Paulina Gretzky shows off her golf swing
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Golf courses have been left unoccupied for months in some parts of the UK, thanks to the country’s regional and national lockdown rules. The Government’s blanket ban on sporting activities in England came into effect on January 4 amid rapidly rising Covid transmission rates. But six weeks later, they have started falling again with successful vaccine programmes acting as a backbone, and the Prime Minister has unveiled a roadmap back to outdoor sports which commenced last month.
When can you play golf?
Boris Johnson’s roadmap outlines how his Government intends to get life in England closer to “normal”.
The first phase of his plan has children return to school on March 8, when people can also meet people outdoors.
The second part of the roadmap’s first phase takes place three weeks later, meaning golf players will have to wait another month to unpack their clubs.
Ministers will allow outdoor sports to resume on March 29 from several venues.
In a Parliamentary statement today, Mr Johnson will say people can return to tennis, basketball and golf facilities for activity.
They can also enjoy organised sports such as adult or children’s grassroots football.
While sports fans will likely welcome the news, experts believe they could step out for a game sooner.
Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, said sports with fewer players could “start safely today”.
He told The Observer: “This virus very rarely transmits outdoors.
“So, quite honestly, outdoor activities that don’t involve close physical contact could be adopted now.
“That is not an argument to say we can have crowds back at football matches.”
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“But sports involving small numbers of players or sports for children: they could start safely today.”
England Golf chiefs had previously expressed their disappointment at the decision to ban games made on January 4.
At the time, they insisted the sport is safe to play during the pandemic.
In a post to its Covid FAQ page, the organisation said it had “conversations” with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Representatives put forward evidence golf is a “naturally socially distanced sport” and argued it is safe to play “in the open-air and with Covid-secure rules.”
The organisation added the sport is no different from other exempted activities.
England Golf said: “The facts and figures to support the mental and physical benefits that golf offers participants during a period of lockdown and isolation have been laid out in some detail.
“Golf is no different to walking, running and cycling and in fact can be regulated in a far more secure way than many activities currently allowed to take part in our parks and open recreation spaces where there are no ways to control numbers of participants.”
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