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Return to play phases

Last update: 1 September 2020


Following the re-opening of courts on 25 July, England Squash has been working with partners and Sport England to establish a safe and practical path for the return to ‘full’ play. Whilst there are still restrictions in place, due to the UK Government social distancing guidelines and the unique nature of squash, a phased approach has been developed to gradually return to play across England. The following table shows the various phases that have been identified and summarises what they mean for clubs and their members.

Current status

Phase 2: ‘Squash Bubbles’

Next steps

As with other sport governing bodies, England Squash currently has a proposal with the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), presenting our recommended changes and measures to transition through the next phases.

From Tuesday 1 September squash clubs and venues in England are able to move to Phase 2 in our return to play plan, allowing players to form squash bubbles’ and play full-court matches, although modifications and additional hygiene measures will be required. From 9 October, whether in a squash bubble or playing sides, players can play best-of-five games.

Summary of what it means for clubs and players
1. ‘Sides’

  • Re-open clubs with safety measures in place
  • Socially distanced practice and ‘Sides’ game play only
  • Solo practice
  • Same-household play

2. Squash Bubbles

  • 'Squash bubbles' (a group of up to six players who can play squash with each other) can be formed within clubs and venues
  • Introduction of full court play within squash bubbles, with enhanced hygiene protocols
  • No competitive inter-club play
  • Matches increased to best-of-five
  • Coach-led/supervised activity can increase to up to four players on court (with social distancing measures in place).

3. Inter-Club Play

  • Return to inter-club play with game modifications including social distancing measures and enhanced hygiene protocols
  • Increase to number of players allowed within squash facilities
  • Group training allowed with additional safety measures in place
  • Inter-club/local matches can take place, including county leagues with adapted rules

4. Small Scale Competition Play

  • Small one-day competitions to resume, with a reduced number of competitors allowed and limited spectators
  • Further increase to number of players allowed within squash facilities
  • Small, local team competitions to resume with a reduced number of players per team and dispersed schedules
5. Full Play
  • Return to full play with no limit to number of opponents
  • Full leagues/multi-day competitions to resume - dispersed schedules and multiple venues to be used to control crowding
  • Continuation of practical health and safety protocols to mitigate any additional risk of COVID-19 outbreaks

*Subject to approval


Please note that the phases are subject to change and continue to be superseded by any national or local Government guidelines. The current status of the return to play will only be changed by England Squash and should not be overruled locally. Any breach of these guidelines by clubs or individuals may mean that we will have to revert to previous phases.