Can swimming pools open in Tier 3?

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Swimming is an activity which is widely enjoyed by Britons, but from December 2 many pastimes will be subject to new rules and restrictions. Swimmers have shown great concern about being able to swim from the end of the second national coronavirus lockdown in England. From Wednesday, 23 million English residents will be subject to Tier 3 rules, but can swimming open in Tier 3 areas?

Just a few hours remain of the national lockdown in England, after which the revised tier system will be reintroduced.

More than 55 million people in England will be placed in the two highest tiers.

The measures were debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

The Labour Party and the SNP agreed to abstain from the vote on Tuesday, but the motion passed with 291 MPs voting in support of the new rules.

From December 2, 42 percent of the English population will be placed in Tier 3 areas.

Tier 3 areas are those of very high risk and the following rules are put in force:

  • No household mixing is permitted indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens.
  • The rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces like parks.
  • Pubs or restaurants closed except for delivery and takeaway.
  • Indoor entertainment venues will be closed.
  • Guidance against travelling in and out of the area.
  • Personal care including hairdressing is permitted.

Tier 3 areas from December 2 will include:

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

North East

  • North East Combined Authority: County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority: Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority: Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees

North West

  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Kent and Medway
  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)

South West

  • Bristol
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Kingston upon Hull/Hull
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Lincolnshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • West Yorkshire.

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Can swimming open in Tier 3?

Yes, from December 2 at 12.01am swimming pools are permitted to stay open in all tiers.

All gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will be able to reopen in all three tiers.

Organised activities for under 18s, elite sport and for disabled people are also able to continue in all tier areas.

Can you travel in or out of different tiers to swim?

People may travel into any tier area if it is necessary to enable disability sport, sport for educational purposes, or supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s to take place.

This would mean travelling between tiers is permitted for under 18 club sessions and for those under 18 who are learning to swim.

Anyone in Tier 1 or 2 is advised to avoid travelling to Tier 3 areas to “take part in physical activity”, such as for a casual swim unless it is necessary to enable individual exercise or to exercise for people from the same household or support bubble.

Tier 3 residents are advised against travelling to other tiers for a casual swim for the same reason.

Can you go swimming with people outside of your tier?

All social contact rules should be observed in all tiers.

This means social distancing should be maintained between people from different households in all tiers.

However, social distancing does not need to be observed in some circumstances such as when people need physical assistance to be active.

Swimming pools across the country have introduced several other rules to help stop the spread of Covid-19 including:

  • Swimmers must arrive in their costumes and not use the changing rooms
  • Swimmers must keep moving in the same direction with a limit on the number of swimmers in each lane
  • Swimmers should move to the edge of their lane to rest and turn their face away from others.

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