Covid-19 update disappointing for basketball - but indoor venues may reopen in mid-July

There is no change to lockdown rules for basketball despite the Prime Minister revealing plans to ease measures in other areas from 4 July. 

But Basketball England is working hard with partners, other sports NGBs, Sport England and the Government to accelerate a safe full return to play for team sports. 

And a significant step forward could come with the possible reopening of indoor sports venues in mid-July. 

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden today tweeted: “We’ve made lots of progress and I know steps businesses have taken to make their spaces and equipment safe subject to public health, our aspiration is to reopen gyms and leisure facilities in mid-July.”  

Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett said: “Today’s announcement disappointingly offering no further momentum for sport, but in light of the Minister’s statement, we are hopeful the prospects of a safe return to play will improve over the next few weeks. 

We are working hard behind the scenes with full consideration our members health and safety, while recognising that we want to get back court as soon as possible. 

Today Boris Johnson announced restaurantspubs hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites and caravan parks will be allowed to reopen, providing they follow safety guidelines. 

And he said that, where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, people should keep a distance of "one metre plus" - this means staying one metre apart, while observing precautions to reduce the risk of transmission. 

That means that, until further notice, basketball remains at Level 3 of the sport’s Return To Play Roadmap with 2m social distancing, no contact or indoor activity and strict hygiene measures in place. 

Sport and Recreation Alliance statement

Part of Basketball England’s effort behind the scenes is to collaborate with other national governing bodies of sport to unite as the Sport and Recreation Alliance. 

Here is a collective SRA statement on the continued closure of indoor facilities which is critical for the recovery of basketball: 

The announcement from government today that excludes the leisure and physical activity sector in England from re-opening the majority of its indoor facilities is deeply disappointing. 

During his statement, the Prime Minister gave no clear timetable as to when these facilities would be able to re-open. Subsequently, the Culture Secretary has publicly indicated an aspiration to re-open facilities from mid-July. 

We recognise this is a difficult situation, however the sector requires clear, consistent communication from government setting out the precise steps which need to be taken – and when – in order to reopen. 

We must be able to work alongside public health experts to resolve any outstanding problems. We are confident that we are in a position to open and if we are unable to, we must understand why and be given the opportunity to offer solutions. 

It is concerning that no further financial support has been offered to help those affected by the continued closure of these facilities and with many organisations already in financial distress, the lack of additional support will have a dramatic impact on the future of the sector. 

We recognise there is a fine balance to be struck and that any lockdown easing decisions need to be taken carefully, but utilising indoor space for physical activity is the only way that many people engage in sport and recreation, including a large number of people who are considered most vulnerable. 

We find ourselves in the middle of a public health crisis to which sport and recreation must be the answer. Yet we are in danger of losing the very ability to support the health and wellbeing of the nation at this crucial time. 

We want to be clear. We are ready to return.