Coronavirus Update: Step 3 guidance (from 17th May)

May 10, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny


England Boxing can now issue the following update with regard to moving to Step 3 of the government’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions (from 17th May) as it continues to follow its roadmap out of lockdown.

Regrettably, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has confirmed that all combat sports will remain at phase 1 for adults (both indoor and outdoor), and phase 2 for Under 18s as defined in the guidance (both indoor and outdoor), as has been the case during Step 2.

It means that adults are still not permitted to spar, while under-18s can spar but are still not able to compete.

The next possible changes at Step 4 of the government’s lockdown easing is on 21st June at the earliest, providing conditions for that to happen are met.

At that point, the government are hoping for all restrictions to be lifted, when it is hoped that boxers at all levels will be able to spar and compete.

“We are extremely disappointed that adults cannot spar when Step 3 comes into effect, particularly as the statistics have shown that Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths have continued to ease throughout step 2,” said England Boxing Chief Executive Officer Gethin Jenkins.

“We, and other combat sports, put forward the argument that it would be much safer to ease adult sparring back in gradually, rather than the possibility that adults could go from the current phase 1 (where pad work is permitted) to phase 3 (where competition is permitted) in one go.

“DCMS’s rationale in keeping adults at phase 1 is that the risk of exposure between adults who come into close contact, particularly when exerting themselves, is still deemed too high, and applies to other close contact sports, including rugby and netball, as well as all combat sports.

“We are also disappointed that under-18s must remain at phase 2. This is because the government say that competitions (which can take place at phase 3) would cause increased contact and mixing with other groups, which they want to restrict.

“We know Members will share our frustration on this and at a time when so much in our society is beginning to open up again. We have met with DCMS to make our feelings known and will continue to provide information and to argue for a change ahead of Step 4. In the meantime, the regulations need to be adhered to in the same way as they have been until now.”

Coaching courses

Details on the restart of coaching courses will be issued shortly.

Step 3 changes

While boxing remains at phase 1 for adults and phase 2 for under-18s as defined in the Return to Boxing Framework, there are still some changes to note from Monday 17th May.

  • Indoor activity: Informal activity can take place in groups of up to six / or two households. Organised indoor activity (both adult and under-18s) can take place without number restrictions, as long as it is undertaken in line with Covid-secure guidance (Return to Boxing Framework), including social distancing, and adheres to the capacity restrictions for indoor sports facilities (100sqft per person). This means that classes, such as Boxfit, will be permitted, provided the relevant boxing guidance is followed.
  • Outdoor activity: Informally, activity can take place in groups of up to 30 people. Organised outdoor sport can take place with unlimited numbers. In both cases, social distancing must be observed as per the Return to Boxing Framework.
  • Car sharing: This can now take place, meaning a car owner could, for example, give a lift to a fellow club member, providing relevant government guidance is followed.
  • Spectating / Parent viewing: This is now permitted both indoors and outdoors. Spectators / parents viewing need to adhere to social gathering limits (maximum groups of 30 outdoors and maximum groups of six or two households indoors) as well as observing Covid-secure guidance, including social distancing, wearing masks etc. The rule for indoors is that the total number of participants, coaches, officials and spectators / parents viewing must be in line with the facility guidance on ventilation rates and the maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing 100sq ft per person. The Return to Boxing Framework guidance should also be followed.


Any further enquiries with regard to the move to Step 3 should be emailed to