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New Stay at Home guidance issued for national lockdown in England

Published 4 January 2021

The government has issued new guidance for the national lockdown in England, which comes into force on Tuesday 5 January.

National lockdown: Stay at Home

British Canoeing has provided the following updated guidance issued by the government and is currently seeking further clarification from key national partners to confirm what the new guidance fully means for paddlesport activities.

The guidance states that:

  • Outdoor exercise is still permitted, but should be limited to once per day
  • You should not travel outside your local area – unless to travel a short distance to find an open space to exercise
  • Organised and structured outdoor sporting activity must not take place
  • All outdoor sports clubs, centres, venues and facilities will need to close, alongside indoor facilities

Stay at home

The new guidance from government states you must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. 

You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

Exercise a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. 

You can leave your home to exercise outdoors in a public place either:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary, to access an open space.

When exercising with someone you do not live with you must maintain 2 metres social distancing. Where this is not possible you should stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions, such as wearing a face covering.

You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure, such as a social meeting.

Public outdoor places for exercise include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • playgrounds

Organised outdoor sporting activity must not take place

Organised outdoor sport must not take place. However, this can continue for disabled people.

All outdoor sports venues facilities, including clubs and centres, must now close.

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will continue to be remained closed.


You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse.

If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.

The list of reasons in the guidance where you can leave your home and area include:

  • work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
  • outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)

Exemptions for where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are a number of exemptions listed in the guidance, that includes:

elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - to compete and train.

Elite training has been identified as an exemption and is defined by Department of Culture, Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS) to include professional sport and lottery funded athletes within Olympic and Paralympic sports. 

This does allow for the lottery funded athletes in the sprint, slalom and paracanoe World Class Programmes to continue to train, subject to full compliance with a number of detailed Covid-19 requirements laid out in the new government measures. 

We are grateful to the National Water Sports Centre, Lee Valley White Water Centre and Dorney Lake, who have worked in partnership with us in order to facilitate these arrangements.

The new national lockdown restrictions come into force from 5 January and apply to England only.

We recognise that decisions that apply to activities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be taken by the devolved administrations. For further information and current advice contact:

Scottish Canoe Association 

Canoe Wales 

Canoe Association of Northern Ireland

The full national lockdown: stay at home guidelines are available on the government website.