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‘Stay at home’ ends

Today is the next stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown for England.

The ‘stay at home’ rule has ended, replaced by ‘stay local’, but many restrictions remain in place. The guidance reflects these changes. People should minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and should continue to work from home where they can.

Travel abroad continues to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad are not allowed, given it remains important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme.

From today:

  • people are able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, either in a group of six (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
  • people can to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
  • childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
  • formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees, with children under five not counted in this number.

From 1 April, people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield.

Outdoor activities reopening

From today, some council outdoor leisure facilities have reopened and outdoor activities can restart.

Basingstoke Golf Centre is open, with many of the pre-lockdown protocols and processes in place including bookings and payments being taken online or cashless, holes filled so flags are untouched and people using own clubs and balls on the par three course. The facility will be open seven days a week between 9.30am and 6pm in the week and 10am and 6pm at weekends. Signage is clearly displayed about safety measures.

Recreational tennis is able to resume, including singles and doubles social play, one to one coaching and formally organised activity for groups, including group coaching (maximum group size and court ratios subject to confirmation). The LTA, the National Governing Body for tennis in Great Britain, has given details of how the reopening advice relates to tennis. Totally Tennis is open for outdoor court bookings and coaching and the recently refurbished Stratton Park tennis courts has reopened.

Skateboard GB has confirmed that outdoor skateparks can reopen with safety measures in place.

The sports multi-use games area at The Fieldgate Centre has re-opened for bookings. Other multi-use games areas and outdoor gyms have reopened.

The Down Grange eight-lane athletics track and field events arena has reopened and clubs, groups, coaching and competition can return outdoors for both adults and children, under Athletics England guidelines.

The all-weather pitches at Down Grange are available for use. Clubs are reminded to adhere to government COVID guidelines, including social distancing and washing of hands.

Grassroots hockey can resume but it was decided on 8 February that both Hampshire men’s and women’s leagues will be cancelled. England Hockey has issued guidelines around the resumption of the sport, with clubs keen to engage members to play some friendlies and tournaments through the spring and summer.

Grassroots football is allowed to return. The football season should close at the end of April however the FA has requested that the 2020-21 season be extended until end of June to provide time for leagues to complete their fixtures this season if they wish to do so. Hampshire FA has published updated guidance, based on the latest government advice available, on the return of outdoor grassroots football, which applies to all outdoor youth and adult football.

The council has considered and investigated a number of options for extending football pitch availability until the end of June 2021.  We have also reviewed current requirements and guidance for COVID secure venues.  Due to summer maintenance commitments, the council is unable to extend provision of football pitches at all sites.  However, having discussed this matter with the leagues, we have been able to make a number of pitches available until Sunday 27 June 2021 for league and fixture matches. All other football pitches, with the exception of those at Stratton Park and The Fieldgate Centre which are used for cricket, will be available until Sunday 2 May 2021.

England Rugby has given advice on the return of community rugby with the season extended to end of May.

Community netball can return outdoors under guidelines from England Netball to help clubs, teams and leagues.

Outdoor grassroots cricket can return in time for the start of the 2021 season, under guidance from the England and Wales Cricket Board to support players, teams and clubs.

Outdoor affiliated bowls clubs will be able to open under Bowls England guidance for the 2021 outdoor season.