Amateur golfers in England have been left frustrated by the Government’s decision to close courses during the third lockdown.
A petition to keep them open garnered more than 130,000 signatures, and was discussed in Parliament.
But will they reopen soon? Here’e everything you need to know.
Why can’t I play golf?
Hopes for the reopening of courses were crushed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
“The importance of sport and physical activity, including golf, for the nation’s physical and mental health has never been more apparent,” it said in a statement.
“They are a powerful defence against the Covid-19 pandemic, and we will need to raise levels of fitness among the population as we prepare to return to our normal lives, now the vaccination programme has begun.
“No government would want to be in a position of needing to close sports facilities including golf courses. Golf has great reach across society as people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can take part in the game; it brings people together to experience the outdoors and enjoy nature.
“However, the current spread of the virus risks the healthcare system becoming overwhelmed. This is something we cannot allow to happen and is why the current national lockdown was introduced.”
When could golf courses reopen after lockdown?
Golf courses were one of the first sports facilities to be reopened following the initial lockdown last spring.
They were also able to stay open in the local tiered restrictions, including in tier four areas.
The Government has not yet published its lockdown exit strategy. Boris Johnson has said he will set out a guide for the “gradual and phased” easing of lockdown in the week beginning 22 February.
In an address to MPs on Wednesday 27 January, the Prime Minister indicated that lockdown measures will remain in place until at least Monday 8 March.
He said this is the earliest date schools could reopen, adding that “economic and social restrictions” could be eased “then or thereafter”.
This means golf courses are unlikely to open before this date.
8 March was chosen based on progress in vaccinating the most vulnerable groups in society by mid-February and then giving the jab time to take effect.
What about other sport and leisure?
The situation will be the same for other sport and leisure, such as gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts.
Under the current rules, you can leave your house to exercise once per day.
You may exercise with people in your household or one person from another household.
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