Guidance for England’s COVID Alert Levels


Quick look:


Tier 1 (medium) areas

There is no change to the previous guidance, introduced on 24 September.

  • National governing body-approved organised team sport, exercise classes and outdoor licensed physical activity and sport participation events can happen in any number provided they're in line with Covid-secure guidance.
  • The ‘rule of six’ applies to informal sport.

  • Organised individual and team sports that have been through return to play protocols can continue, while adhering to the 'rule of six', which means playing in a group of no more than six people.
    - There are exemptions to this: under-18s, disabled people and, if for educational purposes, over-18s, can play in any number.
  • Other indoor activities, such as exercise classes, can continue in larger numbers based on the size of the venue, provided that participants are socially distanced and people are in separate groups of up to six people.
  • Gyms and leisure facilities can stay open, and the ‘rule of six’ applies to informal activity.

Tier 2 (high) areas

  • There is no change to the guidance for outdoor sport, exercise and group training (Tier 1 rules apply).

  • Gyms and leisure facilities (including community halls) can stay open.
  • Exercise classes can also continue as per the rules under Tier 1.
  • Organised individual and team sport must be played by a single household or support bubble.
    - Exemptions laid out in Tier 1 for specific groups who can play in larger numbers continue to apply.
  • Informal sport can only be played indoors by a single household or support bubble.

Tier 3 (very high) areas

  • There is no change to the guidance for outdoor sport, exercise and group training (Tier 1 rules apply).

  • Sport and physical activity can be played as per the guidance under Tier 2.
  • Gyms, leisure facilities and community halls may have to close depending on local approaches to business closures. Please check with your local authority.

Working in private homes and gardens

  • In Tier 1 (Medium) areas a trainer can work in a group of up to 6 people, indoors or outdoors.
  • In Tier 2 (High) areas a trainer can work with one household or support bubble at a time indoors, and in a group of up to 6 people from different households outdoors.
  • In Tier 3 (Very High) areas a trainer can only work with one household or support bubble at a time, indoors or outdoors.
  • In all cases, you must follow the existing guidance on social distancing, hygiene and ventilation.
  • Home gyms or fitness studios (if used solely for business purposes) should follow the guidance for indoor leisure facilities.


  • Medium (Tier 1): People shouldn’t travel into very high (Tier 3) alert areas to take part in sport and physical activity.
  • High (Tier 2): Travel for physical activity is allowed within and in/out of the area to fulfil a fixture or attend an organised sporting event. However, it’s recommended that travel is minimised where possible. People shouldn’t travel into very high (Tier 3) alert areas to take part in sport and physical activity.
  • Very high (Tier 3): People are advised not to travel into or out of areas that have a very high alert level, including for sport, unless this is necessary to enable individual exercise or to exercise for people from the same household or support bubble. This doesn't apply to travel where it is necessary to enable disability sport, sport for educational purposes, elite sport or supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s to take place.

CIMSPA has a number of resources available to support and guide the sector through the Covid-19 crisis, including:
  • ReTrain - £1.5m of free training for employers in England, funded by Sport England.
  • ReActivate - free online Covid Awareness Training for anyone working or volunteering in the sport, fitness, leisure and physical activity sector in England.
  • ReOpen - an online hub offering guidance and resources to support the sector in reopening facilities, when permitted.
  • Stronger Together Hub - a range of resources and advice to support businesses and individuals.
  • Stronger Together Facebook Group - an open community for all those working in the sector.


The 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, gyms, coaching, outdoor exercise, 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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