Although the document says the reopening of sports stadia will come “significantly later” than the lifting of other restrictions, sporting events will be permitted to take place without spectators from June 1 if all the conditions are met. 

The document says that they must “take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact”.

In a new move, people will be able to exercise with up to one person from outside their household. Downing Street later clarified that this refers to people playing golf, tennis or other socially distanced sports with one other person. 

The document reiterates that this means people should not play team sports except with members of their own household.

As expected, it also confirms that people will now be permitted to “exercise outside as many times each day as they wish”, pointing out that coronavirus is less likely to spread outdoors. It cites tennis and angling as examples. 

However, the public are warned that they will still not be able to use areas such as playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.

This is thought to include outdoor swimming pools, but free outdoor leisure venues such as basketball courts and five-a-side astroturf pitches can reopen for one-versus-one activities if both participants obey social distancing rules. 

The document says it is the Government’s “ambition” to start reopening other leisure facilities from July 4 at the earliest but stresses that it is likely that reopening indoor public spaces such as leisure centres and gyms, along with venues that attract large crowds like sports stadia, “may only be possible significantly later, depending on the reduction in numbers of infections”.

Professional sport and cultural events

The document says professional sports and cultural events can only be staged in England after June 1, provided they remain behind closed doors and observe social distancing rules.

Step two of the plan includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact”.

In his statement to the Commons on Monday, Mr Johnson said that restarting professional sports fixtures would provide a “much-needed boost” to morale.

Premier League clubs met on Monday to continue discussions on “Project Restart”. Top flight football has been suspended since March 13 but is aiming to resume next month, with 92 of its 380 fixtures left to play.

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