14/06/2021- Covid 19

Covid Restrictions extended in England to 19th July

Following the four week delay to Step 4 lifting of COVID restrictions for England, BF issues a reminder of the current (Step 3) fencing activity guidelines and sets out actions for clubs, event organisers and members. 

On 14th June, the government announced a delay to the lifting of restrictions in England moving the Step 4 date from 21st June to 19th July. The full announcement is here. This announcement means that the current Step 3 restrictions in place in England will remain in place until 19th July.

We are aware that clubs and event organisers have provisional plans in place from 21st June which relied on the existing restrictions being lifted. As a result, there are a number of arising recommended actions to ensure that fencing can continue to take place under the ‘Organised Sport’ definition:

Clubs to re-visit their plans for delivery from 21st June to 19th July and check/update their risk assessments (templates on website here) to ensure that they comply with current restrictions as set out in BF Return to Fencing – Fencing Guidelines England Roadmap 17th May v1.0. These guidelines set out all the measures and adaptations that members, coaches and affiliated clubs are expected to follow to allow fencing to take place until 19th July. If you need any advice on your risk assessment contact [email protected].

Event Organisers currently scheduled to run events from 21st June to 19th July to re-visit their risk assessments to ensure that they comply with current restrictions as set out in BF’s Indoor Fencing Competitive Event Protocol document (more info here). BF will be emailing all such event organisers to offer further support and request a copy of their updated risk assessments and venue layouts to ensure that the event Stage 3 guidelines can be followed. Specific areas of focus include ensuring that events operate within venue capacity caps and the ability for all those present to maintain 2m social distancing when not fencing.

Members (and their parents/guardians) need to be prepared for existing restrictions to remain. We ask for your continued support and understanding towards club volunteers and event organisers as plans to deliver fencing may have to be changed, postponed or cancelled in light of the continuation of indoor social distancing requirements and venue capacity caps. BF will be contacting all members currently entered in events scheduled between 21st June and 19th July to provide additional information on the actions BF is taking to ensure that licensed events meet the current Step 3 restrictions, and reminding members of the existing protocols (eg around hygiene, equipment sharing) which will be in place until 19th July.

We recognise that many people across the sport are working hard to restart fencing and BF is extremely grateful to those members of our community who are taking the lead in providing opportunities to train and compete. We know that in some cases difficult decisions will need to be taken in light of this decision by government. If you have any questions or would like support/advice please contact us using this form.


Next Steps – Step 4

As we move towards the 19th July, BF is expecting updates from Sport England and DCMS with regards to any ongoing restrictions affecting sport. Once these have been confirmed BF will update the website in the Roadmap zone here.


Additional Information

Summary Fencing activity permitted from the 17th May to 19th July (full details in the guidance document here)

Organised Outdoor Fencing can take place with no group size limits. Spectators are permitted on public and private land in groups of up to 30 whilst maintaining social distance between households groups.

Organised Indoor Fencing can continue with the following changes applied:

  • U18s and adults can fence each other.
  • The numbers of people that can get together to fence in an affiliated club setting is no longer be determined by a ‘bubble’ size. Instead, a particular indoor space will be subject to a capacity cap.
        • This means that every person in a space counts – spectators, coaches, fencers, welfare and covid officers. Every person must have at a minimum of 100 sq ft (9.29 sq m) within the area they are occupying.
        • As well as the venue restrictions, the total number of people within a fencing activity space is limited by the requirement to ensure that all participants can safely stay 2m apart, except when fencing, at which point sparring pairs must be 2m apart from any neighbouring sparring pairs at all times.
  • Car sharing is permitted for travel to and from organised sport please see the government’s guide for safer travel information here.
  • Licensed indoor competitions are permitted. Please see our published BF Indoor Fencing Competition Protocols.


Face Coverings/Mask Liners

  • Outdoor activity – Face coverings and/or mask liners are not required.
  • Indoor activity – Face coverings are not required whilst fencing although participants may choose to continue using these.
  • Face coverings must be used indoors when not fencing/exercising (usual exemptions apply).
  • More info here.


Fencing Specific Adaptations

  • For all sparring activity, time/hit limits must remain in place
        • Adapted sparring between two individuals within in a club session can take place up to a ’30 hit total’ = eg 2 x 15 hits OR 6 x 5 hits, up to a maximum of 20mins of fencing time and 30 mins of elapsed time. When it is not possible to count hits (e.g. adapted pairs training), the appropriate fencing/elapsed time must be set by the coach and in no cases exceed 20mins/30mins respectively.
        • In BF licensed competitions this is increased to a ‘40 hit total’ allowing two individuals to meet each other (as an example) 2 x 5 hits and 2 x 15 hits – 2 rounds of poules, DE with Repecharge. For more information please see the separately published BF Indoor Fencing Competition Protocols.
  • Fleching and close quarter moves within sparring and lessons is permitted subject to a safety/competency risk assessment to be performed by the BF registered coach to ensure that there are sufficient surrounding space and competency levels for the move to be executed safely, with no body contact whilst maintaining 2m distancing from any other sparring pairs and immediately returning/passing to 2m distance after performing the move. The coach is responsible for risk assessing this and in conjunction with the COVID-19 Officer agreeing and noting any further mitigation actions (e.g. reduced sparring/lesson time, no fleching) on the club risk assessment.
  • Corps a corps and any actions that result in body contact are not permitted.
  • No physical contact should be made between participants (handshaking, high fives etc). The handshaking rule is suspended. Fencers should replace the end of bout handshake with a salute observing 2m social distancing.
  • Footwork/warm-up exercises must respect 2m social distancing.

As a reminder, all other requirements (as published here) remain in place including:

  • COVID Officer and Risk Assessment must be in place
  • Retention of information required to support Test and Trace.
  • Hygiene measures remain in place (individual and equipment protocols)


More information can be found here – Frequently asked questions on the national coronavirus restrictions | Sport England

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

(COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


If you have any queries regarding this and other announcements please contact us using this form. Many of the queries we receive are answered in our guidance and resources here so we strongly recommend reading this in advance of contacting us.


BF will continue to update our COVID-19 advice here.  You can also subscribe to our new weekly summary email featuring the previous week’s latest news and announcements. Sign up here.

Join the conversation. Share your stories using #BritishFencing on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Our Partners

  • Our Partners