In his 15-minute speech on Sunday night, Boris Johnson lifted a number of restrictions in England, allowing individuals to undertake “unlimited exercise”, play sport with members of their own household and encouraging some to return to work.
But the changes, which come into force on Wednesday (May 13), will not apply to people in Wales, with First Minister Mark Drakeford having laid out his plans in a briefing last Friday.
Mr Johnson’s speech has caused a certain amount of confusion, with differences apparent between England and Wales, and that has filtered down to sport too (you can read more about the differences in full here).
Here’s the situation with various sports and exercises.
Running, cycling and walking
In both Wales and England you can now exercise as much as you want, rather than the one hour a day you were restricted to before.
The difference is, people in England can get in the car and travel to do exercise but people in Wales can’t.
Social distancing rules continue to apply in both countries.
There’s obvious room for confusion here with the UK Government telling people they can travel as far as they want to do exercise, but the Welsh Government not allowing this.
Thus, people in England are not allowed to drive to Wales for their exercise (walking up Pen y fan, for example) but will all people living in England be aware of this?
The cycling rules in Wales remain the same as they have been (except you can do it more than once a day), with cyclists permitted to ride within a reasonable distance of their home.
We understand that “reasonable distance” is as far as you can reasonably walk.
If you were found cycling 20 miles or more from your home and are stopped by police, this would not been seen as a “reasonable distance”.
The rules are:
- People are expected to only cycle alone or with members of their household, on routes they know well, and that are well within their ability level.
- Cyclists on shared paths should be considerate of walkers, runners and other people cycling: they should stay two metres from others, slow their pace and stop to let people pass as appropriate.
- Cycling should be local, as a rule of thumb limited to travelling no further than a reasonable walking distance from home.
- Exercising by cycling significant distances from home is not considered to be a reasonable excuse for leaving home.
- Cycling to work, or for work, is a reasonable excuse to be outside (so long as going to work, or doing the work, is itself justifiable).
Golf and tennis
Wales Golf released a statement following Mr Johnson’s address to the nation on Sunday evening.
People in England will be permitted to play golf from Wednesday, as long as they are alone or with members of the same household. Social distancing rules will have to be followed and clubs will be implementing rules such as a ban on touching flags and bunker rakes.
Welsh courses, however, will remain closed.
So, can people in Wales go and play golf in England?
Again, the answer is no, with the Welsh Government telling people to stay home and not travel for things like exercise.
Wales Golf’s statement late on Sunday night, made in conjunction with the golfing bodies throughout the UK, read: “The UK Government has announced that golf will be able to resume in England on Wednesday, 13 May 2020. All outdoor sport must be done alone or within a household group and that includes golf. There is no change to the current position in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and so golf courses in these countries must remain closed for now.
“It is important to stress that this remains an extremely difficult situation throughout the UK and we are acutely aware that many lives have been lost to the Covid-19 pandemic. The effects of the virus will continue to be felt for a long time to come. As a sport we must work together to resume play responsibly as and when the relevant Government determines it is safe to do so. We must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved from golfers, to club staff and greenkeepers is maintained at all times. Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must keep it up and act responsibly as play resumes.”
In a similar vein, the Lawn Tennis Association has spoken out to seek further clarification ahead of the change of lockdown rules scheduled for Wednesday. The body tweeted on Sunday evening: “We are continuing to work with Government on the relevant clarifications required to ensure further advice is provided to the tennis community as soon as possible and in advance of Wednesday when tennis will be playable between members of the same household.”
Again, Welsh tennis clubs will remain out of bounds for now.
You still can’t go fishing in Wales.
North Wales Police issued a statement on Sunday night after receiving a “number of queries” from people asking about fishing.
They said: “Following a number of queries to the force control room we have sought clarification and the Welsh Government guidelines do not allow people to leave their home for the purpose of going fishing.
“The restrictions remain in place and the public in Wales are still urged to #stayhome.”