COVID-19 Latest Updates

This is STA’s dedicated page for keeping members up-to-date with all the latest government announcements relating to COVID-19 restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

🦠 Check Out Our COVID-19 Best Practice Guidance Here

  • Date: 5th May 2021: England Update on Private Homes

    From 17th May, indoor gatherings of up to six people or two households can take place in private homes in England– this will include swimming lessons for up to six people or from two households. Social distancing and hygiene measures should still be maintained.

    Please also note that the teacher / instructor acting in a workforce capacity is exempt from the aforementioned rules on gatherings, however, they must remain socially distanced from their learner(s), where possible. This is as per Sport England guidance.

  • Date: 23rd April 2021: Wales Update

    The Welsh Government has confirmed today a new timetable for easing lockdown rules in Wales, and this includes the reopening of indoor swimming pools and the restart of organised adult and children’s swimming lessons and exercise classes from 3rd May (two weeks earlier than originally planned).

    The key dates, subject to the public health situation staying the same or improving, as compared to now:

    26th April 2021

    • Outdoor swimming pools can reopen
    • COVID-safe organised activities for 30 people can take place outside with a designated organiser, i.e. with a coach / teacher / swim school / club.

     

    3rd May 2021

    • Gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools can reopen
    • COVID-safe indoor organised activities for 15 adults will be allowed, including exercise classes and swimming lessons
    • COVID-safe indoor supervised activities for children can restart i.e. children’s swimming lessons.
  • Date: 15th April 2021: Northern Ireland Update

    The Northern Ireland Executive set out its new optimistic roadmap today, and while there are still many unanswered questions around swimming lessons, what we do know so far is:

    • From 1 April, outdoor sports facilities, including outdoor swimming pools re-opened. However, clubhouses and indoor sports facilities (changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms), apart from essential toilet facilities must stay closed.
    • On the 12th of April, outdoor 1:1 PT sessions or with multiple people from one other household resumed (up to 10 people, including children, from no more than two households).
    • On the 23rd April* – Organised group sports, including COVID-safe swimming lessons can resume outdoors.
    • On 30th April* – indoor swimming pools can reopen for individual training – group activities in pools will however still be off-limits.
    • On 24th May** (Expected) – indoor group exercise and training can return with suitable numbers depending on the size of the venue.

    *These are ‘indicative’ dates based on if infection rates continue to decrease.
    **At the end of April, the Northern Ireland Executive will look at the plan for May.

  • Date: 8th April 2021: Wales Update

    Some of the measures, related to leisure, that were originally introduced by the First Minister have been brought forward by a week in Wales – sooner than planned as cases have fallen markedly.

    Monday 26th April (previously 3rd May)

    • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can resume.

     

    Monday 7th May (previously 10th May)

    • Indoor swimming pools will be able to reopen for individual use and one-to-one training only.

     

    With the activities scheduled to re-open on Monday 17th May, there are no further details as yet, as to whether they will also be moved forward by a week. As it stands currently, it is still Monday 17th May for the following (hopefully, this will be confirmed at the next review on 22nd April).

    Monday 17th May

    • Indoor children’s activities, i.e., swimming lessons can resume
    • Organised indoor activities for adults, limited to a maximum of 15 people (including exercise classes) can also reopen.

     

    Further information here.

  • Date: 6th April 2021: Scotland Update

    From Monday 26th April

    • Indoor leisure centres and gyms, including swimming pools can reopen for individual or same household recreational swimming
    • Children’s swimming lessons can resume (under 18s).

     

    From Monday 17th May

    • Adult swimming lessons can resume
    • Non-contact adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can resume.

    Please note: While this is the planned timeline for Scotland, exact dates will be down to localised decisions and may vary. Also, maximum bubble sizes for group activity beyond 17th May are still under Government review.

  • Date: 5th April 2021: England Update

    Following on from the news that Step 2 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown has been given the green light in England to start on 12th April, please find here an update on what this means.

    Monday 12th April

    • Indoor leisure centres and gyms, including swimming pools can reopen for individual or same household recreational swimming
    • All organised COVID-safe children’s activities (including swimming lessons) and indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents) can restart
    • COVID-safe Adult 1:1 or same household swimming lessons can restart indoors, in premises that are classified as business premises*.

     

    *Private Homes: Adult 1:1 or same household swimming lessons can take place outside in a private residential garden in an outdoor pool only (not a covered pool), and ONLY in an indoor pool if the premises are classified as business premises. Please also note that the teacher / instructor acting in a workforce capacity is exempt from the rules on gatherings, however, they must remain socially distanced from their learner(s), where possible during the 1:1 or same household lesson. This is as per Sport England guidance.

    Step 3 – 17th May

    • Organised adult indoor group sports and exercise classes.

     

  • Date: 31st March 2021: Wales Update

    Today, Mark Drakeford, the First Minister for Wales laid out further details about the roadmap out of lockdown.

    He announced, providing cases remain low, the following key dates:

    Monday 3rd May

    • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can resume.

    Monday 10th May

    • Indoor swimming pools will be able to reopen for individual use and one-to-one training only.

    Monday 17th May

    • Indoor children’s activities, i.e., swimming lessons can resume
    • Organised indoor activities for adults, limited to a maximum of 15 people (including exercise classes) can also reopen.

    This step-by-step approach will be reviewed weekly. Click here for further information.

  • Date: 22nd March 2021: Disability Swimming in England

    Sport England has confirmed that COVID-secure organised sporting activities for disabled participants of all ages can take place indoors and outdoors from 29th March. This includes swimming if a pool can open, financially and practically, to support these organised activities.

    • Date: 16th March 2021: Scotland Update

      From 12th March – Outdoor Sports only:

      • For 12–17-year-olds, the maximum numbers for socialising outdoors is 4 individuals from 4 households – this applies to recreational outdoor swimming.
      • Non-contact organised outdoor sport and group exercise for 12 years+ can re-start – the outdoor ‘field of play bubble’ for 12 years+ is up to 15 people and all teachers/coaches are included within the 15 people limit.
      • Children under 12 years can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition – the outdoor ‘field of play bubble’ for under 12s consists of up to 30 people including children and teachers/coaches at any one time.

      From 26th April* – Indoor gyms and swimming pools to open for individual exercise.

      From 17th May* – Further easing on indoor group exercise.

      Clarification on dates for indoor childrens and adults swimming lessons is being sought.

      * If progress on vaccination and suppression of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues.

      For further information visit the Scottish Government website here.

      • Date: 12th March 2021: Update on Adult 1:1 Swimming Lessons in England

        We can confirm that from 12th April, COVID-safe Adult 1:1 swimming lessons can restart in England. This is of course subject to the government giving the green light for Step 2.

        We are currently seeking further clarification on group adult swimming lessons.

      • Date: 12th March 2021: Wales Update

        First Minister Mark Drakeford has stated today in a press conference that Wales will continue a phased step-by-step approach out of lockdown, which will be reviewed weekly.

        Key-notes:

        • From 13th March – Outdoor sports facilities can reopen. A maximum of 4 people from 2 households can take part in activities using local outdoor sports facilities.
        • From 27th March – Outdoor activities for children can potentially reopen (subject to the weekly reviews).
        • The end of April – No exact date given yet for the reopening of leisure and gyms (the end of April was noted in the press conference today, and plans for reopening will take place “beyond the middle of April”).

        Also, from tomorrow (13th March), the stay-at-home restrictions will be replaced by a new interim stay local rule in Wales.

        For the full press statement, please go to https://gov.wales/stay-local-wales-takes-first-steps-out-of-lockdown.

      • Date: 23rd February 2021: Update on School Swimming Lessons in England

        In answer to all the questions about school swimming in relation to all children going back to face-to-face learning in schools on 8th March in England …

        Yes swimming lessons can continue when delivered as part of the PE curriculum, either in their own school pool or in a public one if it is open.

        Technically, school swimming lessons have been able to continue throughout the lockdown for those children attending school in person, if the normal school or leisure pool they use is open.

      • Date: 23rd February 2021: Scotland Update

        The First Minister has just outlined the route map out of lockdown for Scotland, it’s not set-in concrete and will be a phased, regional approach. The target dates, they are aiming for, subject to the data are:

        • 15th March – group outdoor sports
        • End of April – the opening of leisure and gyms.

         

        We will keep a close watch on any further developments and let our Scottish members know mid-March, when the First Minister hopes to be able to give more details.

      • Date: 22nd February 2021: England Update

        Subject to everything going to plan, the Government has announced its roadmap out of lockdown for England – this means for aquatics, the opening plan is as follows:

        Step 1 – 29th March

        • Outdoor swimming pools

         

        Step 2 – 12th April

        • Indoor leisure centres and gyms
        • All children’s activities, indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents)

         

        Step 3 – 17th May

        • Organised adult indoor group sports and exercise classes
      • Date: 27th Janaury 2021: Update on Schools in England

        The Prime Minister confirmed this evening that schools in England will not be able to reopen to all pupils after the February half-term, but could do so from 8 March. He said this was the earliest schools could reopen and “depends on lots of things going right”.

      • Date: 21st January 2021: Northern Ireland Update

        The First and Deputy Ministers for Northern Ireland confirmed today that the current national lockdown restrictions will be extended until 5th March.

        A decision on schools reopening, who are currently closed until after the February half term, is being reviewed next week.

      • Date: 19th January 2021: Scotland Update

        Today the First Minister confirmed that the lockdown in Scotland is being extended to at least the middle of February.

        There are no changes to measures and schools will continue to remain closed except in the case of vulnerable children and those of key workers.

      • Date: 4th January 2021: Lockdown in England

        By law, from Wednesday 6th January 2021 (but the government has requested we take action immediately) all indoor and outdoor swimming must close in England.

        The only exemptions to the rule are:

        • Organised outdoor sport for people with disabilities can continue
        • Schools, who can use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision for curriculum school swimming lessons.

        For information on all the restrictions, please click here.

        These restrictions apply until Sunday 21st February 2020.

      • Date: 4th January 2021: Lockdown in Scotland

        From midnight on 4th January, residents in Scotland have been ordered to stay at home until the end of January.

        Based on the information we understand so far, sport and physical activity can only take place outdoors – the frequency of outdoor exercise will not be limited, but the rule on gatherings will change – a maximum of two people from up to two households are able to meet outside (this includes 12-17 year olds). Children aged 11 and under won’t be counted in the limit and they will be able to play outdoors in larger groups, including organised gatherings.

        For further information on all the restrictions, please click here.

      • Date: 21st December 2020: Scotland and Northern Ireland

        Scotland – From Boxing Day (26th December), the whole of mainland Scotland will enter into Level 4 restrictions for at least three weeks. This sadly requires the closure of leisure centres and swimming pools.

        Northern Ireland – From 12.01 am on 26 December additional restrictions for people living in Northern Ireland will be introduced for six weeks, with a review after four weeks. This means all sports facilities such as leisure centres, health clubs and swimming pools must close. Physical education delivered by or for schools, pre-schools and other education providers is permitted to continue.

      • Date: 19th December 2020: Update on Tier 4 for England and Wales

        Update on Tier 4 (England) – The Government confirmed that indoor sport (swimming lessons) is only permitted in Tier 4 areas for under-18s taking part in school swimming lessons that are delivered as part of the PE curriculum (for clarity a school is defined as an educational institute, which is outside of the further education sector and the higher education sector and is an institute for providing primary and secondary education, or both). Indoor swimming pools located in Tier 4 areas must close from midnight tonight. Indoor swimming pools remain open in Tiers 1, 2 and 3, but people living in Tier 4 are not permitted to travel into a Tier 1, 2 or 3 area – the government guidance clearly states that: “You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons.”

        Update on Wales entering Alert Level 4 – Wales planned national lockdown has been brought forward and will come into effect from midnight tonight. This sadly requires the closure of leisure centres and swimming pools.

      • Date: 18th December 2020: Adult 1:1 in Tier 2 - England

        DCMS and CIMSPA have confirmed that 1:1 personal training, which will include swimming, is allowed in private homes in Tier 2 (England).

      • Date: 18th December 2020: Northern Ireland Update

        Following the disappointing news about Wales closing leisure at the end of business on 24th December and entering into Tier 4 restrictions on 28th December, Northern Ireland have also now confirmed they will go into lockdown on 26th December which will also see the closure of leisure centres and swimming pools. Northern Ireland’s measures will be reviewed after 4 weeks.

        To our members and partners in Northern Ireland and Wales, please know we are here to support you as best as we can through these extremely difficult times.

      • Date: 16th December 2020: Wales Update

        Disappointedly, from the end of business on 24th December, all leisure centres and swimming pools (for public swims and swimming lessons) will need to close and then following the 5-day Christmas period, on December 28, Wales will enter into Level 4 restrictions – which means that swimming pools (for public swims and swimming lessons) will remain closed. The only exemption is for school swimming lessons delivered as part of the PE curriculum (for clarity a school is defined as an educational institute, which is outside of the further education sector and the higher education sector and is an institute for providing primary and secondary education, or both).

        The new restrictions apply to all of Wales, click here for further information.

      • Date: 2nd December 2020: Update from Sport England

        Sport England, the government body for sport, has today issued updated guidance in the form of a FAQ, and it specifically references swimming pools in relation to calculating bathing loaders, which we know has been a problematic issue for many members and has hindered the opening of pools. We are therefore pleased to confirm that Sport England state “pool operators should restrict numbers to allow three square metres per bather”. This concurs with STA’s guidance.

        There is also good news for swim schools running parent and child sessions – Sport England has confirmed “different groups of up to six (tier 1) or household/support bubbles (tiers 2 and 3) can use the facility at the same time, provided they don’t mix”.

        For more detailed information, please visit Frequently asked questions on the return of sport and activity | Sport England

      • Date: 1st December 2020: Updated Tier Guidance For Swimming Lessons And Non-Team Aquatics In England Post Lockdown 2

        Click here for further information.

      • Date: 23rd November 2020: England Update

        As of 2nd December the Government has announced that swimming pools can reopen in England across all tiers, meaning grassroots swimming lessons for under 18s and disabled people can resume.

        Click here for further information.

      • Date: 18th November 2020: Updated guidance for Scotland

        Click here for further information.

      • Date: 13th November 2020: Updated Guidance for Wales

        Click here for further information.

      • Date: 10th November 2020: Update on Extra-curricular Sport in Schools

        The Youth Sport Trust, Sport and Recreation Alliance, ukactive and Association for Physical Education have confirmed what extra-curricular sport, which will include school swimming, is permitted under the Government’s new lockdown guidance in England. See here for further information.

      • Date: 6th November 2020: Updated Guidance for swimming pools in England – Lock Down 2
        • All public and private swimming pools in England closed for swimming lessons from 5th November – including all lessons in residential homes
        • The ONLY exemption are school swimming lessons that are organised as part of a school’s normal national curriculum programme. They can continue as normal, in their own school pool or at their ‘regular’ local pool if that operator chooses to open for school swimming lessons only. Note: school pools cannot externally rent their pools for non-curriculum private swimming lessons
        • Boarding Schools are also permitted to run after school activity only for their own boarding pupils. Any activity providing ‘childcare’ is exempt from the regulations, and in this case the children are under the care of the boarding school throughout the week, even when outside of timetabled school hours. In this context, the school is able to hold ‘after school’ swimming clubs for boarders (non-boarders are not permitted under the guidance)
        • For further information click here.
      • Date: 5th November 2020: Guidance for the Reopening of Swimming Pools in Wales

        Updated Guidance for the reopening of swimming pools in Wales on from the 9th November 2020.

      • Date: 9th September 2020: England Update

        Following on from the Prime Minister’s press conference on 9th September about the ‘6’ rule for England, Sport England have clarified that organised sports and activities which have been through return to play protocols will be allowed to continue as before – this includes swimming lessons in line with STA’s members guidance below.

        In summary people can continue to:

        • Take part in organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols
        • Take part in organised outdoor sports and physical activity events
        • Use leisure facilities, including gyms and pools.

      Join Our Mailing List

      Stay up-to-date with the latest STA and leisure industry news by subscribing to our mailing list!

      Subscribe