Covid-19 Restrictions in Northern Ireland - FAQs

Please be aware that Government guidance and laws are always evolving - if we become aware of any changes we will update here. Please always check that you are insured for any activity you are doing, and make sure you have permission to use any public outdoor spaces.

When working within the guidance below, we would urge everyone to exercise caution and prioritise the safety of themselves, clients and the wider community. Please always maintain social distancing and good hygiene protocols.

Updated 13 April 2021


Can I run personal training/coaching sessions/group exercise outdoors?

From 12 April, structured outdoor sport training for up to 15 people (including coaches) can resume if organised by clubs/individuals affiliated to recognised sports governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity (this includes CIMSPA). EMD (UK) has also created “Instructor Ready” guidance for group exercise and training, including risk assessments, PAR-Qs, Covid-19 symptom checks, social distancing and hygiene measures.

Please see the Sport NI guidance for more detail.

Do I or my clients need to check in using the StopCOVID NI app for outdoor sport, PT or exercise sessions?

We are waiting for clarity on this.

Can I work with more than one client or group per day (outdoors) provided there is no overlap?

Coaches can work with different groups at different times during the day, but you should make sure there is a sensible time gap between sessions and follow Covid-secure protocols at all times.

What counts as a public outdoor space?

The UK Government guidance says public outdoor spaces include parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests, public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), the grounds of a heritage site, playgrounds.

Can outdoor sports facilities open?

From 1 April, outdoor sports facilities can re-open. However, club houses and indoor sports facilities (changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms), apart from essential toilet facilities must stay closed.

How far can I or my clients travel to take part in exercise or sport?

Instructors can travel for work where reasonably necessary and if it cannot be done from home. Participants can leave home to exercise but should stay within 10 miles of home.

Can I use equipment for outdoor PT sessions?

We are waiting for clarity on this.

Can I use a gazebo or similar structure for outdoor sessions?

We are waiting for clarity on this.

Can I run training sessions in a private garden?

From 12 April, up to 10 people (including children) from no more than two households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing. This means that you can run either 1:1 PT sessions or with multiple people from one other household.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

The use of face coverings is required in certain indoor settings across Northern Ireland, but you do not have to wear a face covering in a gym or other place where the purpose of your attendance is aerobic exercise. The World Health Organisation advises against wearing a face covering when exercising as sweat can make a face covering become wet more quickly, making it difficult to breathe and promoting the growth of microorganisms.

Can I run personal training sessions inside a private home?


Can indoor gyms, leisure centres, sports and community facilities open?

All sports facilities such as leisure centres, gyms, health clubs, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios must remain closed at this time.

Can group exercise classes take place indoors?

All sports facilities such as leisure centres, gyms, health clubs, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios must remain closed at this time.

Can indoor facilities be used for staff training and educational purposes?

We are waiting for clarity on this.

Can I use an indoor facility for filming online classes?

We are waiting for clarity on this.

Are there exceptions for children and young people?

For guidance on activity within school settings, see the Department of Education FAQs.

Are there exceptions for people with disabilities?

We are waiting for clarity on this.

Are there exceptions for elite sports coaching and training?

Elite training and competition can continue, both indoors and outdoors. Elite sporting events must be held behind closed doors without spectators. The definition of an elite athlete is set out in the NI regulations.


Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

CIMSPA's work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gym, coaching, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.


Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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