Following a statement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday, non-contact sports, including tennis, golf, fishing and bowls, will resume in Scotland from next week in a planned relaxation of lockdown measures in the country.
We welcome the announcement today from the First Minister, which signals a potential return to tennis in Scotland in the days following Thursday May 28. We have been developing guidelines with the support of the LTA and sportscotland, which will set out consistent guidance to allow clubs and players to prepare for getting back on court safely. Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland Chief Executive
Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon outlined a four-stage plan to emerge from current restrictions, and the initial phase included some positive news for sport, effective from 28 May, Sturgeon said: “Some non-contact outdoor leisure activities will be allowed to restart, such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing, subject of course to appropriate hygiene and physical distancing.
“In addition, people will be able to travel, preferably by walking or cycling, to a location in their local community for recreation.
“Those phase one measures – most of which have an outdoor focus – are not in place yet, and they are dependent on us continuing to suppress the virus.
“They will also be monitored carefully as they do take effect.”
Scots still face strict controls on their movements and ability to travel under the first phase of Sturgeon’s route map out of lockdown, with residents unable to travel more than five miles away from their homes for leisure purposes, which marks one of the most significant differences with the UK government on the easing of restrictions In England where people can travel unlimited distances as long as the Scottish or Welsh borders are not crossed.
The Scottish measure is aimed at stopping beauty spots and beaches being overrun by people taking advantage of their newfound freedom.
Any subsequent move to phase two would include provisions for the ‘resumption of professional sport in line with public health advice’, meaning opportunities for elite level athletes to compete and a possible return for football, while restrictions on holding live events will continue to be assessed across the third and fourth phases.
Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland Chief Executive said: “We welcome the announcement today from the First Minister, which signals a potential return to tennis in Scotland in the days following Thursday May 28.
“We have been developing guidelines with the support of the LTA and sportscotland, which will set out consistent guidance to allow clubs and players to prepare for getting back on court safely.
“That guidance will now be updated for Scotland specifically, following the full publication of the Scottish Government’s revised conditions for sport and exercise.
“Updated guidelines for tennis will be published tomorrow [Friday].
“We are all looking forward to getting back to tennis as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Recreational players took to the courts for the first time in England on Wednesday 13 May at venues compliant with social distancing restrictions and guidelines developed by the LTA to enable play during continued lockdown by coaches and players.