who is symptomatic, or suspects they may have been exposed to the virus, or lives with someone with coronavirus symptoms or who has tested positive, does not take part. They should immediately self-isolate (as well as their household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a coronavirus test. Further information is available: Contact tracing: your questions. All participants, staff and volunteers should self-declare that:
- They do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19 (new persistent cough, fever, loss of or change to sense of taste or smell)
- They have not had a positive test for COVID-19 or onset of symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days. (Individuals who have completed their period of isolation (10 days) and have no remaining symptoms (other than a cough or loss of taste or smell which can last for some time) may return to normal activities)
- No member of their household has had symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- They have not been contacted by a contact tracer from the Test, Trace and Protect Programme and told to isolate in the last 14 days as a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19.
- In the case of a child under 18, they have not been contacted by their school or college and told to isolate in the last 14 days as a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19, identified to the school or college by the Test, Trace and Protect Programme.
- If they have returned from a country outside of the UK in the last 14 days, that their attendance is not in breach of any quarantine, isolation or other restrictions required in relation to their return to the UK.
- All participants, including staff and volunteers should provide up to date contact details for use by contact tracers should a positive case be identified. Where participants are children, contact details for their parent/caregiver should be taken. Guidance is available on record keeping for contact tracing purposes.
On 19 March 2021 the Welsh Government updated its coronavirus control plan. This comprehensively sets out its expectations of businesses (such as retail and other organisations that manage premises or provide services) in an incident or outbreak control situation, involving as necessary: Local Authorities, Environmental Health Officers, Health Boards, partner agencies, Public Health Wales, Food Standards Agency, The Health and Safety Executive and, of course, Welsh Government itself.
Regular updates on the response to the pandemic will be provided on the Welsh Government website.
Appointing COVID responsible officers
The organisation should appoint a responsible person/s referred to as the ‘COVID officer’, to act as the point of contact on all things related to COVID-19. The COVID officer must ensure that full risk assessments, processes and mitigating actions are in place before any sport or leisure activity takes place. Specific consideration should be given to the needs of those who are at greater risk including some older adults or those with disabilities. This really important role could be a new volunteer role or added to a current role within the club.
The Coronavirus officer appointed by a club or facility that falls under the remit of a specific NGB will additionally be responsible for ensuring that the Coronavirus medical officer of the relevant NGB is informed of any incidences of a known or suspected case of Coronavirus occurring, and incidences of an athlete returning to the training or play environment from isolation due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus or other Coronavirus related reasons. The data collected will be personal data and there are certain legal obligations in handling that data so the Coronavirus officer will need to be satisfied that they are complying with data protection law so as to protect the privacy of staff and athletes. Welsh Government guidance on keeping records and more detailed Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guidance sets out the manageable steps that you can take to comply with data protection law.
- Risk assessment is about identifying sensible measures in a timely fashion to control the risks in your training and play environment and the service you provide. The development of a risk assessment will help you decide whether all necessary issues have been addressed and help inform decisions and control measures.
- Sports / clubs should prepare a risk assessment and risk mitigation plan, to be completed before resumption of activity at each venue that determines and communicates what can or cannot be achieved in relation to training and / or play in the local context.
- The risk assessment and risk mitigation plan should be sufficient to ensure that activities can be run safely, in a manner that has regard to Welsh Government legislation and guidance and appropriately protects all individuals involved (e.g. athletes, staff, spectators). The risk assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and appropriate under changing circumstances.
- Clear protocols to manage any person who becomes symptomatic in the training or play environment should be included in the risk assessment and risk mitigation plan.
- Clear protocols to provide/display clear messaging to individuals that anyone displaying symptoms of Coronavirus should not turn up for training or to play. They should immediately self-isolate (as well as their household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a Coronavirus test. Further information is available - Contact tracing: your questions.
- Clear protocols to support the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy and the associated GDPR implications of retaining and making available people’s personal information as needed, both in terms of staff members and individuals in the training or play environment. It should be noted that the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations require reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on regulated premises (e.g. open to the public and on any premises where work takes place), as well as to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those who have been on the premises. One reasonable measure is collecting contact information from each person at the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure the contact information is correct, and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- Similarly, the risk assessment and risk mitigation plan should outline how staff who are returning to the training or play environment from self or household isolation due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus or other Coronavirus related reasons (such as having to isolate as part of a household where a member(s) was suspected or confirmed as having Coronavirus) will be medically assessed prior to return.
- A risk assessment and risk mitigation plan should also be prepared for single sporting events and competitions, such as for matches being played behind closed doors that are broadcast live on television.
- Employers have a duty to consult employees on health and safety. Workers should be involved in assessing workplace risks and the development and review of workplace health and safety policies in partnership with the employer. They should be supported by their trades union or other representative organisation where appropriate. Employees should be encouraged to identify, speak up and feedback on risks and control measures, so they can be adapted.
When thinking about risk, key principles include:
- considering possible harms to both the physical and mental health of participants, staff, volunteers and visitors;
- minimising the need for journeys, particularly journeys on public transport where the use of face coverings is mandatory, and face-to-face contact;
- considering quarantine periods for travel to/from other countries and who is exempt from self-isolation requirements;
- considering the age and vulnerability of people;
- considering the minimum safe levels of staffing – for example to maintain the specific Coronavirus protocols, or in the event of a member of staff or volunteer becoming unwell, or needing to isolate repeatedly (this may affect visitor capacity on site);
- putting arrangements in place in the event of someone becoming unwell whilst on the premises;
- keeping risk assessments as ‘live’ documents and regularly reviewed; and
- recognising that communication, training, and appropriate equipment are significant factors in helping to reduce risk.
- Training for sport and leisure operators / coaches and clubs on Covid Awareness and Duty of Care training, relating to the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations, are available through the Welsh Sports Association.
Coronavirus symptoms or returning from illness
- Each NGB should have a named Coronavirus medical officer, familiar with the emerging evidence related to post-Coronavirus pathology, who is expected to:
- Lead on ensuring any suspected or confirmed Coronavirus cases are managed in line with the sport’s Coronavirus case management protocols and current government guidance;
- Have medical oversight of the return to training of any athletes that had suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus; and
- Support the NGB’s Coronavirus officer with any medical aspects of the risk assessment and mitigation process, and similarly advise the Coronavirus officers appointed by any club or facility falling under the remit of that NGB.
- Sports that do not have access to a medical officer to cover these responsibilities should secure medical cover to oversee these processes prior to resuming activity. Regular screening for symptoms within the training or play environment may be carried out by an appropriately trained professional, working with a set of protocols defined in the risk assessment mitigation plan and signed off by the medical officer.
Athletes should all be made fully aware by clubs/sporting facilities of what is required of them if they suspect they have COVID-19, or tested positive for COVID-19, or someone in their household is suspected of having or is confirmed as having COVID-19. In any of those instances they need to remain at home and self-isolate, and arrange to be tested. Further information is available - Contact tracing: your questions.
- Athletes who are returning to the training or play environment from isolation due to suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus or other Coronavirus related reasons (such as having to isolate as part of a household where a member[s] was suspected or confirmed as having Coronavirus) should only start exercising when they feel well enough to do so and should seek up-to-date guidance on steps needed to return to the training or play environment before resuming strenuous exercise. In response to emerging evidence of increased need for rehabilitation services as a direct and indirect result of COVID-19, the Welsh Government published a rehabilitation framework and underpinning population specific guidance to support health boards and local authorities to plan services to meet that increased need.
- Should a suspected Coronavirus case occur in the training or play environment, or an individual be identified as a contact of a known case, the individual/s in question should be immediately isolated at the training venue and required to return home to self-isolate and follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a coronavirus test. The appointed Coronavirus officer for the club, facility or NGB responsible for the training or play activity at which the known or suspected case occurred should be immediately informed if they have not been involved with identifying and isolating the case at the training venue.
- The data collected will be personal data and there are certain legal obligations in handling that data so the Coronavirus officer will need to be satisfied that they are complying with data protection law so as to protect the privacy of staff and athletes. Welsh Government guidance on keeping records and more detailed Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guidance sets out the manageable steps that you can take to comply with data protection law. Welsh Government guidance on keeping records and more detailed Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guidance sets out the manageable steps that you can take to comply with data protection law. The individual affected and anyone they may have come into close contact with in the training or play environment should be reminded of the actions they should take as part of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy.
- Test, Trace, Protect will mean asking people to report symptoms, testing anyone in the community who is showing symptoms of Coronavirus, and tracing those they have come into close contact with.
- The Welsh Government has published guidance on employers' responsibilities to help with Coronavirus testing and contact tracing. Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations require reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on regulated premises (e.g. open to the public and on any premises where work takes place), as well as to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those who have been on the premises. One reasonable measure is collecting contact information from each person at the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure the contact information is correct, and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- Athletes or staff who had previously been ‘shielding’ on medical grounds or are at increased risk from COVID-19 should continue to follow Welsh Government advice. This permits them to leave home for any reason, including exercise, but they should closely follow the social distancing rules. These individuals can therefore return to organised training or play as long as they are satisfied the training venues are COVID-19 secure and all reasonable measures are put in place to protect them and limit any risk of them contracting Coronavirus. They can also now go to work (if they cannot work from home) as long as the business is COVID secure (has taken reasonable measures to minimise risk to employees).
Timetable for reopening
- You should only reopen or restart activities when the regulations allow and as soon as you feel able to do so safely. Until you feel it is safe and responsible to reopen you should remain closed.
- It is for each employer to decide when is the appropriate time to return staff to work and, where appropriate, to cease any relevant claims for wages currently being made via the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme.
- A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work - if it does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.
- When planning for any reopening, you will need to consider any notice periods or other arrangements required for furloughed or redeployed staff to return to work.
Costs of reopening
- The Welsh Government will not generally help meet the cost of reopening and it will be for each organisation to determine whether it is right for them to re-open at a given time. Sports and hosts (as applicable) will need to discuss and agree how any abnormal costs that arise from mobilising a facility for use during restricted periods will be handled prior to training or play being resumed.
- There are potentially other sources of support through Sport Wales or possibly NGBs, but there will be priorities for such funding and therefore support cannot be guaranteed.
- Separate guidance on options for councils in supporting leisure providers has been published by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
- The Welsh Government has published guidance for the general public on face coverings and Coronavirus and for employers and managers of premises. These cover how and when you should wear a face covering to protect those around you, including on public transport. Wearing a face covering is mandatory for everyone in Wales in the indoor areas of premises that are open to public, transport hubs and on public transport unless a person has an exemption from wearing one. Face coverings may also be mandated for indoor areas not open to the public where 2m distancing cannot be maintained. It is important that facilities operators, activity organisers and customers / participants are familiar with these guidances and understand what is required of them. It is not recommended that face coverings be worn by individuals whilst they are undertaking any physical exertion, but face coverings must be worn when their activity stops, when they are not directly participating (e.g. watching others), or moving between rooms etc.
- Organisations will need to communicate clearly and regularly with members and participants, setting out what they are doing to manage risk and what advice they are giving to individuals to do likewise.
- Ideally organisations should publish an action plan detailing their plans to re-open safely and the steps they are taking to avoid and reduce the potential of transmission.
- Organisations should also clearly communicate opening times and how people can safely access a facility, if relevant - for example, through a booking or queuing system.
- It is more important than ever to consider inclusive guidance for people who need support to be active. Organisations should consider this as part of their work to encourage people to return.
- Ensure that all policies are reviewed regularly (at least monthly) and particularly in light of changes to government guidance, lessons learned and any other examples of best practice elsewhere.
Section 4: principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities
Facilities supporting the public health crisis
- the resumption of organised sport should not in any way limit the host’s ability to support ongoing usage of the facility for supporting the NHS or key worker requirements, for example with the roll out of a vaccination programme.
Appointing responsible officers
- each facility should have its own named Coronavirus officer. The officer should be responsible for oversight of the venue’s Coronavirus risk assessment and mitigation plan, ensuring the necessary level of risk assessment and mitigation has taken place and that sports and hosts can adhere to the guidance within their facility.
- all hosts must ensure staff and visitors are formally appraised of the risks and mitigating steps being taken.
- venues should provide information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
- Indoor and outdoor activities are subject to the limits on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance.
- simultaneous organised activities of up to 15 people are allowed within a large space indoors (space such as a swimming pool, a gym or a sports hall) and up to 30 within a large space outdoors (such as a large playing field), as long as the space allows for physical distancing, with groups and individuals separated and managed safely. This should only be considered where space is sufficient to allow 100sqft per person on land or 3sqm per bather in a pool, as set out in UK Active Guidance, where entry and exit for individuals and groups can be managed, and where the space can be partitioned or separated so individuals and groups do not interact, without limiting the ability to allow appropriate ventilation and control environmental factors such as humidity in each space indoors.
- where multiple sports/clubs are utilising the same training site/s all Coronavirus officers should share their risk assessments and operational plans, to ensure alignment and avoid any potential conflict between plans.
- hosts of venues being re-opened should only agree to operate where they are able to comply with the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations have given due regard to current Welsh Government and Public Health Wales advice and when all the usual essential insurance cover that is required to run the facilities is in place and remains valid.
- sports and hosts should discuss and agree how any abnormal costs that arise from mobilising a facility for use during restricted periods will be handled prior to training being resumed.
- separate guidance on options for councils in supporting leisure providers has been published by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
Employees and protecting people at work
- it is a legal requirement that all reasonable actions will have been taken in order to minimise transmission of Coronavirus in the workplace. The Welsh Government has issued guidance on taking all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public, and also guidance for employers and employees on keeping safe in the workplace.
- all reasonable measures must be taken to maintain a two metre distance between individuals in the workplace. The guidance above will help when considering the measures needed to reduce infection transmission rates at work.
- additional practical issues to consider include:
- how staff enter and leave the workplace;
- where face coverings should be worn by staff;
- adoption of one-way foot traffic through core thoroughfares if at all possible;
- arrangements for staff car parking / bicycles;
- protocols for back of house access including handling deliveries, visiting contractors, cash handling (where it is necessary and unavoidable);
- how to conduct meetings on- and offsite, including remote working; and
- the need for thorough and more regular cleaning of staff facilities and toilets.
You should also consider:
- appropriate training and briefing of staff and volunteers in the context of the new Coronavirus related roles and responsibilities;
- employee well-being, for example, how worried staff may feel about coming back into the building/site;
- the possibility of increased levels of absence affecting critical activities and how this could be managed (for example consider training several members of staff to cover different roles);
- updating human resources policies and procedures to take account of coronavirus related matters (such as those relating to sickness, absence, well-being, mental health, remote/flexible working and training – remember to address new reasons for absence including close contact isolation or requiring time off work to take care of a dependent) and clearly communicating the changes to staff;
- providing support to staff returning to work following traumatic events such as the death or illness of a loved one, or financial difficulty;
- minimising the levels of interaction between staff – for example through shift patterns, flexible working, staggered breaks and use of welfare facilities;
- implementing additional specialised safe working practices that may be relevant to your setting - in consultation with staff, staff representatives and volunteers; (For example: New arrangements if sharing of workstations and associated equipment/utensils exists, whereby thorough and increased frequency of cleaning in between use by different members of staff is introduced, to provide staff reassurance);
- let staff know how they can raise workplace health and safety concerns, and draft a protocol for how these issues can be resolved;
- remember that some staff may still be at home and try to keep open lines of communication with them, and involve them in planning for the reopening and future changes.
- allowing and enabling a person who ordinarily works at the premises to isolate for a specified period due to testing positive for coronavirus or having had close contact with somebody who has tested positive, where that person has been asked to do so by the Welsh Ministers or has been required to do so by a otification given by a contact tracer.
- making sure staff are aware of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy and the organisation’s requirements to comply with that strategy, as well as the associated data protection implications of retaining and making people’s personal information available to contact tracers if needed, both in terms of staff members and individuals in the training or play environment. Staff should be made aware of the data held on them, the retention policy and that their contact detailscould be released if needed as part of a Test, Trace, Protect investigation. It should be noted that swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities, it is a legal requirement to collect and retaining contact information for 21 days, for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- Booking in advance, online or over the phone is preferable. Where this is not possible, and a venue has staff available to take bookings (for courts or rounds, for example), consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash.
- Remember that some people do not have internet access. You should make provision for them to be able to make bookings / enquiries offline.
Test, Trace, Protect
- You should implement an appropriate and thorough record-keeping system to support the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy, in terms of staff on duty at the facilities and individuals using the facilities at venues, to ensure they can be traced, contacted, advised to self-isolate and tested accordingly for Coronavirus in the event of them having used the facilities, or been working at the venue, at the same time as an individual using the facilities, or staff member, who has since tested positive for Coronavirus. It should be noted that the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations require reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on regulated premises (e.g. open to the public and on any premises where work takes place), as well as to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those who have been on the premises. One reasonable measure is collecting contact information from each person at the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure the contact information is correct, and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
- When taking bookings, venues will need to ensure that facility users are duly advised (verbally by phone, or via a website or on-line booking system) of the need and reasons under data protection rules for their personal information to be retained, and the duration required, to support the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy.
- Ensure, where possible, that windows and doors to the exterior on the opposite side of a building are opened to create air flow, as this is most effective at clearing micro droplet airborne particles created when, for example, someone sneezes or shouts.
- 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.
- For fully mechanical centralised air-conditioning systems, which both deliver and extract air from multiple rooms it is best practice to avoid recirculation of air. All centralised mechanical ventilation systems should have the facility to turn off recirculation and use only a fresh air supply.
- Employers are required to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air through natural or mechanical ventilation and this has not changed.
- In some cases, general ventilation can be improved by opening doors etc. but HSE is not proposing to issue additional guidance on the subject. Those in control of premises retain a legal duty (see HSE Workplace health, safety and welfare Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992: Regulation 6 covers ventilation) to ensure effective ventilation
- For mechanical systems in individual rooms, where recirculation modes enable higher rates of supply of fresh air to be provided to a space, for example by the prevention of cold draughts, then these devices should be allowed to operate.
- Fans would obviously recirculate the current air, so would not be advised.
- Check 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.
- Maintaining good ventilation in the work environment. For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated and expanded its advice to help employers provide adequate ventilation in their workplaces and premises during the pandemic. The guidance builds on helping you to identify and take action in poorly ventilated areas. It also provides guidance on other factors to consider when assessing the risk from aerosol transmission, and determining whether adequate ventilation is being provided to reduce this risk.
You should be maximising the fresh air in a space and this can be done by:
- natural ventilation
- mechanical ventilation
- a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation, for example where mechanical ventilation relies on natural ventilation to maximise fresh air
Read the updated guidance on air conditioning and ventilation and find out how you can provide adequate ventilation in your workplace, helping to protect workers and other people from transmission of coronavirus.
There is also advice available for building services, particularly around ventilation of buildings, both in use and when returning to buildings which have been closed. It can be accessed from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, The Building Engineers Services Association, and REHVA.
- Where mains water has been turned off or unused since the close of the premises at lockdown, when it is reconnected it will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residues built up while the water supply was disconnected. Swimming pools, water tanks etc. will need to be cleaned and refilled after the water supply has been flushed. Drinking Water Inspectorate: Maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the CoViD-19 outbreak.
- Further information:
- Drinking Water Inspectorate: 'Advice letter on maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the CoViD-19 outbreak' and 'Guidance on drinking water supply operations in response to coronavirus (CoViD-19)'.
- Health and Safety Executive: Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak.
Keeping facilities and equipment clean
- Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit Coronavirus transmission in public places.
- Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products, is advised.
- Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly including door handles, door plates, light switches, keyboards, counters, handrails and gates, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.
- Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from work areas at the end of a shift.
- Limiting or restricting use of high-touch items and equipment, for example, printers or whiteboards.
- If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific guidance for cleaning non-healthcare settings.
- To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to:
- Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue (which is then binned safely) or your arm if a tissue is not available;
- Using signage to provide reminders about 2m distancing and wearing face coverings in indoor public places;
- Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain thorough hand hygiene standards;
- Providing alcohol based hand sanitiser in multiple locations, particularly key entry and exit points, in addition to washrooms;
- Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for changing rooms and toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible;
- Enhancing frequency of cleaning for busy areas;
- Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection;
- Replacing hand dryers with paper towels in handwashing facilities;
- Provision of automated soap dispensers in washrooms if possible
- Minimising use of portable toilets; and
- Sufficient provision of automated hand sanitising dispensers in public places.
- Where catering is provided, consider mandating contactless or at least card payment at till points, to avoid handling cash, and frequent cleaning of card machine where keypad use has been required. Also ensure the two metre physical distancing between queuing customers, and also between servers and customers when food or drink is handed over.
- Where shower and changing facilities are required, set clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that physical distancing is achieved as much as possible.
- Introduce enhanced cleaning of all shower and changing facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.
Section 5: organised activities and team sports a framework for developing bespoke guidance
The Welsh Government recognises the vital role sport and physical activity plays in ensuring physical and mental health. The return of team sport must be made as safe as possible, which is why the Welsh Government is sharing this guidance and sport governing bodies in Wales will be preparing thorough plans of their own. It is recognised that risk in sport cannot be completely eradicated, but with caution and care, risks can be reduced and the benefits of team sport enjoyed fully again.
The purpose of this guidance is to outline the necessary mitigations required to enable the return of organised activities and team sports. The framework outlined in this section is designed to minimise the transmission risk whilst taking part in recreational team sport and enable participants to make an informed decision about their own risk.
The definition of an organised activity and the responsibilities of persons organising an organised activity are provided in Regulations, FAQs and guidance on leaving your home and seeing other people published for each alert level. All organised activity should be overseen by a Covid Officer with documented risk assessments undertaken and mitigating actions put in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of participants, coaches and officials. Indoor and outdoor organised activities are subject to the limits applicable at the time on the number of people who are able to gather, which are explained in the earlier sections of this guidance. All organisers of organised activities are required to take all reasonable measures to ensure that two metres physical distancing is maintained but we recognise there are some limited circumstances, given the very nature of sport, where activities will involve closer interaction.
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces – usually those that are frequently touched. Both are relevant outside gameplay too, as participants travel, congregate, prepare, and socialise. Equal attention must therefore be paid to this full range of risks.
Where participants are likely to be in close proximity (within 2m) or in contact, efforts should be made to limit this contact if it cannot be avoided altogether, and organisers and National Governing Bodies should consider all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including whether the activity really needs to proceed. In cases where such an activity does proceed, mitigating actions must be put in place to minimise risk and keep participants safe, including the following:
- The relevant NGB gives due regard to the guidance contained in this, the Welsh Government’s ‘Sport, Recreation and Leisure Guidance: guidance for a safe return to sport and exercise’.
- The activity should take place under the relevant NGB’s oversight and in accordance with the relevant NGB’s safeguarding policies and procedures, with particular consideration to the needs of children and young people under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults.
- The NGB has in place an action plan for the sport and any related guidance, demonstrating its mitigations (taking into account the principles and advice set out in this guidance), how it plans to operate, and any adaptations required. The sport specific action plan and risk mitigation proposal must recognise that practice may need to be adapted or curtailed and this information communicated to participants swiftly, if the overall threat level or community prevalence of COVID-19, dictates.
- The NGB’s action plan should:
- focus on providing sporting activity involving as few participants as possible, for the minimum amount of time, whilst still allowing the activity to run effectively. This may also require a change to game formats, numbers and/or rules to minimise risk to participants;
- provide an assessment of the transmission risk that a return to competitive recreational activity represents based on three key variables:
- Droplet transmission: The risk associated with each action in an activity based on duration and proximity of participants. By using the framework, sports can determine the risk of actions in their match play environment – anything, for example, from tackling, to bowling, to re-start – which will then determine the overall level of risk of taking part in that sport.
- Fomite transmission: The risk associated with the handling and transfer of equipment in the sport.
- Population: The number of participants likely to take part in the proposed activity plus known risk factors of participants with underlying health conditions or high risk groups, who wish to participate (please refer to the Welsh Government’s guidance on shielding and on people at increased risk from coronavirus. Based on this overall risk profile some recreational sports will be lower risk than others and better suited to return to competitive play earlier with or without adaptation.
These mitigating actions apply equally to any organised activities outside the direct oversight of a sport NGB – for example, an activity organised by a business, a public body, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, or a club or political organisation. In these situations, the organising body is responsible for having due regard to this guidance. Section 3 of this guidance, entitled, ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ provides more information on the preparations required.
Key principles: prior to activity
Each club must only return to sport when they have the appropriate measures in place as developed by the NGB in accordance with this Welsh Government guidance.
All recreational clubs must develop a COVID-19 plan and risk assessment prior to activity. Preparation should include those in charge of the session taking part in specific training, as necessary, and participants being asked to consider if their underlying health, may caution against participation. Please refer to the relevant section of the ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ for more information to help you prepare.
All reasonable measures must be taken to ensure physical distancing is maintained at all times on regulated premises whilst people are gathered for organised activities.
Test, Trace, Protect
NGBs and clubs should ensure that activity organisers are aware of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy and of their organisation’s requirements to comply with that strategy, as well as the associated GDPR implications of retaining and making available people’s personal information as needed, both in terms of officials and players in the recreational sport setting. It should be noted that swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities, it is a legal requirement to collect and retain contact information for 21 for the purpose of providing, on their request, to the Welsh Ministers and/or a contact tracer. The person responsible for the premises is required to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted (including a telephone number, and, in relation to a person at regulated premises, the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
Activity organisers should support Test, Trace, Protect by collecting information on participants at both training and matches. Each sport / NGB will determine in their action plan or guidance the process their sport will go through to enable Test, Trace, Protect efforts to happen, by clearly explaining the way in which all information on participants will be collected at both training and matches.
Pre-attendance official symptom check
All participants, officials, and volunteers should undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in sport if they, or someone they live with, is symptomatic, has been tested positive for the virus - or suspects they may have been exposed to the virus. They should immediately self-isolate (as well as their household and extended household), follow the Welsh Government’s self-isolation guidelines, and apply for a Coronavirus test. Further information is available: guidance for households with possible coronavirus and daily contact tracing check: symptoms, guidance and support.
Activity organisers should ensure, upon arrival, that participants have completed a self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms. Entry should be refused to anyone who is unable to provide assurance that they have done so and that to the best of their knowledge it is safe for them to take part. Anyone refused entry on this basis must be instructed to immediately self-isolate and to follow the steps set out above.
Participants will be made aware of any increased risk associated with taking part in activity, based on the assessment undertaken by the governing or organising body. They should also be strongly advised to follow Welsh Government advice on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus outside the sports setting, to reduce the risk to their fellow participants when they do attend.
Travel to training and matches
Participants to be encouraged to follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport (but complying with the mandatory use of face coverings where public transport is necessary) and limiting car sharing. Walk or cycle if you can.
Arrival at venues
Clubs should strictly limit the time spent congregating at a venue before activity begins and physical distancing must be applied at all times. Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings by persons over 11 years of age are required during any time spent in indoor public places prior to, during and after training/the match. Meet-up times should reflect this. This includes arriving changed and ready to begin the warm up, if possible, to minimise time spent waiting. It is not recommended, however, that face coverings be worn indoors or outdoors by individuals during physical exertion.
Key principles: during activity
Physical distancing in play
All activities must adhere to physical distancing throughout warm-ups and avoid equipment sharing. The sport specific action plan must address the issue of how the sport can best mitigate the risk of lack of physical distancing in competitive matches and training.
Having completed the droplet transmission risk assessment each sport may introduce ‘COVID-19 adaptations’ to lower the frequency of activities that cannot be done whilst physically distanced. Avoid unnecessary breaking of physical distancing such as pre-game handshakes, huddles, and celebrations.
Physical distancing during breaks and post-game
All participants must remain physically distanced during breaks in play with spaced areas for equipment and refreshment storage for each individual including officials and substitutes. Coaching staff and substitutes, should, for example, spread out and avoid sharing a dug-out or bench if physical distancing cannot be observed.
Water bottles or other refreshment containers, should in no circumstances be shared. Participants are advised to bring their own, in a named container.
After activity participants must maintain physical distancing for social interaction.
Use of equipment
Sports should give consideration on how to protect participants in relation to all equipment use and the risk of transmission. Sharing of equipment should be avoided where possible, particularly that used around the head and face e.g. helmets. Where equipment is shared, equipment must be cleaned to the appropriate standard before use according to guidance by another person. Check the latest guidance on cleaning.
Participants should take their kit home to wash it themselves, rather than have one person handling a large quantity of soiled materials. Where kit absolutely has to be shared or kept together (e.g. last minute stand-in players, shortage of kit, or an essential club function), each person handling it must wash or sanitise their hands immediately after.
For sports where a common ball needs to be handled by multiple players (e.g. basketball, cricket, or football) a risk-reduction plan is required.
Match officials, medics and coaches
Match officials should observe the governing body guidance in the same way as participants are required to. Match officials must remain physically distanced from players where possible during play. Should match officials, and in particular medics, not be able to remain physically distanced due to their role in the sport, their sport should conduct a risk assessment to see if other mitigations may be necessary (e.g. appropriate personal protective equipment).
Adherence to measures
A code of behaviour should be developed by each sport to ensure a commitment for all involved to adhere to COVID-19 adaptations. Match officials will be empowered to ensure measures are adhered to through appropriate sanctions designed by the NGB. Participants must be clear that they are opting in to participating as defined in the sport-specific guidance with regard to risk and risk mitigation.
Injuries during play should still be treated as participant wellbeing is utmost. The best way to protect yourself and others is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene. An increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and equipment, using standard household cleaning and disinfection products, is recommended. Face coverings are also advisable when undertaking treatment.
After contact with an injured participant, clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This advice is applicable to all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact or the minimum two metre physical distancing was maintained. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose. Physios or their equivalent, should keep a record of each participant they have come into contact with for Test, Trace, Protect purposes.
Supporters and other spectators should generally be limited to only those persons who need to attend, e.g. parents or guardians of children who require their attendance for health or safeguarding reasons. Where a small number of spectators do have a reasonable excuse to attend, they are to remain physically distanced from each other and from the area of play at all times, including accessing and leaving the venue, use of any facilities (wearing face coverings as appropriate where facilities are indoors) and whilst watching game play. Any such spectators should not use this as an excuse to socialise, and should be discouraged from shouting, cheering etc.
For sports reliant on third party owned or managed facilities, adherence to these guidelines should be worked out collaboratively between club and facility. Facility operators should refer to the full guidance in the ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ section of this guidance, which includes principles to prepare for a safe return to training and play, and the safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities. Responsibility for the requirement to take preventative measures to minimise risk on regulated premises rests with the “responsible person”. For the purposes of the regulations, that person is the person responsible for the premises.
Movement on site
All venues must have entry, exit and parking arrangements that ensures physical distancing can be maintained. They must display the appropriate signage that complies with the Equality Act 2010, and have other appropriate measures in place for people with protected characteristics, to facilitate physical distancing at all points throughout the facility and car park, and will:
- implement traffic flow systems where possible and appropriate.
- outline physically distanced areas for teams, officials and spectators.
- ensure that all accessible provision within the site and the facility are available.
Changing rooms and showers
Changing rooms and showers are an area of increased risk of transmission and their use should be avoided, where possible. All venues should encourage players to arrive at the facility in sports kit and, where possible, to travel home to change/shower.
If changing rooms and showers are to be used, for example after swimming, water sports or activities during inclement weather, users should use the facilities as quickly as possible and the following measures will usually be needed:
- Where mains water has been turned off or unused since the close of the premises at lockdown, when it is reconnected it will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residues built up while the water supply was disconnected (see additional guidance in section 4, ‘Principles to prepare for safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities’.
- Set clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items, controlling the number of individuals using those facilities at any one time to ensure compliance with the rules on indoor gatherings, that physical distancing is achieved as much as possible, and requiring the wearing of face coverings (as appropriate) for those aged 11 and over.
- Consider closing communal showers if possible.
- Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.
- For additional reassurance, prove cleaning materials and hand sanitiser for customer use at touch points.
- Provide additional signposting in these areas to maintain physical distancing.
- Considering changes in policies to ensure limited time is taken in changing areas, especially during the changeover of group activity to maintain physical distancing.
Toilets will need to be opened pre-match, during the match and for 30 minutes following the match. Toilets should be cleaned regularly in line with the information provided in the relevant section “keeping facilities clean” in the ‘Guidance for sports, clubs and facilities’ section of this guidance, and capacity should be managed via entry and exit and to allow for the two metres physical distancing to be maintained. Guidance on reopening toilets for public use is also available.
Participants must be encouraged to refrain from spitting or rinsing out their mouths on or around the playing area.
Clubhouses and hospitality
Venues will only use clubhouses and hospitality facilities in line with the Welsh Government Coronavirus Regulations and with due regard to Welsh Government guidance on hospitality settings.
If facilities remain closed, exceptions must be made for essential activity such as provision of first-aid or access to essential equipment for the match.
The UK Government has published a team sports risk exposure framework to inform risk mitigation strategies, and proposals to assist in the mitigation of transmission of COVID-19 during sporting activities. National Governing Bodies might find this useful as a template for their own plans but should note that the physical distancing requirements in Wales differ from those in England and should be applied if this framework is adopted.