Covid19: what will change from 29th March in England?

Posted by Rob Dyer on 26/03/2021
The Wainstones, North York Moors. Photo: Shutterstock

From 29th March, changes to the Covid regulations in England will mean some limited relaxation of the current rules around outdoor activity. Below is a summary of the main changes which will 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 from 29th March.
  • 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.
  • The ‘Stay at Home’ order will be lifted and although the overall message is to ‘stay local’, no legally defined acceptable travel distance within England has been set at this stage.
  • However, travel within England must be limited to day trips, as overnight stays are not permitted at this stage.
  • 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 will be exempt from legal gathering limits outdoors, providing the activity follows overarching Covid guidance from government and from the BMC.
  • This will only apply to groups organised by a club, instructor or National Governing Body.
  • Groups size can be as large as is operationally suitable outdoors and briefings can also take place in unlimited numbers outdoors.
  • There will be no legal travel limits on organised sport and physical activity. As with individuals, travel is limited to day trips as overnight stays are not permitted at this stage.
  • 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, however from the 29th March instructed groups who are not part of a qualification course will be allowed to re-start under the rules for organised groups outlined above.
  • For any queries around Mountain Training and instructed courses, please contact info@mountain-training.org for more information.

Climbing walls

  • Indoor walls are not open yet, but are expected to be able to re-open from Step 2 (earliest 12th April).

Overnight stays

  • Overnight stays away from your primary residence are not permissible (other than for specific listed exceptions). All travel for recreational purposes must be for day trips only.
  • From Step 2 (earliest 12th April) it is expected that overnight stays will be permitted in England within your own household.

Cross border (within UK) travel

  • Guidance suggests that cross border travel in either direction is still not permitted. There are specific limited exceptions but these do not apply to travel for recreation or exercise.
  • From Step 2 (earliest 12th April) it is expected that cross border travel within the UK will be permitted again, providing guidance and legislation in the other UK countries allows it.

International Travel

  • No international travel is currently allowed unless for a specific reason under a limited list of exceptions (such as for work). The Global Travel Taskforce due to report on future of international travel on 12th April and 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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RAD is community led and your comments help keep it up to date so don’t be afraid to add any relevant information after a crag visit which might be useful for other visitors – anything from conditions on the crag, favourite routes or reports of rockfall/other recent changes to the crag are all useful for other climbers visiting.


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