u3a - England Activities Advice

1. Document Control

2. Introduction

2.1. Purpose

The Third Age Trust has put together its guidance on coronavirus as related to the movement. We continue to follow the government and NHS advice and will keep you updated with regular mailings when the advice changes.

2.2. Scope

Relevant to all u3as in England

2.3. Related documentation

3. Covid road map for easing Lockdown in England and FAQs


The priority focus of the Government in England is getting young people back into school, with college and university students returning for practical courses. Meanwhile to continue with the successful vaccine program rollout. Although dates have been provided these dates are provisional and dependent on the data results coming back after each easing measure. Everyone must check the latest government information at each stage before assuming these dates will go ahead.
At Present: You are still required to follow the guidelines, stay at home unless you have a reasonable excuse such as Work or Caring responsibilities, stay local when you exercise and you can meet with one other person for this with social distancing and do not meet face to face with anyone outside of your household or support bubble indoors.


Provisional guidance only. Dependent on Government review after each step of lockdown easing

From 29th March

From 12th April

From 17th May

From 21st June

How many people outdoors

The ‘Stay at Home’ rule will end on 29th March, but many restrictions will remain in place.
Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed socially distanced including in private gardens.

Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed socially distanced including in private gardens.  Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors in groups up to 30 will be lifted.  

All legal limits on social contact to be removed.

But must continue to comply with

‘Hands, face. space’

And any Covid-Secure measures that remain in place.
Meeting indoors

You must not meet socially indoors with anyone who is not in your immediate household or support bubble.

(exemptions apply for work, caring, medical treatment etc)
Households are not allowed to mix indoors in private home or in public spaces indoors. People must still remain within household bubbles. 6 people or two households can meet indoors. This would permit small interest groups and hybrid groups to be run from members’ homes.
Travel You should try to stay local, and look to reduce the number of journeys you make You should try to stay local, and look to reduce the number of journeys you make Domestic Overnight stays will be permitted indicating the stay local guidance will be lifted Travel restrictions will be lifted although still need to check cross border permissions between Scotland and Wales
Permitted activities

Outdoor sports facilities like Tennis, Bowling, Petanque, Golf, will be allowed to re-open and members will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports following u3a return to play procedure and relevant NGB guidelines and risk assessment.

Indoor leisure facilities, gyms, community halls, libraries and outdoor hospitality venues are permitted to open but only for individuals or people in their household groups.

Limited u3a activities apart from virtual and hybrid and organised outdoor sports activities

Most businesses following covid-secure guidance and space limitations will re-open. Indoor entertainment venues like cinemas, indoor adult group sport and exercise classes will resume. Some larger performances and events will be permitted. Social distancing to be clarified closer to time. The ambition is to open all remaining businesses, ease restrictions on larger events and activities. All will be subject to careful review of the scientific evidence and the safety measures that may be deemed necessary for us to live safely with Covid.


3.1 What is the procedure I must follow in order to resume my interest group activities face to face?

It is imperative that we follow the government guidance as we move through the steps of lockdown easing. Their aim is to be guided by the evidence at each step of the road map and we must follow their lead and recommendations at all times, remaining vigilant and flexible to their latest guidance whilst planning for the return journey for the members in our various interest groups.

To summarise the u3a procedure for resuming an activity or interest group is as follows:-

  1. Inform your committee of your plans and preparations for resuming
  2. Where appropriate download and follow a relevant Risk Assessment from a National Governing Body for your sporting activity (see links below) or use an appropriate u3a risk assessment template for your activity.
  3. Inform your members of what to expect and how to prepare for returning
  4. Ask members to complete a personal assessment (pre-attendance) before attending.
  5. Please ensure you are following the most current government guidance on social distancing, and maintaining Covid-secure requirements at all times. For instance, you may be required to continue to keep a register of participants for 21 days after the activity for Track and Trace beyond the roadmap.

3.2 What do we do if a member is not having the vaccine for health or personal reasons?

At present, there is no mandate from the Government that people must have the vaccine therefore the Trust will not be issuing any requirements that members must have the vaccine or that they can’t take part in activities without having had their vaccines.

3.3 When can we restart our walking groups

We have been following the Ramblers Covid guidance for our u3a organised walking groups and have issued the following statement for organized walking groups:-
"It has been confirmed by the UK government that organised sport and physical activity, which include Ramblers group walks, can also resume from the 29 March, and are exempt from legal gathering limits."
If you can follow the procedure outlined above for resuming a u3a activity group using the Ramblers Risk Assessment for Walking groups then you can resume groups where safe in England for up to 30 participants.

3.4 What constitutes organised outdoor sport and physical activity

Organised outdoor sport and physical activity must be formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follow sport-specific guidance where appropriate.

3.5 What activities are included as organised sport and physical activities

Organised outdoor sports and group activities include outdoor exercise classes, group cycle rides, walking groups, tennis, golf, horse riding, water sports for example, however for each of these activities you must following the sport-specific guidance provided by the NGB for returning to play.

3.6 How will I know if my particular sport/activity of choice has been sanctioned to resume play in larger group sizes on the 29th March?

The threshold on participant numbers will be decided by each national governing body (NGB) or organising organisation and will follow Covid-secure guidance Because some of the details have remained unclear around interpretations of staying local and what additional indoor facilities (like restrooms) would be permitted to open on 29th March, And because the Easter Holidays fall between 29th March and 12th April NGOs are being cautious and await further clarity still from the DCMS on key points. In the meantime they are recommending a cautious interpretation and advising members not to gather in groups of more than 6 before 12th April.

3.7 What does it mean for sports and activities that are not formally organised, or where the sport-specific guidance is not being followed?

This would be considered to be informal or self-organised sport and will need to follow the guidance on outdoor legal gathering limits.

3.8 Where can I get information about return to play from National Governing Bodies of sports organisations

The link will take you to a list of some of these bodies in England

3.9 When can we resume playing golf?

Resumption of golf play on 29th March when you will have a choice of playing with up to four players, maximum group size will be 6, unlimited rounds of golf although clubs may Impose their own restrictions for fairness and to meet the demand of all members. https://www.englandgolf.org/

3.10 When can u3a interest groups resume face to face meetings indoors?

At present, it looks like small groups following the ‘rule of 6’ could begin to start meeting from the 17th May in Covid-secure premises, following social distancing in-line with venue capacity limitations.

4. Step One: 8th March

People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or, where eligible, in their support bubble or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.

4.1 Changes from 29th March

From the 29th March when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed.

The stay at home rule will end on 29th March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. It would still appear to be the case that you are required to stay local at this time.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis, open-air swimming pools and netball courts will be allowed to re-open and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

5. Step Two: Not before 12th April

5.1 Business and activities

Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12th April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

6. Step Three: not before 17th May

6.1 Social contact

As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17th May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

6.2 Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, Covid-secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen - and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).