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Five steps to return to sport: Northern Ireland Executive plan sees golf and tennis among first to come back during coronavirus pandemic

 

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Golf courses and tennis courts will be among the first sporting facilities permitted to reopen under the Stormont plans to ease lockdown.

Golf courses and tennis courts will be among the first sporting facilities permitted to reopen under the Stormont plans to ease lockdown.

Golf courses throughout Northern Ireland will be among the first sporting facilities to be permitted to open.

Golf courses throughout Northern Ireland will be among the first sporting facilities to be permitted to open.

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Golf courses and tennis courts will be among the first sporting facilities permitted to reopen under the Stormont plans to ease lockdown.

Golf and tennis will be among the first sports to resume as the Stormont Executive has revealed its five step plan to return to action after the coronavirus shutdown.

The document details steps for a variety of sectors, from work and education through to travel and sport.

However, the steps are as yet not date specific and each step may be hit at different times for each sector.

First Minister Arlene Foster told the Assembly she is hopeful that Step Five can be reached by December.

The plan states that any relaxation "will be led by science and not the calendar".

Factors affecting the removal of restrictions include the latest scientific and medical advice, the level of transmission and the impact of any implications as a result of easing the lockdown.

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The current position for sport is that exercise is permitted with members of the same household and that will only change once step one is reached, whenever that may be.

Here are the details of the five steps in the 'Sport, cultural and leisure activities' sector, with no dates provided:

Step One: Social distanced sport returns

Outdoor spaces and public sporting amenities will reopen, in order to facilitate the playing of sports in which social distancing can be observed between members of different households and there is also no shared contact with hard surfaces.

That includes the likes of golf, tennis, running, walking, cycling and some water sports.

Step Two: Team sport training returns in small groups

During the second step, small groups of people from different households can gather for non-contact training. Outdoor activities can include less than 10 people and, where social distancing is difficult to maintain, can involve brief contacts of less than 10 minutes. Indoor activities should last no more than 10 minutes and include no more than four people.

Step Three: Team sport training returns for larger groups

Indoor groups can now include larger numbers of people but must still maintain social distancing. Outdoor training groups can include up to 30 people with, again, brief contacts of less than 10 minutes where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Step Four: Competitive sport returns with limited supporters

Competitive sport can return in step four but with, at most, limited numbers of spectators.

Leisure centres and other indoor facilities can also reopen. Larger indoor groups can now have contacts lasting longer than 10 minutes 'if effective mitigation is possible'.

Step Five: Full use of sporting facilities returns

'Close physical contact sports' can return in step five, along with the full use of facilities for competitive sports.

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