Ban on exercising more than once a day ‘will be first coronavirus lockdown measure lifted’ as golf courses, tennis clubs and fishing lakes get set to reopen NEXT MONTH
- Boris Johnson will set out on Sunday how he intends to lift lockdown measures
- Easing the ban on exercising more than once a day outside could be first move
- Meanwhile, golf courses and tennis clubs will be allowed to reopen next month
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A ban on exercising more than once a day outside could be one of the first lockdown measures lifted by Boris Johnson, with golf courses, tennis clubs and fishing lakes allowed to reopen next month.
The Prime Minister is expected to renew social distancing rules on Thursday before using an address to the nation on Sunday to set out his lockdown exit strategy.
Relaxing rules around outdoor activities is expected to be one of the PM’s first moves because experts believe coronavirus is less likely to spread outside than it is inside.
The Mail can reveal today that a selection of activities will be given the green light to reopen within weeks.
Golf, tennis and angling are on a draft list of sports which will be allowed to resume from a date in June if they can be shown to be done safely.
Boris Johnson will set out his lockdown exit plan on Sunday. He is pictured in St James’ Park this morning as a jogger runs past him
Current lockdown rules mean people can exercise outside their home once a day. People are pictured cycling in Hyde Park in London yesterday
Police officers on bikes patrol Hyde Park yesterday. It is thought restrictions on outdoor activities will be loosened in the first wave of coronavirus lockdown changes
Current lockdown rules dictate that people are only allowed outside their home to exercise once a day.
They can either do this on their own or with a member of their household.
But the first stage of easing of lockdown is expected to see that restriction lifted to allow people to go outside more than they can at the moment.
A senior government figure told The Times that an increase in permitted exercise is likely to be announced by the PM in the first wave of changes.
It comes after secret government documents published yesterday showed experts had warned ministers not to only remove restrictions which have harmed the economy.
The independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) group suggested some social or family restrictions would also have to be eased to make sure people feel they are being treated fairly.
The documents state: ‘To maintain public trust and support it will be important to have acceptable and equitable criteria for selecting which activities can be resumed.’
Experts believe allowing sporting activities to resume will deliver a much needed boost to the nation’s morale.
But outdoor activities will only be allowed if they can be shown to be done in a safe way.
On the golf course, players will be told to maintain a distance of 6ft from others at all times and clubhouses will remain shut.
Guidelines will say golfers must use their own clubs and they may be limited to playing against one other person.
Tennis players could be asked to wear gloves on court to stop the virus being spread as they pick up the ball. They might also be restricted to playing with members of their household.
Officials are looking at whether open-air swimming could also be included – if changing facilities stay shut.
Outdoor exercise classes, such as pilates and yoga, may be permitted too if participants are able to spread out in a large open space.
A senior source said ministers plan to allow golf, tennis and fishing to resume at some point next month, although a date has not been set.
The source said it was dependent on cases of coronavirus continuing to fall and it being demonstrated that the sports can be played with minimal risk of infection.
Current guidelines say individuals can leave the house once a day for exercise for ‘as short a time’ as possible.
Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds and outdoor gyms, are closed.
The Czech Republic, which last month became the first European country to relax restrictions, has allowed some outdoor activities to resume. Tennis courts and golf courses there can reopen as long as no more than two play together.
First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said last night ministers believed allowing sport to return would ‘lift the spirits of the nation’.
He added: ‘People would like to see us get back not just to work and school, but also enjoy pastimes, sporting in particular.’
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