Covid19: what has changed from 12th April in England?

Posted by Rob Dyer on 14/04/2021
The Wainstones, North York Moors. Photo: Shutterstock

From 12th April, changes to the Covid regulations in England mean further relaxation of some rules around outdoor activity, travel and overnight stays away from home. Below is a summary of the main changes which affect climbers and hill walkers based on the information available at the time of writing. Government guidance may continue to evolve and we will update this article if needed as more information becomes available.

Individuals

  • All forms of outdoor sport and physical activity (including climbing and walking) have been allowed since 8th March and this continues to be the case.
  • Groups of up to 6 individuals from different households or an unlimited number of people from two households can meet outdoors.
  • No social mixing is allowed indoors, other than for specific listed exceptions.
  • Currently government advice is to "minimise the amount you travel wherever possible". However, there is no legal limit on travel distance at this time.
  • There are still restrictions on sharing transport in England, but at the time of writing the government guidance has not been updated – click here for more details.

Clubs and organised groups

  • Organised sport and physical activity have been exempt from legal gathering limits outdoors since 29th March, providing the activity follows overarching Covid guidance from government and from the BMC.
  • This only applies to groups organised by a club, instructor or National Governing Body.
  • Group size can be as large as is operationally suitable outdoors and briefings can also take place in unlimited numbers outdoors.
  • There are no legal travel limits on organised sport and physical activity. 
  • Again, as with our advice for individuals, we encourage organised groups to act responsibly and keep group sizes to a minimum wherever possible, as well as minimising travel.
  • There are still restrictions on sharing transport in England, but at the time of writing the government guidance has not been updated – click here for more details.

Instructors

  • Mountain Training qualification courses have been able to run since 8th March, and instructed groups who are not part of a qualification course since the 29th March.
  • For any queries around Mountain Training and instructed courses, please contact info@mountain-training.org for more information.

Climbing walls

  • Indoor climbing walls are able to re-open from 12th April for individual exercise, in line with other indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools.

Overnight stays

  • Overnight stays are now allowed in self-contained accommodation (including campsites), only with your own household or support bubble.
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation can reopen as long as communal facilities aren’t shared with other households.

Cross border (within UK) travel

  • Travel from England to other UK countries no longer requires a ‘reasonable excuse’
  • At the time of writing:
    • Travel into or out of Wales from other UK countries is unrestricted
    • Non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK remains restricted
    • Travel into Northern Ireland from other UK countries currently requires a 10 day isolation period
    • These rules could change at short notice so make sure you check the rules in your destination country before starting a journey.

International Travel

  • International travel for holidays is not currently allowed. The earliest non-essential international travel could recommence in any form is 17th May.

Whilst the legal requirements are now more relaxed for our activities outdoors, it is worth re-emphasising the need to be responsible and respectful in the way you carry out your activities, not only from a Covid perspective, but also in terms of looking after the places we love and respecting the people who live there.

  • Wherever possible, try to avoid popular locations where increased numbers of visitors could result in parking problems and make social distancing difficult
  • Always have several backup options in mind in case your chosen venue is too busy
  • Public transport holds an increased risk of transmission so avoid this wherever possible at this stage.

READ: Wales Lockdown easing on 27th March

⛺ #RespectTheWild: Read our guidance on Wild Camping and Van Camping

👊 #RespectTheRock: Read our guidance when getting back out there

WATCH: First Climb after lockdown? Think Twice ✌️


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