Coronavirus: Golf courses in England can reopen; tennis, basketball to be allowed among households
Golf, tennis, basketball, fishing set to be given green light from Wednesday, subject to restrictions
Last Updated: 11/05/20 4:01pm
Golf courses in England can reopen from Wednesday subject to safety protocols, with the government also suggesting people will be allowed to play tennis and basketball with those from their own households.
From Wednesday, the public will be permitted to play golf alone or in a two-ball with another member of their household at courses that can prove they can follow the return-to-golf protocols laid out by the R&A.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson used a speech on Sunday to lay out the outlines of a road map for easing the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown while maintaining forms of social distancing.
The Prime Minister indicated that while the general population will be allowed to exercise outdoors more than once a day and play sports from Wednesday, they must do so only with those from their own households.
"We want to encourage more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise," Mr Johnson said in his Sunday evening televised address to the nation.
"You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own households."
The Prime Minister said he will provide further details on the announcement at some stage on Monday, but Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden gave an indication of the type of sports activities that are expected to be permitted.
"In recent weeks, our daily exercise has been so important to our health & wellbeing," Mr Dowden wrote on Twitter.
"Now in tentative steps fwd, & in the least risky outdoor environments, we can imminently allow some sports activity like golf, basketball, tennis, fishing - solo/in households.
"Guidance to follow."
In recent weeks our daily exercise has been so important to our health & wellbeing— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) May 10, 2020
Now in tentative steps fwd, & in the least risky outdoor environments, we can imminently allow some sports activity like golf, basketball, tennis, fishing - solo/in households
Guidance to follow pic.twitter.com/pcN3MpBzII
The tweet was accompanied by the message: "By staying alert and following the rules we can control the virus. Stay alert. Control the virus. Save Lives."
England Golf held a committee meeting via Zoom on Sunday evening to discuss the Prime Minister's statement. They had not been aware he would be allowing golf courses in England to reopen.
The R&A had an online meeting with Mr Dowden on Saturday but were not told the Prime Minister would be announcing the changes either.
Sunday's surprise development has not altered the situation in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, where golf courses remain closed. Further clarity from the R&A is expected on Monday.