When do swimming pools reopen? Dates indoor and outdoor facilities can open in UK - and safety rules to follow
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Swimming pools have been forced to remain closed due to the ongoing pandemic, but rules are now gradually starting to ease across the UK.
Restrictions on outdoor gatherings have been lifted, allowing people to socialise in small groups, and outdoor sporting activities can also take place - including swimming.
Here’s what you need to know about pools reopening in the UK.
When will outdoor pools reopen?
In England, open-air swimming pools and open water venues reopened on 29 March.
Other outdoor sports facilities, including tennis and basketball courts, and golf courses, also reopened from this date, allowing adults and children to take part in formally organised outdoor sports matches and tournaments.
People can now also mix outdoors with a group of up to six people, or up to two households.
In Wales, children and young people under the age of 18 can now take part in organised outdoor activities, with parks, tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens, allowed to reopen from 27 March.
However, indoor leisure and fitness facilities must remain closed, including swimming pools.
In Scotland, outdoor contact group sports for 12 to 17 year olds resumed from 5 April, but rules for adults taking part in sport will not change until later in the month.
In Northern Ireland, outdoor sporting facilities reopened from 1 April and up to 15 people, including coaches, can take part in structured outdoor sports training as of 12 April, through clubs affiliated to recognised governing bodies.
When will indoor pools reopen?
Indoor swimming pools in England reopened on 12 April, along with other indoor leisure facilities and gyms.
Indoor activities for children, including club sessions in all aquatic sports and learn to swim sessions, also resumed from this date.
However, adult club activities and group water-based activities for over 18s will have a longer wait until to restart training, with these classes not due to restart until 17 May.
In Scotland, indoor swimming pools will be allowed to reopen from 26 April, alongside gyms.
Both Wales and Northern Ireland have not yet confirmed a date for the reopening of indoor leisure and fitness facilities.
How will swimming pools be kept safe?
The UK government has said it will update its Covid-19 guidance to advise businesses on improving fresh air flow indoors ahead of facilities reopening.
Coronavirus testing will be carried out regularly to keep infection rates under control, and swimmers will likely be encouraged to follow social distancing rules, including staying in their lane and swimming in a clockwise direction.
During the brief reopening last year, pools kept their changing rooms and showers closed to the public, and asked visitors to come to the pool swim-ready.
Venues also kept pools sanitised by reheating the water once every hour and using chlorine to inactivate viruses.