ACT Government updates

Restrictions on informal sport carefully eased

May 13, 2020

Update from Minister for Education Yvette Berry:

The ACT Government has announced the first phase of gradual easing of restrictions on sport and recreation with informal outdoor, non-contact sport to restart and commercial pools allowed to reopen from midnight Friday 15 May.

From midnight Friday 15 May 2020, non-contact social sporting activity can recommence in outdoor spaces with a maximum of 10 people.

The ACT Government is working with sporting organisations on how this can be properly managed to continue to observe physical distancing measures, personal hygiene, and effective cleaning of any touch points.

Sports that can deliver outdoor activities, or are able to modify their activities, to comply with the rules for this first phase are able to recommence training.  These rules require that small groups are always maintained, with physical contact to be avoided. Sports must also promote general hygiene and physical distancing as an integral part of their activity. 

The general principles that will apply are:

  • Outdoor sports only
  • Groups of a maximum of 10 people
  • Get in, train and get out
  • Practice good hand hygiene before and after training
  • Changerooms, canteens and kitchens remain closed – arrive dressed and ready to train
  • Stay home if you are unwell
  • Don’t share drinks or towels
  • Sharing of equipment such as balls and weights is allowed however should be kept to a minimum
  • Sportsgrounds must be booked prior to use
  • Follow the one person per 4 square metres rule to ensure sufficient physical distancing between participants

Additionally, sporting organisations will be asked to prepare a ‘Return to Play in a COVID safe environment’ plan to support the resumption of sporting activity in their specific context.

A number of small groups will be able to train within an area, such as a football field or court, as long as they are clearly separated at all times and following the one person per 4 square metres rule.

ACT Government sportsgrounds will be available for bookings from 18 May 2020, with existing suspended booking reinstated and new bookings available in line with the ordinary arrangements during the current playing season. However, communal facilities such as changerooms, clubhouses and kitchen facilities will remain closed for the time being.

While the phased re-start of organised sport limits competition play, ACT Government sportsgrounds will be available for weekend training.

Bookings are required to make formal use of sportsgrounds for training and take precedence of informal community use. Changes to existing bookings or new bookings will be taken from Thursday 14 May.

Restrictions on pools will also be eased from midnight Friday 15 May, with pools allowed to reopen for small groups of up to 10 people per pool and one swimmer per lane. 

While the option for pools to open will become available, reopening for restricted pool access remains a commercial decision for individual pool operators. Government owned pools, including Gungahlin Pool, Canberra Olympic Pool, Tuggeranong Pool, and Erindale Active Leisure Centre, will not reopen at this time while maintenance and upgrade works are completed. Government owned outdoor pools, being Dickson Pool and Manuka Pool, remain closed for winter as is usually the case.

Indoor sporting venues and fitness gyms will remain closed at this stage. The ACT Government will work with businesses and the community about when it is possible for indoor fitness gyms to reopen, in line with health advice.

It is great to see further easing of restriction and what that can mean for community sport in the ACT. The relaxed restrictions announced today recognise how hard our community has worked to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This news will be a welcome relief for sporting organisations and for members of the community keen to get active and back into the social sport that they love.

The pandemic is ongoing and the ACT Government will remain vigilant. If this situation changes again and an increase of new cases of the virus arises, the government remains ready to respond sensibly.

Remember that in any activity you do, you must maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres apart or 4 square metres per person and continue to practice personal hygiene. These measures continue to be most effective to stop the spread of COVID-19.

More information will be available on the ACT Government COVID-19 response website at