UK Lockdown Guidance 06 Jan 2021

Woman resting in park

Updated 8 March 2021

Please be aware that Government guidance and laws are always evolving - if we become aware of any changes we will update here. If in doubt, please check with your insurer and local authority. 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.

Further resources:


Can I run personal training sessions outdoors?
  • England: Yes. Personal training can take place in an outdoor public space with one person from another household (1:1 sessions). Children under 5, and up to 2 carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care, are not counted towards the gatherings limits for exercising outside.
  • Scotland: Yes. A maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households can meet outdoors for sport or exercise, so 1:1 personal training can take place. Children under 12 do not count towards households or numbers when meeting outside.
  • Wales: Yes. Exercise is allowed in a public outdoor space with people from up to one other household, as long as the total number of people exercising is no more than 4 (excluding any carers or children under 11 from either of those households). For clients, exercise must start and finish from their home.
  • Northern Ireland: No. Exercise is allowed in a public outdoor space with one person from another household but this does not include one-to-one or group training sessions.

Can I work with more than one personal training client per day (outdoors) provided there is no overlap?
  • England: Yes.
  • Scotland: Yes.
  • Wales: Yes.
  • Northern Ireland: N/a.

What is a public outdoor space?
  • England & Wales: The 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 I use my own equipment for outdoor PT sessions?
  • England & Wales: Where possible you should run sessions without using equipment, or the client should provide their own. If you need to provide equipment for a client, you must make sure it is thoroughly sanitised before and after each use (including any benches or other surfaces that are used), and that you maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Scotland: TBC.
  • Northern Ireland: N/a.

Can I use a gazebo or similar for outdoor PT sessions, if it does not create an enclosed space?
  • England: Yes, in a public outdoor space.
  • Scotland: TBC.
  • Wales: TBC.
  • Northern Ireland: No.

Can I run personal training sessions in a private garden if there is no need to go through a house to access it?
  • England: No.
  • Scotland: Yes, provided there are no more than 2 people from 2 separate households present. If you need to go into the house to access the garden, do so quickly and without touching anything.
  • Wales: No, you can only meet with one other person in a public outdoor space.
  • Northern Ireland: No.

Can I run personal training sessions indoors?
  • England: No.
  • Scotland: No.
  • Wales: No.
  • Northern Ireland: No.

Can outdoor sports facilities open?
  • England: Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.
  • Scotland: Outdoor gyms can remain open. Outdoor non-contact sports such as golf and tennis are permitted for all age groups provided this is within a single household group, or the group contains no more than 2 people from 2 different households. Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards this number.
  • Wales: Parks and playgrounds are allowed to remain open for outdoor exercise. However, you should only attend parks with members of your household or support bubble and must not arrange to meet with other households. Some parts of parks, such as sports courts, skate parks, bowling greens and golf courses will be closed.
  • Northern Ireland: All sports facilities such as leisure centres, gyms, health clubs, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios must close.

Can I run group exercise classes outdoors?
  • England: No.
  • Scotland: No.
  • Wales: No.
  • Northern Ireland: No.

Can indoor gyms, leisure centres and sports facilities open?
  • England: No.
  • Scotland: No.
  • Wales: No.
  • Northern Ireland: No.

Can indoor facilities be used for staff training and educational purposes?
  • England: From March 8, indoor facilities can be used for coach education or training courses. This is permitted within the education exemption, therefore the courses should follow the Department for Education guidance.

Can I use a gym for filming online classes?
  • England: If this is something you cannot reasonably do from home and you will not come into contact with anyone else, then it is permitted to film an online class from inside a gym.

Are there exceptions for children and young people?
  • England: Children under 5 are not counted towards the gatherings limits for exercising outside.
  • Scotland: Organised sport and exercise for under-12s can continue, with a limit of 15 under-12s and two adult facilitators.
  • Wales: Children under 11 do not count towards the limits on gathering for outdoor exercise.
  • Northern Ireland: Physical education delivered by or for schools, pre-schools and other education providers is permitted to continue.

Are there exceptions for people with disabilities?
  • England: Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue. You can work indoors with a disabled person if it falls under their need for care.
  • Scotland: People who are shielding should stay home as much as possible and minimise contact with people outside of their own household, but can still go out for exercise.
  • Wales: Disabled people can meet with a carer or someone else in their support bubble to enable them to exercise (outdoors) as part of a provided care package.
  • Northern Ireland: TBC
Are there exceptions for elite sports coaching and training?
  • England: Elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - are permitted to meet in larger groups to compete and train.
  • Scotland: Professional & performance sports with Resumption of Performance Sport guidance in place and approved by Scottish Government or sportscotland is permitted at all Levels.
  • Wales: Professional sports will be able to continue. Any non-professional sporting events would need to be specifically authorised by Ministers. Spectators will be prohibited from attending sporting events.
  • Northern Ireland: 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 regulations.

Can I travel to meet with a client, if it is for work purposes?
  • England, Wales & Scotland: A qualified coach or personal trainer can travel a reasonable distance for work purposes, if that work cannot be done from home. Clients/customers should stay within their local area as detailed in the relevant Government guidance.
  • Northern Ireland: n/a

CIMSPA has several digital resources available to support the sector during the coronavirus crisis, including:

  • ReTrain - a £1.5m training initiative designed to retool the sport and physical activity workforce, funded by The National Lottery through Sport England.
  • ReActive - Refresh your Covid training and return to sport and physical activity with confidence.
  • 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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