Non-elite sport – including grassroots football – is set to be allowed to resume in England from March 29 as the government begins to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to reveal a roadmap out of lockdown on Monday that will confirm schools in England will reopen to all pupils on March 8, with children’s after-school sports and activities also allowed to resume.
On the same date, outdoor recreation with one other person will also be permitted, meaning people will be allowed to sit together in a park with a coffee, drink or picnic.
Adults will have to wait a further three weeks to restart organised sports, with grassroots football set to resume along with the reopening of tennis courts, golf courses and other outdoor sport facilities.
The relaxation of measures is the first stage of a four-part roadmap expected to include the reopening of non-essential retail and hospitality in the coming months.
But restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England, avoiding a return to the previous system of regional tiers.
The prime minister is due to announce his plan to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, before leading a Downing Street news conference at 7pm. MPs will vote on the regulations in the coming weeks.
Johnson announced on January 4 the country would enter its third lockdown, and while elite sports were allowed to continue, amateur competition was suspended.
Following that announcement, both England Golf and the Lawn Tennis Association expressed disappointment at the decision, arguing that their sports are naturally socially distanced and should have been allowed to continue.