EMD UK are following advice from Public Health England, 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 EMD UK Group Ex Support Pack here

Guidelines on group exercise for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found here

Important Updates


After lengthy dialogue with DCMS, we can now confirm the following for the national lockdown in England, effective from 5 November (This information is correct at time of writing):
  • Parent and toddler classes cannot take place in a group exercise setting. The guidance outlined is for classes in education/support settings – this does not extend to exercise.
  • Group exercise classes for vulnerable adults and/or those this long-term health conditions cannot take place. The guidance outlined is for classes in education/support settings – this does not extend to exercise.
  • Personal training can take place with someone from another household in an outdoor public space, while observing the existing risk assessment, social distancing and hygiene guidance which can be found in our Return to Play document.  A trainer cannot work with more than one person at a time, even if they are from the same household.

Information for personal trainers can be found on the CIMSPA website.


We have now had confirmation from DCMS of the following:

“Exercise classes can still take place so long as they follow the relevant social contact rules at the various tiers. So at Tiers 2/3 you can run exercise classes provided that there is no mixing between the individual participants.”

This is for England only.

If you have a venue that isn’t closed and permits classes, you can run group exercise classes.

Double check with your local authority, as they have the final decision.

Classes can continue to go ahead as normal where COVID-19 compliancy measures are being met, regardless of tier. Please find COVID-19 compliancy guidance in our EMD UK Group Ex Support Pack.

Please note; your participants must not mix as per the Rule of 6. This does not mean you can only have six in your class – it means your classes must be appropriately socially distanced with each person having their own space and people must not come as a group or commune in spaces. Your class numbers remain as they are.

For full guidance see here.

To see what tier your location is in, click here.


Further to the Government announcement  we can confirm that there is no change to group exercise classes.
As long as your participants maintain social distancing as per our approved guidelines and do not interact or mingle in individual groups of more than 6 (per bubble), then classes can continue as they are now. This is applicable to gyms, leisure centres and community venues. Numbers are limited by the size of the venue and allowing the 100 sq foot per person including all staff and instructors. You are allowed multiple groups within the venue, but each individual group must not have more than 6 in it, unless they are from the same household.
Organised children’s indoor classes, even in a team environment, are also exempt from the “rule of 6”.
Outdoor classes can also continue as per our approved guidelines of up to a maximum of 30 persons as long as social distancing remains, and all COVID complaint guidelines remain in force.
Please also remind your participants that they should not mingle entering and leaving your classes as social distancing remains in force outside of the class environment.
Please remember that as of tomorrow 24th September, your venue also now requires to show the NHS Track and Trace QR code.
The Government have updated their website with clarification on this here.

It is down to the venue, but for community venues, depending on the arrangement it may be down to the actual hirer.

You can produce the poster here https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster fill it out and then print it off.

Participants then need to download the NHS app and scan the code via their phone, app found in the relevant App Stores under NHS COVID-19 and scan the QR code on the poster



App Store (Apple)


Be aware that is only works on phones and only on phones that are of the following specification:

The handsets must have Android 6.0 (released in 2015) or iOS 13.5 (released in May 2020) and Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. That excludes the iPhone 6 and older versions of Apple’s handsets.


EMD UK have been in dialogue with the Government’s Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport to ensure group exercise classes are not affected by the restrictions put on gatherings coming into effect in England on Monday 14th September. We are pleased to confirm group exercise classes can continue running as normal where the following is in place:

  • Insurance for the classes you are running
  • A COVID-19 risk assessment in addition to the risk assessments you have
  • A PAR-Q for all participants
  • A system of data collection for participant details which you keep for 21 days should they be needed for NHS Test and Trace purposes – this is now mandatory
  • Permission from the landowner to run your classes if you are running outdoor classes

The Government guidance has been updated (section 3.16 in here) and the law does now allow for groups of more than six people to train outdoors in a private space such as a garden, when following the guidance for organised outdoor events (groups of more than six inside a home are not allowed). However, both CIMSPA and EMD UK recommend keeping to smaller groups within gardens wherever possible, to avoid unnecessary risk of transmission.

We have worked hard to ensure instructors can continue running classes at this time. You must comply with the above guidance.

Regarding spacing, please read the following from our Return to Play guidance:

“UK government’s social distancing guidelines are 2m between people at all times or 1m+ with mitigations. We have based our guidance on the 2m rule plus additional space to allow for participants’ movements during a class. We recommend that participants are spaced at 3m intervals as this maintains 2m spacing in the event that participants take a step towards each other. Indicative layouts are shown in appendix 1. More space may be needed for people with disabilities. Instructors and operators may choose to deliver classes with alternative layouts, but these must always enable class participants stay at least 2m apart.”

EMD UK guidance is 3m by 3m to allow for error in movement and we strongly advise instructors to follow this. However, 2m by 2m is permissible as it is within Government guidelines for social distancing.

Remember, you can find risk assessments and full guidance in our EMD UK group Ex Support Pack here.

You can find exercise exemption information on the Gov.uk website here.

Find out what Sport England are doing for the physical activity sector during COVID-19 here.


We have now issued guidance on children’s group exercise classes. This information has been compiled by EMD UK based on government guidance, and documentation from the NYA and Department for Education. The document is only intended as guidance for children’s classes taking place in a group exercise setting and should be read alongside our Return to Play document. It is not for other children’s sporting activities (e.g. swimming lessons) or for childcare settings, such as after-school or holiday clubs.

Read the full guidance here.


Update on flooring for indoor group ex classes:

EMD UK has been in dialogue with CIMSPA and Sport England regarding suitable flooring for group exercise classes. Group exercise should not take place on carpeted surfaces during this COVID-19 period. This is due to the gathering of respiratory droplets in the carpet fibres which cannot be effectively cleaned between classes in short spaces of time. Instructors should stick to ‘wipe-clean’ surfaces, such as a wooden, semi-sprung floors in studios or gym flooring surfaces. Instructors and venues should their own judgement in this and should be taking all appropriate action to clean all rooms effectively and to a COVID-19 safe standard.


Information regarding face coverings for community venues

EMD UK has been in dialogue with the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) regarding the wearing of face coverings in community venues. DCMS have confirmed to us that people will not be required to wear face covering whilst exercising in community venues.

Please refer to the below page. Section three entitled ‘When you do not need to wear a face covering’ states: “There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering… if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so”.

To conclude, instructors and participants should not wear face coverings when undertaking any exercise. Full information can be found on the Gov.uk website here.


Ahead of venues reopening in England on 25 July 2020, we have now released our Return to Play guidance, which includes:

  • Risk assessments
  • Spacing guidance
  • How to prepare you venue for reopening

Download the pack for free here.


In the announcement on Tuesday 14 July that group exercise instructors, coaches and personal trainers in England are allowed to run outdoor classes for up to 30 people, including the instructor, we promised further guidance. Further to discussions with the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), EMD UK has worked hard with Sport England and CIMSPA to provide full guidance for group exercise instructors.

Please click here to view the full guidance.


We have now had confirmation from DCMS that group exercise instructors and personal trainers do fall into a business category for COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore, instructors in England can now run outdoor group exercise classes for up to 30 people, including the instructor.

To clarify, the Government guidelines: “Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. Any other gathering in an outdoor space must not be any larger than 30 people.

Please ensure you check with your insurer that you are covered to teach outdoor classes. If you have your insurance with EMD UK, you are covered. You must maintain social distancing guidelines at all times and ensure a thorough risk assessment has been completed.

Please ensure you have permission from the landowner before teaching any classes.

Please make sure you keep a register of all attended for 21 days in case of infection.

Full guidelines to follow.

Please click here to refer to section four of the guidance for further information.



Yesterday (9 July), the Government announced that gyms and leisure centres in England would be allowed to open from 25 July. The guidance has outlined new measures venues will have to adhere to in order to open safely.

For group exercise instructors, we will outline information that is helpful to you. This is a developing story and information will be issued over the coming days as things become clearer and other parts are clarified.

The Government have announced a new piece of information on music. Pay close attention to the volume of your music. Music should not be played at a level that encourages shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission – particularly from aerosol and droplet transmission.

EMD UK suggest that instructors wear head mics with windshields on to alleviate raised voices and/or shouting. Head mics and shields can be purchased from Sound Dynamics here.

More information for studio owners will be released by ourselves next week.

If you are an instructor teaching in a leisure operator facility, please follow guidance from that operator.

Many instructors teach at multiple sites, making them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. If you freelance instruct at a gym or leisure centre, ukactive advise you to liaise with your Head of Group Exercise (or equivalent) to alert them to the fact you teach at multiple venues. ukactive state you should use your own judgement when it comes to multi-site teaching.

At time of writing (10 July), there has not been an update on the use of community venues for physical activities. We are seeking urgent clarification on this point from Government and will update instructors when possible.

Although community venues are not open to physical activities yet, instructors should start thinking about these opening. If you teach at multiple community venues, EMD UK would advise that you use your own judgement to determine your own risk. You should inform the management of each venue that you will be teaching at other venues.

We are currently awaiting confirmation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding an increase to numbers for outdoor exercise classes. At time of writing (10 July), the number for outside classes remains six in England – that is one instructor to five clients.

More information on the Government announcement for England can be found on the Gov.uk site here.


Today (10 July), the Welsh First Minister announced that gatherings of up to 30 people can take place from Monday 13 July. This includes group exercise classes. A risk assessment must be carried out and you must keep a record of this. We would like to remind all instructors that you must seek permission from the landowner before starting any outdoor classes. You should also double check with your insurance provider that you are covered to take outdoor classes. If you have your insurance with EMD UK, you are covered.

At this time, there is no date for the opening of fitness studios and gyms in Wales. These are currently under review by the Welsh Government.

You can find the Welsh Government’s statement here.

We will release information for Scotland and Northern Ireland as it is announced.


Guidance for group exercise and personal training has been updated for England. Please see key points as follows which come into effect on 4 July:

  • The limit of six people from more than two households remains in place. This has NOT changed.
  • Community venues and indoor gyms remain closed for fitness use.
  • Up to two households can meet indoors (indoors is limited to private homes) for exercise, even if this number exceeds six, providing Government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing are maintained.
  • If you have an indoor studio, gym or other facility at your home that is used solely for business purposes, this would be considered an indoor sports facility and therefore should not be used at the moment. Guidance will be issued soon for indoor facilities.
  • No limit is imposed on the number of people that can meet outdoors from two households. This means an instructor can meet more than five other people for exercise, providing the additional people are from the same household. For example, two households of four people per household.
  • People who are shielded can take part in exercise activities as long as the above guidance on numbers is maintained.
  • People classed as clinically vulnerable should take extra care to minimise social contact with anyone outside of their household. They should also be extra diligent with hand hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
  • Outdoor gyms (defined as “an outdoor space containing exercise fixtures and/or machines”) may open should the owner wish to do so. Instructors may hold group sessions at these outdoor gyms of no more than six people from different households.

Full guidance from CIMSPA can be found here.

We would like to remind all instructors to:

  • Follow Government guidelines at all times for your home nation
  • Ensure your sessions follow social distancing guidance and good hand hygiene is being practiced
  • Double check your insurance covers you
  • A risk assessment must take place

Risk assessments for outdoor and socially distanced sessions can be found in our EMD UK Group Ex Support Pack here.


The UK Government has announced that gyms and leisure will not reopen on 4th July. Community venues can reopen but the Government has strongly advised that no exercise should take place inside.

At this time, group exercise instructors should continue running their classes online and/or in parks within maximum group sizes for that home nation, whilst maintaining social distance.


As of Monday, 1 June, the UK Government has said that groups of up to six people from different households can meet up to exercise. This means outdoor group exercise classes, such as boot camps, can now run. Key points are:

• Six people includes the class instructor
• Social distancing measure of at least 2m must be adhered to

This guidance applies to England only at this time.

The need for hygiene is important –

• Ensure you have access to an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
• We recommend not using any equipment for your classes. If you do use equipment, ensure this is cleaned before and immediately after the class. Clients must not share equipment.
• We advise you contact your clients prior to the class to ask them to maintain Government recommended standards regarding hand washing best practice and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

As a group exercise instructor, you will need to check with your insurer that you are covered before you conduct any classes. Anyone with EMD UK insurance is covered. You will also need to check for permission from either the Local Authority or landowner.

We recommend that any instructor taking outdoor classes downloads our EMD UK Group Ex Support Pack which includes new risk assessments for outdoor classes and provides clear best practice guidance. This pack has been signed off by Sport England  and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


Following the update from Government yesterday 12/05/20, it has been clarified that 1-2-1 training can resume outdoors from Wednesday 13 May in England. However, group exercise is still not permitted, indoors or outdoors. It can only be delivered online. Group exercise instructors who are considering 1-2-1 training should follow the guidelines below. It is our view that if you can deliver the session digitally so negating the need for contact, you should still do so.

  • You can only deliver to one person outside of your own household, with no time limit
  • You need to have the correct qualifications to deliver PT training
  • Check your insurance will still cover you. If you have PT PRO insurance through EMD UK, you are covered.
  • Check with your local authority/landowner you have permission to deliver the session in the open space. Each venue, including council-owned sports facilities, will make their own decisions about when their facilities are ready. The government will be publishing high-level guidance for venues to help them think about preparations shortly.
  • Outdoor gyms, playgrounds, or outdoor swimming pools will remain closed.
  • If you do decide to restart delivering outdoors, social distancing must remain in force with a minimum distance of 2m. Be aware of other people in the open space too and not just your client
  • If you use equipment you should enforce strong hygiene measures. This includes cleaning it rigorously in line with wider guidance on hygiene, for example by using antibacterial spray and washing hands thoroughly before and after use.

THIS IS ONLY APPLICABLE IN ENGLAND. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not relaxed their rules to allow this.

These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.


The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is a scheme which provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) who are losing money through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CBILS is operated by British Business Bank through a variety of accredited lenders, including high-street banks. Lenders will be able to approve up to £5 million per business as loans, overdrafts, and/or invoice finance.

Find full information on the British Business Bank website here.


The Self-employed income support scheme was announced today by the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Read what you’re entitled to here.


  • The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced that people should only leave their houses where it is ‘absolutely necessary’.
  • He announced that people should only leave their homes to exercise once a day and only with members of their household.
  • Outdoor gyms are now closed.

Following the Government’s announcement and advice given by EMD UK, all group exercise activities, both indoor and outdoor classes, including 1-2-1 sessions, should now cease.

EMD UK has provided guidance on how instructors can take their classes online and what they are covered to teach. You can find more information here.


The UK Government announced that businesses, including gyms, leisure centres, theatres, cafes and clubs, are to close as of tomorrow. Although this news sends shivers across the nation, there are some positives for our self-employed fitness instructors friends. These include:

– Self employed can access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to the current statutory sick pay should they fall ill, as the income minimum income floor has been removed

 – Self assessment payments deferred til Jan 2021
– 3 month mortgage suspension
– No VAT payment due April but can pay it by end of tax year
– No business rates if you have a venue
– Government will cover 80% of salaries up to £2500 a month for anyone who has employees
Sue Wilkie, Head of Instructor Development at EMD UK, says “The announcement of statutory sick pay for self-employed workers comes as welcome news after a challenging week for the fitness industry, and group exercise instructors in particular across the UK. With an influence on keeping active during this outbreak, instructors have been leading the way, providing classes online to keep the health and mental wellbeing of their clients. This will enable them to keep providing this step service whilst supporting their livelihoods.”

In line with government guidelines, the EMD UK office is now closed until further notice. Our staff are working from home and you can still contact us. Your enquiry can still be answered by telephoning the main switchboard number on 01403 266000.

Course attendees

All face to face qualification and development courses run by EMD UK have been postponed.  Everyone who has booked onto a course will receive a phone call followed by an email asap informing them of the postponement and will be able to defer their booking. All online learning can continue as normal and for those who have assessments due, please use the additional time to polish your classes.

Where we can, we will attempt to continue with education via online methods (e.g. webinar, Skype etc). However, this may not be practically possible for all activities. Where not, the aim will be to re-schedule courses to a later date wherever feasible.

If you have queries regarding courses, please email training@emduk.org. Please note, we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls and emails. We will endeavour to respond to you as quickly as possible.

Flexercise, KFA and Medau teachers and members

If you need support or advice, please email Lianne, our Founder Support Officer, on info@emduk.org.

Membership support

If you require assistance with your instructor insurance, please contact support@emduk.org.

Stay informed

Ensure you’re regularly reading guidance on the UK Government website here. You can also find answers to commonly asked questions on the NHS website here.