EMD UK are following advice from the government and the NHS for the safety of our staff and the fitness workforce. We are monitoring the situation and will be updating this page frequently in line with new measures and precautions.

Please note, we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls and emails. We will endeavour to respond to you as quickly as possible.

Download our Group Ex Roadmap for Instructors Guidance here.

Updates will be posted here and on our EMD UK Facebook page. 

You can also get COVID-19 instructor updates to your inbox by signing up to our newsletter here.

Updated 23/04/2021


New Four Steps and how they affect group exercise sessions

Following dialogue between EMD UK, Sport England, DCMS and CIMSPA, EMD UK can confirm the following plans for group exercise classes in England will take effect as of 8th March 2021.

Note these are provisional steps and the step changes are very much based on data and not dates and therefore are subject to change if the four tests are not met.

Step 1

From 29th March – date subject to four tests being met

  •  Group exercise can take place outdoors for up to 30 people including the instructor. Organised activities can take place and are not subject to gathering limits but should be compliant with guidance issued by National Governing Bodies.
  • This includes private gardens
  • Marquees may be used with at least two sides open to allow air flow through
  • Outdoor sports facilities can open
  • Stay at home rule ends but must limit travel in busiest times
  • Out of school classes can commence after 29th March

Please note as of 29th March, people will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home,
although lockdown restrictions will remain in place.

Padwork is now permitted for outdoor exercise only but with the following restrictions.

This training is permitted only as part of organised sport and provided that the Return To Boxing Framework (March 2021) guidance, as well as England Boxing Rules, Regulations and Guidelines and EMD UK Roadmap are adhered to, then those adults (over 18 on or before  31st August 2020) shall be permitted to train at phase 1 of the guidance, which includes pad work. Sparring is not permitted at this stage.

  • When not specifically doing pad work, social distancing must be maintained. Permitted numbers must also be followed when a session is not in progress.
  • During padwork, the pad holder must wear face covering or visor and disposable gloves.
  • Pad holder to keep target at arms length as much as possible and away from face at all times to minimise exertion droplet transmission.
  • Instructors/coaches cannot move between participants to hold pads, as this is multiple contact.
  • Participants in a class must only do padwork with one other person within the group and must not swap to work with an instructor or another participant.
  • When Pads are used by one participant, the pads should be cleaned with disinfectant before being used by another participant.
  • Where practical the padwork should be the last activity of the session.
  • Max numbers are the same currently for all group ex classes of 30

Participants should not mix before or after the class and instructors should ensure all COVID-19 guidelines in are adhered to.

There are exceptions on class sizes for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.

Step 2

At least five weeks after Step 1, no earlier than 12th April;

  • Group exercise can take place outdoors for up to 30 people including the instructor. Organised activities can take place and are not subject to gathering limits but should be compliant with guidance issued by National Governing Bodies. Our current guidance as NGB is a max of 30 participants to remain in line with our COVID-19 secure guidance of social distancing.
  • Indoor facilities and gyms can open but for use by people on their own or with members from their family.
  • No group activities can take place indoors
  • Children’s indoor sessions can take place
  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 can take place (not counting under 5s). Please see below.
  • Community venues open (however classes cannot take place until Step 3)

All newly opened settings must abide by the social contact rules. The government will continue to enforce restrictions and require businesses to demonstrate robust strategies for managing the risk of transmission and to ensure social distancing rules are followed. Local authorities and the police will continue to provide support and advice to newly reopened settings, enabling them to operate safely.

Where businesses do not follow the rules, the appropriate enforcement action will be taken.

Parent and child groups

After further discussions with DCMS, Sport England have confirmed that parent and toddler classes can go ahead in line with DfE guidance allowing under 18s physical activity. As taken from the Gov.uk guidance on child and support groups:

Parent and child groups can take place indoors as well as outdoors (but not in private homes or gardens) if they are for the benefit of children aged under 5 and organised by a business, charity or public body. This includes groups that are primarily focused on social and developmental activities.

Parent and child groups must be limited to no more than 15 people. Children under five and anyone working or volunteering as part of the group, such as a group leader, are not counted in this number.

Support groups which provide support functions for parents, carers, or their children

Support groups which provide support functions for parents, carers, or their children, such as breastfeeding or postnatal groups, which have to be delivered in person may continue to meet indoors, but must follow the same rules as other support groups. See the support groups section of this guidance.”

Instructors must be prepared to evidence the nature of their session is for the benefit of children aged under 5.

Please follow Gov.uk guidance for full details here.

For education queries for the sector, please go to the DFE website

Step 3

At least five weeks after Step 2, no earlier than 17th May:

  • Indoor group exercise classes will be allowed to resume.

Please note we are still awaiting confirmation from DCMS on the numbers. Updated guidance has been stated to be updated on 22nd March. Please follow our Facebook page here for up-to-date guidance. 

At Step 3, the government has mentioned they may ease limits on social contact. It will remain important for people to consider the risks for themselves, taking into account whether they and those they meet have been vaccinated or are at greater risk. As national governing body for group exercise, we would advise that you maintain social distancing in group exercise classes as set out in our guidance when mixing with others outside of your household.

Step 4

At least five weeks after Step 3, no earlier than 21st June:

  • All businesses open
  • Review of social distancing measures in place.


The Welsh Government has announced the following:

  • From Monday 26th April, organised outdoor activity can take place for up to 30 people. As a group exercise instructor running classes, your activity is organised. The number of 30 includes the instructor.
  • From Monday 3rd May, indoor group exercise classes are allowed to restart for up to 15 people including the instructor.
  • Indoor group activity for under 18s can restart on the 3rd May. These activities are not limited on numbers but should still include social distancing requirements and all COVID-19 compliancy measures.



  • Level 0 – 3 30 outdoors
  • Level 4 is 15 including instructor.  These must take place with organised sport protocols  including risk assessment, social distancing and hygiene. U12 allowed up to max group 30
  • Children u5 are not counted toward the gatherings limits for exercise outside
  • Sport Scotland has further guidance and templates resources and templates available
  • Up to four people from two households are permitted to gather in a private garden for exercise. If you are running an organised group exercise session, following the guidance for organised sport and the space allows for social distancing you can have a group of up to 15 including the instructor in a private outdoor space including garden.

Indoor activity

  • Level 0: Gyms and leisure facilities can open. Contact and non-contact sport and physical activity is permitted indoors.
  • Level 1-2: Gyms and leisure facilities can open. Non-contact sport and physical activity is permitted indoors for adults. Contact sport is permitted for under-18s.
  • Level 3: Gyms and leisure facilities can open for individual exercise only, however 1:1 personal training is permitted. Contact and non-contact sport and physical activity is permitted indoors for under-18s.
  • Level 4: Gyms and indoor leisure facilities must close. Indoor sport and physical activity is not permitted between different households.
  • sportscotland defines contact sport or activity as a sport or activity in which the participants necessarily come into bodily contact or as a matter of course encroach within 2m of one another, such as Judo, Netball and Basketball.
  • Face coverings must be worn by coaches when indoors, except where an exemption applies or during physical activity (see the sportscotland guidance for more details).

Northern Ireland

  • From Monday 12th April, up to 15 people can take part in structured outdoor activity. This includes group exercise where the following criteria are met:
    • The instructor is affiliated to or have membership of a body / organisation that has oversight of the standards of their provision. This includes EMD UK membership.
    • The instructor has appropriate Return to Sport Covid protocols in place.

Please request a copy of the EMD UK Group Ex Roadmap for Northern Ireleand from hello@emduk.org.