Nationals touch footy
An action plan for community sport has been released, outlining the phased return of sports across Australia. Photo: Arc Sport UNSW

Like many others around Australia, we are eagerly anticipating returning to the fields, courts and pools, but this must be done in a measured and safe way.

The AIS has released a clear plan that outlines the steps required to reboot community sport safely and cautiously. An update from the Federal Government and national cabinet on Friday 8 May will clarify the timelines to be put in place around these phases.

The first key part of the framework relates to the factors that must be in place before the plan commences.

All community sporting organisations must ensure that the activities undertaken in training and competition are consistent with the applicable guidance from Local Public Health Authorities. Resumption of sporting activity may not be linear. Relaxing/increasing restrictions may be required in response to fluctuating numbers of COVID-19 cases. An initial resumption of sporting activity is dependent on several factors:

  • A sustained decrease in COVID-19 transmission
  • Healthcare system capacity
  • Community sport clubs/groups and individuals making their own risk assessment guided by their Local Public Health Authorities (i.e. community sports clubs and individuals cannot restart sport before permitted by Local Public Health Authorities but may decide to delay a restart due to their own circumstances/risk assessment).

The AIS have created three levels of activity, labelled A, B and C which will be undertaken in a phased approach, allowing for a testing of the waters and a scaling back if and when required.

For each level, permitted activities, general hygiene measures, and spectators, additional personnel considerations are provided as recommendations for community and individuals sport before the resumption of community or individual sport. A more detailed description of the sport-specific activities has been developed in conjunction with medical staff working within sport.

The three levels have been described as follows:


General description

Activity that can be conducted by a solo athlete or by pairs where at least 1.5m can always be maintained between participants. No contact between athletes and/ or other personnel. Examples for all sports - general fitness aerobic and anaerobic (e.g. running, cycling sprints, hills). Strength and sport-specific training permitted if no equipment required, or have access to own equipment (e.g. ergometer, weights). Online coaching and resources (e.g. videos, play books).

Hygiene measures

No sharing of exercise equipment or communal facilities. Apply personal hygiene measures even when training away from group facilities - hand hygiene regularly during training (hand sanitisers) plus strictly pre and post training. Do not share drink bottles or towels. Do not attend training if unwell (contact doctor). Spitting and clearing of nasal/ respiratory secretions on ovals or other sport settings must be strongly discouraged.

Spectators and additional personnel

No spectators unless required (e.g. parent or carer).


General description

As per Level A plus: Indoor/outdoor activity that can be conducted in small groups (not more than 10 athletes and/or other personnel in total) and with adequate spacing (not more than 1 person per 4m2 ). Some sharing of sporting equipment permitted such as kicking a football, hitting a tennis ball, use of a skipping rope, weights, mats. Non-contact skills training. Accidental contact may occur but no deliberate body contact drills. No wrestling, holding, tackling or binding. Commercial gyms, bootcamps, yoga, Pilates, dance classes (e.g. barre, ballet, hip hop, not partnered), cycling ‘spin’ classes permitted if other measures (above) are met.

Hygiene measures

Communal facilities can be used after a sport-specific structured risk assessment and mitigation process is undertaken.  ‘Get in, train and get out’ – be prepared for training prior to arrival at venue (minimise need to use/gather in change rooms, bathrooms). Minimise use of communal facilities (e.g. gym, court) with limited numbers (not more than 10 athletes/other personnel in total). Have cleaning protocols in place for equipment and facilities. Hand hygiene (hand sanitisers) on entry and exit to venues, as well as pre, post and during training. Thorough full body shower with soap before and after training (preferably at home). Where possible maintain distance of at least 1.5m while training. No socialising or group meals.

Spectators and additional personnel

Separate spectators from athletes. Spectators should maintain social distancing of at least 1.5m.


General description

As per Level B plus: Full sporting activity that can be conducted in groups of any size including full contact (competition, tournaments, matches). Wrestling, holding, tackling and/or binding (e.g. rugby scrums) permitted. For larger team sports, consider maintaining some small group separation at training. For some athletes full training will be restricted by commercial operation of facilities.

Hygiene measures

Return to full use of sporting facilities. Continue hygiene and cleaning measures as per Level B. If any massage beds being used, hygiene practises to include no bed linen except single use towels, cleaning treatment beds and key surfaces after each athlete and hand hygiene. Limit unnecessary social gatherings.

Spectators and additional personnel

Minimum contact of non-essential surfaces to occur and hands on treatment should be kept to essential only. Non-essential personnel should be discouraged from entering change rooms.

The full report can be found on the AIS website and a handy guide of how these levels affect each sport has been produced by The Guardian Australia.