An image of trees and the sky in a park

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.


The class must be delivered in line with the guidance for organising outdoor sport and physical activity events, set out in the Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.

Please note

The government guidance was written for mass participation sports events so many aspects, such as guidance on pre-start assembly areas, the start line, holding areas, spectators, medals and timing will not be relevant. We have listed below the points instructors must pay particular attention to.

In this context, ‘events’ are classed as instructed delivery of physical activity in a group setting by a qualified and competent instructor.  Examples include group exercise classes such as dance fitness, group personal training, HIIT, boot camps, yoga and Pilates.

Prior to the class

Instructors are required to produce a delivery plan for every class they run which has more than six people (including the instructor). For guidance on this, please refer to section entitled ‘Event delivery plan and guidance’ here. EMD UK will release further guidance for instructors on delivery plans next week.

All instructors must check with their insurer that they are covered to run outdoor classes. If an instructor has their insurance with EMD UK, they are covered.

Running an outdoor class

As well as the general principles around mitigating risks, the rules on gatherings, and taking full responsibility for the safe delivery of an event, instructors will want to particularly draw on the following in their class planning (italics signify guidance direct from link above – any additional text supplied is directed at instructors):

  • Operating strictly within government guidance and ensuring their written event delivery plans are COVID secure – all instructors should also ensure a full risk assessment is done for the area.
  • Communicating clearly and consistently with all participants, and support staff including volunteers – instructors who work as brand team or business owners who lead a workforce must ensure all instructors are aware of the plans for safe class delivery.
  • Being adaptable to change, for example if a local lockdown were to be necessary.
  • Rules on gatherings which can be found here under ‘Large Gatherings’ – specifically for instructors, an outdoor class must not exceed the limit of 30 people. This number includes any instructors, spectators, and children.
  • Test track and trace requirements including recording of participants and officials to facilitate contacting by NHS Test and Trace if needed. Please make sure you keep a register of all attendees for 21 days in case of infection – instructors may wish to implement a booking system to monitor attendance easier. A register of each class should be done at the very least.
  • Maintaining physical and personal hygiene – instructors should, where possible, ensure they make available or encourage participants to bring their own alcohol hand gel to use immediately before and after the class. Equipment must not be shared.
  • Keeping participants and staff safe by implementing social distancing measure – a distance of at least 2m should be kept between all class attendees and instructors.
  • Instructors should use common sense when choosing an outdoor class venue and conduct a full risk assessment to identify around barriers to and hazards affecting accessibility.
  • Landowner’s permission – instructors must seek permission from the landowner before setting up any outdoor classes.

Other considerations

  • Should local lockdown occur in the area in which you operate or a nationwide lockdown occurs, you must adhere to Government guidance and cease teaching classes until it is deemed safe to do so by your local authority
  • A trainer or coach can meet with multiple clients (or groups) per day but should avoid overlapping sessions to prevent congregation of people
  • People who are shielding can take part in one-to-one or group exercise indoors or outdoors, following the above guidance on numbers. Clinically vulnerable people should take extra care to minimise social contact with those outside their household and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene

Risk assessments and further resources

Sample risk assessment forms and Return to Play guidance will be published on the EMD UK website w/c 20 July 2020.