On 22 February 2021 we posted about Making Sense of the Roadmap out of Lockdown Spring 2021 following the Prime Ministers announcement on that day.
More recently the underlying regulations have been published, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021. These were published on 22 March 2021.
Hopefully an analysis of these will clarify some of the uncertainties which have been circulating around when Yoga teaching outdoors and indoors can restart, class numbers, etc.
These regulations come into effect on 29 March 2021 and apply to England only. They expire on 30 June 2021.
They set out “steps” similar to those of the 22 February announcement, but do not set out the dates. Rather there is a requirement for the regulations to be reviewed by the Secretary of State by 12th April and at least ever 35 days thereafter.
The “step” we are in at any given time is set out in Schedule 4 which will, presumably, update as we move between “steps”. At present all areas of England are “step 1”. Provision seems to exist to vary “steps” by area, although its known the Governments plan is not to do this but rather to move the whole of England simultaneously. Don’t read too much into this – it is the mechanism for moving through the “step” restrictions.
As explained above, the “steps” are not dated in these regulations. So we have to look to what was announced on 22 February and read it alongside the regulations.
|Step||Dates from 22 February announcement||Mapping to the Regulations|
|1||First part 8 March, second part 29 March||Schedule 1 – Step 1|
|2||No earlier than 12 April||Schedule 2 – Step 2|
|3||No earlier than 17 May||Schedule 3 – Step 3|
|4||No earlier than 21 June||Not in these regulations, as the intention is there is no restrictions|
How Are Yoga Activities Affected?
The Regulations are, of course, extensive and cover many businesses and daily activities.
Lets look at some typical Yoga activities and when they may be allowed, and with what restrictions:
|Activity||Which Step?||What is Restricted and What is Allowed?||Restrictions and Conditions||Comments|
|Outdoor Group Classes||Step 1||In the Step 1 rules, outdoor gatherings of more than six are prohibited, but there is an exception for “outdoor sports gathering” which is defined as “any sport or other fitness related activity”||There are no restrictions on numbers in an outdoor class, but the organiser must take “the required precautions”. Elsewhere these are defined as (a) a risk assessment and (b) “all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus”.
Spectators are not allowed.
There appears to be no restriction on classes taking place in a private garden.
|This allows outdoor classes, unrestricted numbers, but with Social Distancing and other common sense provisions.|
|Indoor Group Classes||Step 3||In step 3 rules, indoor gatherings of more than six are prohibited, but there is an exception for gatherings “organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body for the purposes of allowing persons who are not elite sportspersons to take part in any sport or other fitness related activity”||There are no restrictions on numbers but the organiser must take “the required precautions”. Elsewhere these are defined as (a) a risk assessment and (b) “all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus”.||This allows indoor classes with unrestricted numbers, again subject to Social Distancing, and common sense provisions like sanitisation.|
|Indoor 1 on 1s in a Gym or Studio||Step 2||In Step 1, Indoor Gyms and Fitness Studios are required to close. The wording is “The following businesses and services… fitness studios … gyms “ which seems to extend the restrictions to both services provided in a Gym or Studio building, and similar services provided on a mobile basis, eg someone’s home. Outdoor 1 on 1s are allowed as outdoor gatherings up to 6 are allowed under general step 1 provisions (separate to the exception for larger classes set out above)
In Step 2 no such restriction on the closure of Gym and Fitness services applies, and these businesses can open.
However there are general provisions which ban indoor gatherings of 2 or more people with certain limited exceptions, one of which is a gathering “reasonably necessary” for work purposes.
For indoor 1 on 1s or Personal Training type activities, there is therefore no specific exemption allowing these to take place. But there is equally no requirement on Fitness services to cease, so the work exemption has to be relied on.
As the relevant business can be open, it is common sense that a one on one appointment can take place for Yoga or Fitness, in the same way that a hairdresser and their client have to meet for a hair cut.
|This is somewhat less clear than the position regarding classes, but follows a logical interpretation of what other businesses are allowed to open.|
|Indoor 1 on 1s in a Private Home||Step 2||There is no differentiation in the regulations between activities provided in business premises and someone’s home.|
|CPDs and TTCs||Step 1||In all the step schedules “education and training” is an exception to the indoor meeting restrictions.
The second of those, meeting a work requirement, would cover Yoga CPD and TTCs, although it is probably a responsible course of action to minimise such gatherings and either provide online or defer.
|Retreats||Step 2 / 3||Generally retreats would seem to follow Accommodation and Catering Rules.
In Step 2 a self catering retreat with outdoor classes could be interpreted as permissible, as both self catering accommodation and outdoor classes are allowed, although its is against the spirit of the restrictions.
In Step 3 the position is more clear with other accommodation and indoor classes opening up.
Inevitably there will be complaints of “why don’t the Government make this clear”. I’m no apologist for the Government but their regulations do have to cover the whole ambit of the economy and multiple business sectors; organised classes and similar activities are only a small part of this.
It is incumbent on business organisations to treat the Regulations as a framework and consider how their activities fit within the framework.
From this the position on typical Yoga activities becomes clearer.
As always, E&OE, and please check the regulations for any special circumstances of your own.
However we can be reassured as to numbers for indoor and outdoor classes, both unrestricted once the relevant steps are reached.