05/01/2021- Covid 19

Guidance on National Lockdown – 4th January (England)

BF issues guidance on the national lockdown and how it impacts fencing activities in England from 4th January 2021.

On 4th January the PM announced a national lockdown to counter the steep rise in coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in England.

The national lockdown restrictions mean you should minimise time spent outside your home.

It’s against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they’re part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you shouldn’t travel outside your local area.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you’re legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with one person from another household (going for a walk with someone counts as exercise).


Public outdoor places 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.

Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.


There are two exemptions to the national lockdown restrictions for sport and activity:

  • Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.
  • Elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) – or those on an official elite sports pathway – are allowed to meet in larger groups, to compete and train. (An explanation of how the elite exemption applies in fencing can be found here).


The full government guidance can be found here.


What this means specifically for fencing and fencing clubs:

  • Sports clubs/facilities are required to close to grass roots sport
  • No indoor fencing activity in any setting will be able to take place
  • 1:1 training/coaching outside in an outdoor public place (not private gardens) is allowed, provided that the fencer does not travel outside of their local area (village, town or city area). Please note that using metal swords in an outdoor public space is typically not permitted under previous (non Covid-19 related) legislation.  Permission must be granted by the landowner/landlord/local authority.
  • Fencing competitions will not be able to take place.
  • The only exemptions to the above will be for designated elite athletes –  in fencing, this exemption will only be used by BF in exceptional cases to prepare athletes for the Olympic Zonal competitions as part of a BF managed elite programme (in line with the government’s Elite Return to Training guidance). Elite activity will be subject to a further risk assessment prior to commencing in light of the current situation.

If you have any queries regarding this and other announcements please contact us using this form. Please note that we may not be able to answer your questions until we have received further clarification (which we will in the first instance publish on our website).

Please note that this guidance applies in England – people in  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

As more information is released we will be updating our Covid-19 advice and guidance page over the next few days. Further guidance from Sport England will be published here.


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