Play Safe Real Tennis

Updated: 16 Oct 2020 Tier definition update
Published: 21 Jul 2020

Tier announcement 12 October

Play Safe Real Tennis
Play Safe Real Tennis
Play Safe Real Tennis

Update 12th October

The Project Restart Team have set out the relevant provisions of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 regulations and links to those regulations below.

In summary

In Tier 2 areas indoor sport is only permitted for same household, including those who have formed a support bubble following government rules. Hence no Tennis except for same householdCoaching is still permitted with one household or bubble. Under 18s may continue to play subject to Play Safe guidelines.

In Tier 1 areas the Rule of 6 continues so both social singles and doubles are possible, subject to T&RA Play Safe guidelines. Competitive doubles remains unendorsed.



The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (High) (England) Regulations 2020 UK Statutory Instruments 2020 No. 1104

Tier 2 restrictions on gatherings

Participation in gatherings* indoors 

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 2 area which—

(a) consists of two or more people, and

(b) takes place indoors.

The above sub-paragraph does not apply if any of the exceptions set out below apply.

*Note that a gathering takes place when two or more persons are present together in the same place in order—

(a) to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or

(b) to undertake any other activity with each other.

Exceptions in relation to indoor gatherings restricted by paragraph 1

Exception 1: (same or linked households) is that all the people in the gathering -

(a) are members of the same household, or

(b) are members of two households which are linked households in relation to each other (see paragraph 6).

Exception 3: (gatherings necessary for certain purposes) includes the provision -

(c) for the purposes of supervised activities for children (a person under the age of 18)

Exception 16: (other sports) is that the person concerned is taking part in a permitted indoor sports gathering, defined as a gathering which is organised for the purposes of allowing persons who have a disability to take part in any sport or other fitness related activity, and - 

(a) which is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body,

(b) which takes place indoors on relevant premises, and

(c) in respect of which the gathering organiser or manager of the relevant premises complies with the required precautions



The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Medium) (England) Regulations 2020 UK Statutory Instruments 2020 No. 1103

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 1 area which consists of more than six people. i.e. the Rule of 6 continues.


Update 29th September

The T&RA Restart Team have formally reviewed the latest Covid19 situation in the UK, and at this stage are not recommending any changes to the Play Safe Guidelines.

In reaching this decision we have taken into account a range of factors including the changing situation in the country as a whole, the measures currently in place at clubs, how other sports are operating, and the need for clear guidance.

The T&RA will continue to monitor the situation, and the next formal update is planned for the end of October.

Update following Government Guidance on Indoor Sport 24th September

From 24th September, organised Real Tennis activity for adults (over 18) can only take place in groups of 6 or less.

Several UK Clubs will be impacted by the broader guidelines for venues that sell food and drink. These clubs should review and apply the new guidelines and communicate to their members how the changes will affect their Club. Clubs’ Covid Compliance Officers should contact the T&RA Restart Team if they need advice on this aspect of the changes.

Read the emerging Government guidance here.

Sport England have produced a useful FAQ page, which is quite useful.

More generally....

Please remember the social distancing measures and ensure you wash your hands before and after playing. At the end of the match, simply touch racquets in lieu of a handshake.

These guidelines are updated to reflect to more restrictive regime effective 14th September.


  • Do not go to a court if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms compatible with Covid 19.


  • Anyone taking part in Tennis activity should be aware of whether they are in an area with local restrictions, and if so what the restrictions are as they may impact on aspects of the activity beyond the court, such as travel or restrictions on socialising with people outside of your household around the Tennis venue (e.g. in venue clubhouses).


  • Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or antibacterial hand wash.
  • Make court bookings and payments online or via telephone.



  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible.
  • Arrive as close as possible to when you need to be at the court.
  • Arrive changed and ready to play. Shower at home, and do not use the venue’s changing facilities. Maintain social distancing when changing your shoes and/or shirt to go on court.
  • Do not congregate after playing. No social activity should take place.


  • Restricted doubles play is now permitted, subject to maintaining strict social distancing by playing in prescribed formats, such as proposed in detailed guidance issued
  • The only exception to the above is where pairs of players are all from the same household in which case they can play doubles as normal. This permits two families to play against each other, subject to maintaining other social distancing measures. 
  • Coached sessions should be limited to a maximum of four players (excluding the professional) respecting the requirement to adhere to social distancing (unless a family household is being coached).
  • Restrictions on group numbers vary depending on if the activity is informal social play or organised group activity.
  • As good ventilation will help to prevent infection, we recommend that:
    • Court sessions are restricted to a maximum of one hour.
    • Courts are scheduled to be left empty between bookings, to reduce the risk of airborne infection. We recommend a gap of at least 15 minutes between courts. We understand the potential impacts on revenue and the potential for confusing players who are used to specific timings. Given the importance of good ventilation in reducing infection, we encourage clubs to consider the benefits.
    • If the court has fans or windows for ventilation, utilise as much as possible.


  • For informal social play, group size is limited to a maximum of six people by law. This means you can play Tennis providing you only meet up with no more than five other people from different households and observe social distancing guidelines
  • People should not go to a Tennis court socially in groups of more than six



  • Stay at least two metres away from other players at all times. Tap racquets at the end of the match.
  • Do not make physical contact with other players.


  • If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or upper sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid using your uncovered hands to pick up balls - use your racquet or a gloved hand as much as possible.
  • Avoid touching the court walls and other surfaces.

Play Safe Guidelines (updated 24 Sep) Guidance on Tiers HMG Advice Tier 2

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