Leisure in lockdown: Which activities are back on the cards?

Credit: PA

As the lockdown restrictions begin to be relaxed in England we look at which recreational activities will be back on offer first.

"Unlimited" exercise

From Wednesday (13 May) the government are encouraging people to take more outdoor exercise.

The coronavirus recovery strategy, [announced by Boris Johnson earlier this week](http://Coronavirus: Main points on how England is adjusting lockdown rules), says people will be able to exercise "as many times each day as they like", and this can be done with one other person from outside of their household.

However, the guidelines stress that the two-metre social distancing rule must be obeyed when people are with people they do not live with.

While activities such as tennis, golf, basketball and angling will be allowed, other team sports will not yet be permitted.

Outdoor gyms and playgrounds will also remain closed during step one of the lifting of the restrictions, as these offer a higher risk of contact and contamination.

Gatherings with more than 2 people from different households are still banned and if the meeting is between 2 people from different households, these meetings cannot take place indoors.

This is because according to the government's advice "the risk of infection is significantly lower outside than it is inside".

Playgrounds and outdoor gyms will remain off limits. Credit: PA

Driving to parks and spaces "irrespective of distance"

Under the new guidelines people will now be able to drive to open parks and spaces "irrespective of their distance".

However, as the new guidelines in England differ to those in other UK countries, the strategy states: “When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.”

Sunbathing and having picnics will also be allowed from Wednesday (13 May). This can be done in the company of one other person from another household, providing that social distancing (2 metre rule) is in place.

These new rules have sparked concern and campaigns in tourist hotspots such as the Peak District.

Derbyshire's Police and Crimes Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, told us that relaxation of the lockdown will put the police in a very difficult position.

He added "I hope they're right, I hope the government are right".

Garden centres

Gardeners in England could also rejoice at the idea of garden centres, the symbol of British leisure, also reopening on Wednesday (13 May).

Social distancing rules will be in place and customers will likely be expected to use hand sanitiser on entry and pay with card payments only.

As they prepare to open their doors, a centre in Burton-Upon-Trent told us they were delighted that they could finally reopen their doors to their customers.


Tennis nets will also be put back up on outdoor courts across England as the new government lockdown measures come into place.

Singles games will be able to be played outside providing social distancing rules are followed. Doubles games can be played if all of the players are from the same household.

Tennis players are also being advised by the Lawn Tennis Association to bring their own equipment and mark their own tennis ball to avoid touching someone else's.

Outdoor tennis courts will be permitted to reopen in England. Credit: PA


Golf courses will also reopen on Wednesday (13 May) and players will be permitted to play alone or with one other person from their household.

The R&A have released guidance and protocols for courses, including a heavy focus on social distancing.

The difference between lockdown guidelines for Wales and England has caused one club on the border of the two countries particular confusion.

Games of gold will be allowed to be played alone or with one other member of the same household. Credit: PA Images


Outdoor basketball courts will also reopen on Wednesday (May 13) following the announcement of Boris Johnson's plan to ease the lockdown.

Basketball players will be able to play games as a team, providing social distancing rules are obeyed and they remain 2 metres apart.

Basketball courts will also reopen and games can be played providing social distancing rules are obeyed. Credit: PA


Fishing with a rod is another leisure activity that has been allowed to restart under the new lockdown guidelines.

Riverbanks in the Midlands have been empty for almost two months now, but stores selling rods, tackle and bait have been busy since Sunday's announcement.

Angling is another leisure activity back on the cards. Credit: ITV News Central

The extra freedom will be welcomed by many. However, the government have warned that if the new guidelines are not taken seriously (for example if people mix in groups in parks) the rate of infection could increase again.

If this becomes the case the PM stressed that further restrictions will once again be necessary.

He said "these measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date."

Watch Gareth Owen's full report: