The information outlined below is generic and should be used to inform the development of suitable guidance which can be shared with participants, clubs, local authorities/trusts, third sector and other sports facility operators.
Organised sporting activities can be undertaken, providing all activity is consistent with current Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene – you will also need to make sure that your club, facility and participants are made aware and can adapt to changes in guidance at short notice. Information on Scottish Government’s approach to managing COVID-19 is available at Scottish Government: Coronavirus in Scotland .
People who are symptomatic and household members should self-isolate for 10 days as per NHS Scotland guidance. No one who is self-isolating should attend a sports facility or activity.
To manage a safe return to organised sport and physical activities all clubs, facility operators and deliverers (herein referred to as ‘operators’) should put in place Test & Protect procedures to help break chains of transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Further information is available within this guidance and at Scottish Government: Test & Protect.
Scottish Government’s strategic framework document (version: Feb 2021) for managing COVID-19 provides a 0-4 Level approach to restrictions with each local authority area (or sub-area) placed in a relevant protection Level depending upon its COVID-19 status which will be reviewed weekly.
SGBs, clubs and participants should be aware of their local area protection level and associated restrictions which may be in place and should consider this as part of risk assessment planning. Broad guidance for sporting activity which should be followed within each Level is set out in Table A below.
More detailed information relating to Level 4 restrictions and exemptions applicable for sport and physical activity is available at Appendix 1.
Further information on protection levels that apply in each local authority area are available at Coronavirus (COVID-19): allocation of protection levels. A local post code checker is also available at COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland.
- It is the responsibility of each club committee, sports facility operator and/or deliverer (herein referred to as the operator) to appoint a responsible person/s, referred to as the COVID officer, to act as the point of contact on all things related to COVID-19. An e-learning module for COVID officers is available to support those undertaking the role.
- The COVID officer must ensure that full risk assessments, processes and mitigating actions are in place before any sport or leisure activity takes place. Specific consideration should be given to the needs of those who are at greater risk including some older adults or those with disabilities.
- Operators should check with their insurance company that correct and full insurance cover is in place and valid before any activity takes place.
- Operators should only re-open facilities when it is safe to do so, in accordance with Scottish Government guidance.
- Operators must ensure that users are made aware of the requirement to adhere to the relevant approved SGB guidance prior to any sport or physical activity being undertaken at the venue and reserve the right to intervene where there are any clear and visible breaches of this guidance by participants. Where such breaches take place operators should notify the nominated club/activity COVID Officer overseeing the activity and they should in turn take appropriate action to mitigate future risk and protect participants and the wider public.
- Travel guidance outlined by the Scottish Government should always be followed. Further information on what travel is permitted is available at Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport.
- Information for each local government area, including their level is available at Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels including a post code checker.
- Specific information on car sharing is available from Transport Scotland: advice on how to travel safely.
- Sport & Physical Activity Participation
- Participants can take part in organised sport and physical activity within their own local government area based on Level as detailed in Table A. Such activity is subject to exemption from household rules as detailed within this guidance.
- When a participant travels out with their home local government area they should follow the travel guidance detailed below. Travel regulations are now legally enforceable.
- Participants in organised sporting or physical activity should, where possible, avoid any unnecessary travel out of area and keep journeys within area to an absolute minimum.
- Children & Young People (17 years or under)
- Participants aged 17 years or under can travel to and from Level 0, 1 and 2 areas to take part in organised sport, training, and competition.
- Children and young people can also travel to and from a Level 3 or 4 area, if for example, they belong to a club which is just outside their own local authority area. They should however travel no further than necessary to to take part in the organised activity.
- Children and young people living in a Level 3 or 4 area can also travel out with their local government area to take part in informal exercise such as walking, running or cycling. Such activity should follow Scottish Government ‘local protection levels’ guidance.
- Adults (18 years or over)
- Participants aged 18 years or over can travel to and from a Level 0, 1 and 2 area to take part in organised sport, physical activity, training and competition. They should not travel to a Level 3 or 4 area.
- Adults living in a Level 3 area should only travel locally or to another Level 3 area to take part in organised sport or physical activity as outlined in Table A. (from 26 April 2021)
- Adults living in a Level 4 area should only travel locally to take to take part in organised sport or physical activity.
- Adults living in a Level 3 or Level 4 area can also travel out with their local government area to take part in informal exercise such as walking, cycling, golf or running. Such activity should follow Scottish Government ‘local protection levels’ guidance.
Table B: Travel Summary (Organised sport and physical activity)
- ‘Organised sporting or physical activity’ refers to activities which are undertaken in a structured and managed way following specific rules and guidance of relevant SGBs, local authorities or businesses who in turn have fully applied related Scottish Government and sportscotland guidance. All organised activity should be overseen by a Covid Officer with documented risk assessments undertaken and mitigating actions put in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of participants, coaches and officials.
- Contact sport or activity is defined as “a sport or activity in which the participants necessarily come into bodily contact or as a matter of course encroach within 2m of one another” such as Judo, Netball and Basketball.
- Non-contact sport or activity is defined as “a sport or activity in which the participants are physically separated by playing rules such as to make it difficult for them to make physical contact during an activity. Examples include Tennis, Cricket, Boccia and Curling.
- Sports competition refers to where participants or teams compete against different opponents as part of an organised SGB league or competition.
- Adult ‘group’ sport or activity refers to adults, who take part in organised sport or physical activity, where the number of participants is larger than allowed under normal household rules.
- Indoor individual exercise refers to non-contact recreational sport or physical activity which follows household rule numbers. This includes gym use, 1:1 personal training, swimming, ice skating and indoor snowsports activity where physical distancing can be maintained.
- Participants and operators should follow guidance based on the area protection level in which the sporting activity is to take place. A summary of what sporting activity can be undertaken at each protection level is available in Table A and should be read in conjunction with the rest of this document.
- Subject to the protection level guidance within this document, organised sporting or physical activity can take place indoors or outdoors, in effect suspending physical distancing and household guidelines, for the duration of the activity.
- Where there is likely to be proximity (within 2m) or contact between participants involved in a sporting activity, mitigating actions must be put in place to minimise risk and keep participants safe. For instance:
- SGB guidance should focus on providing sporting activity involving as few participants as possible, for the minimum amount of time, whilst still allowing the activity to run effectively. This may also require a change to game formats, numbers and/or rules to minimise risk to participants.
- As soon as a participant has completed training, a competition or event, they should leave the field of play/venue.
- No spectating should take place other than where a parent or carer is supervising a child or vulnerable adult or when following specific sector guidance for sporting events.
- No formal presentation ceremonies should take place during or after a sporting activity or competition as the focus should be on reducing the numbers in attendance at any one time.
- Holiday camps, extended sports activity or events which would not normally come under the jurisdiction of an SGB should refer to the appropriate local authority, umbrella body or care commission guidance. Organisers of these activities may alternatively wish to use Scottish Government household, physical distancing and group size limits.
- Operators may open outdoor sports areas, courts and pitches if documented risk assessments are undertaken and all appropriate measures are put in place to ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers and where activity is undertaken in line with guidance for the appropriate protection level. Please also refer to guidance produced by sportscotland at: Getting Your Facilities Fit for Sport.
- Information relating to outdoor sport and physical activity that can be undertaken by protection level and age group is available in Table A.
- Further information outlining outdoor Level 4 sport and physical activity restrictions and exemptions is available at Appendix 1.
Outdoor sporting bubbles for training, competition, or small-scale participation events (Levels 0-3)
- An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ can consist of a maximum of 30 people including coaches, officials and other support staff at any one time at Level 3 (numbers are subject to further confirmation from Scottish Government for Level 0, 1 & 2). In exceptional circumstances, numbers may be increased, but only if approved directly by Scottish Government or where specific Scottish Governing Bodies of sport (SGBs) guidance and mitigating actions have been agreed by sport
- Multiple outdoor sporting bubbles can be used for SGB training and competition. In such cases operators and organisers should undertake comprehensive risk assessments to ensure that these bubbles do not mix at any time including before, during or after an activity. Once an individual has completed their activity, they should immediately vacate the ‘field of play’ and are then subject to household rules.
- Total participant numbers allowed to take part in small-scale events at Levels 0, 1, 2 & 3 are being reviewed by Scottish Government. Further information will be provided once available.
- Permanent outdoor sport, leisure and club facilities which are accessed on a regular basis by the general public and/or club members and have in place a designated COVID officer should risk assess and identify mitigating measures to protect participants and staff. This may for instance include operating separate activity zones, implementing staggered time slots and putting in place other measures to ensure participation bubbles remain separate including consideration of parking and access/egress.
- Any further exemptions or variation to training, competition, or event participant numbers, including the addition of spectators, must be agreed directly with Scottish Government and may be subject to other relevant Scottish Government guidance.
- Where outdoor sports training, competition or events are planned and include multiple bubbles; operators and organisers should, as part of their risk assessment, consult with relevant local authorities, environmental health, the police, or other body responsible for the safety of the public. Agreement must be reached with these bodies before the training, event or competition takes place.
- Operators and organisers should note that the situation around COVID-19 is fluid and activities may need to be cancelled at short notice should there be a change in local or national restrictions. In such circumstance’s plans should be in place to notify participants of event cancellation and to ensure they do not attend the venue.
- SGBs and operators should introduce a period of training to familiarise participants with guidelines before running competitions.
- Outdoor group coaching for organised sport and physical activity including aerobics and fitness classes can take place with up to 30 people at any one time in Level 3, including the coach, if physical distancing is always maintained. Bubble numbers for Level 0, 1 & 2 are to be confirmed by Scottish Government.
Outdoor sporting bubbles for localised training and competition (Level 4)
- See Appendix 1 for detailed information on Level 4 restrictions.
- Indoor sport and leisure facilities can open if Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities is fully implemented.
- Appropriate risk assessments and mitigating measures must be put in place to reduce risk and protect participants. For instance, consider physically distanced training, reducing numbers taking part and changing game formats or rules.
- Participants should not congregate before or after an activity. Operators must ensure comprehensive mitigating actions are put in place and documented in their risk assessment to stop this happening. Consider staggering start/arrival times and any other relevant additional measures.
- The number of participants allowed to take part in indoor sport or physical activity must be risk assessed by the operator following Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities and sport specific SGB Guidance.
- Information relating to indoor sport and physical activity that can be undertaken by protection level and age group is available in Table A.
- The guidance below is to support coaches, leaders, personal trainers, deliverers, and instructors, herein referred to as coach/es. In addition, please see Getting Coaches Ready for Sport which provides a 4-stage approach/checklist to help coaches get ready for delivering sport and physical activity. It can be used as it is or amended to reflect the sport or delivery activity.
- Coaches operating within clubs and facilities should liaise with the relevant COVID Officer before undertaking coaching and all sporting or physical activity must adhere to operator and relevant SGB Guidance.
- Coaches and others supporting organised sporting or physical activity should attempt to keep physically distant, but it is recognised that this will not always be possible to ensure the safety of participants. In such circumstances the responsible ‘Covid Officer’ should consider appropriate mitigating actions as part of the risk assessment.
- Coaches should be aware that local restrictions may be in place for sport and physical activity and this should be considered as part of risk assessment planning and will dictate what activity can be coached, indoors and outdoors and to whom. See Table A for further information about protection levels.
- Scottish Government travel guidance provides exemptions for travel into and out of Level 3 and Level 4 local authority areas. This includes ‘travel for work, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home’.
- Where paid/voluntary coaches or officials use the above exemption mitigating actions should be put in place to reduce risk to the coach, official and participants. This should be documented in the risk assessment.
- Coaching (Levels 0-3)
- Coaches can run organised outdoor group training sessions in protection Levels 0-3 in line with maximum bubble sizes outlined in Table A or as agreed through approved SGB Guidance and Scottish Government (COVID-19): guidance on the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities. They should also ensure to follow specific guidance on sporting bubbles within this document.
- Coaching (Level 4)
- Coaches can run organised outdoor non-contact group training sessions in protection Level 4 for a maximum of 15 people aged 12 years or over (including the coach/es)
- Coaches can run organised outdoor contact and non-contact training sessions for up to 30 children (including the coach/es) aged under 12 years.
- Coaches can take multiple indoor sessions (where protection levels allow) per day, however the number of participants allowed in each session will depend upon the protection Level restrictions in place in the given location.
- Face coverings must be worn by coaches when indoors, except where an exemption applies. For instance:
- where an individual has a health condition or is disabled, including hidden disabilities, for example, autism, dementia or a learning disability.
- or if there is a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering such as:
- where there is difficulty in communicating with participants who may not be close by and safety is an issue i.e. in a swimming lesson. In such cases alternative measures should be considered such as use of a face visor.
- being physically active or exercising as part of the coached session.
The priority should be on ensuring the safety of the coach and participants and minimising the risk of virus transmission before, during and after activity.
- At all times coaches should:
- plan and risk assess appropriately for the session in advance, be aware of responsibilities, be clear on expectations with participants and build in a review period to reflect on effectiveness and safety of the session.
- ensure signage on guidelines for participating safely and promoting hygiene measures are clearly displayed and up to date.
- check, in advance of delivery, that appropriate insurance policies are in place for all coached activities and that their insurance is valid for the activities they plan to deliver.
- find out about their direct and surrounding delivery environment in advance of the session and contact the facility operator, where relevant, to confirm any changes in processes and procedure.
- Coaches working with children should familiarise themselves with the additional considerations developed by Children 1st: Child Wellbeing and Protection Considerations.
- Additional support tools are available for coaches and volunteers at the Getting Coaches Ready for Sport section of the sportscotland website including mental health and wellbeing awareness training .
Additional Sport & Leisure Activity Considerations
- Specific consideration should be given to supervision of children under the age of 5 years as it is not appropriate for young children to maintain physical distancing, either practically or in terms of child development. You may, for instance, ask a parent or carer to be present.
- Where a disabled participant requires functional support to help them participate coaches, carers or those supporting the participant can provide this without maintaining physical distancing. In such circumstance the responsible ‘Covid Officer’ should consider appropriate mitigating actions as part of the risk assessment. For instance, providing appropriate PPE, limiting the number of participants an individual provides functional support to, limiting the duration spent in close proximity, or a combination of actions.
- Where an employee is providing an activity, relevant work placed risk assessments and consultation should take place in advance of any activity being undertaken. See the Businesses, workplaces and self-employed people section at Scottish Government: Coronavirus in Scotland.
- Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should be avoided where possible, although they may be made available (other than in Level 4 areas where indoor facilities should remain closed) for participants who require additional support such as disabled people or those with special needs.
- Where changing rooms and showering facilities are to be used specific guidance relating to use of ‘Changing and Showers’ is available at Getting Your Facilities Fit for Sport.
- Operators may open public toilets if they follow the guidelines outlined on the Scottish Government website Opening Public Toilets Guidelines.
- Access to indoor locker rooms and storage areas is permitted for dropping off and collecting sports equipment or clothing. The operator should ensure mitigating actions are put in place to minimise the risk of virus transmission including physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning measures.
- Operators should, where possible, remove equipment including benches, scoreboards, tables and any other objects that are not essential for participation purposes.
- Where the above is not possible appropriate cleaning measures, including provision of sanitiser and disposable gloves, should be put in place to reduce the risk of contamination.
- All fixed equipment should be checked prior to use to avoid participants having to adjust or touch it.
- Where shared equipment is necessary for an activity appropriate hygiene measures must be put in place before, during and after use.
- Where balls are used in sports areas, courts and pitches a risk assessment should be undertaken to ensure measures are put in place to minimise uncovered body contact. Appropriate hygiene protocols should be undertaken including hand hygiene and regular cleaning of balls before, during and after exercise.
- Encourage people to make bookings online where possible. However, be aware that a proportion of disabled people, people from low income households and older adults do not have access to the internet. Ensure you have alternative measures in place. For example, telephone bookings.
- Consider introducing buffer periods between sessions to stagger start times so that participants do not all arrive/leave at the same time.
- Where possible use online or contactless payment options and avoid handling cash. Where people do not have bank accounts it is okay to accept cash payments.
- Operators should communicate clearly and regularly with members and participants setting out what they are doing to manage risk, and what advice they are giving to individuals before, during and after visits to the venue/activity.
- Make them aware in advance of measures you are putting in place at your venue, and guidelines they are asked to follow.
- Communicate clearly opening times and how people can safely access a facility, if relevant, for example through a booking or queuing system.
- Ensure signage on guidelines for participating safely and promoting hygiene measures are clearly displayed, up to date and in accessible formats.
- When communicating with members and participants, consider how you will reach people who do not have access to the internet. When publishing information on websites, consider how to make it accessible when accessed via a mobile phone or tablet rather than a PC or a laptop.
- Special attention should also be given to how you communicate physical distancing rules to young people.
- All adults involved in coaching / actively engaging with children or vulnerable adults in an organised environment should have undertaken appropriate SGB safeguarding training.
- Operators should ensure appropriate ratios of coach/adult to child/vulnerable adult as per SGB guidance and follow all related safeguarding advice.
- Health, safety and welfare policies should always be risk assessed and
- Operators should also refer to the additional considerations developed by Children 1st: Child Wellbeing and Protection Considerations.
- Covid-19 is affecting everyone. But the impact of the pandemic is not being felt equally. Before the pandemic certain groups were less likely to participate in sport and physical activity. These groups are also the most at risk of worsening inequalities due to Covid-19:
- Older people
- Disabled people
- Ethnic minorities
- People from deprived communities
- It is more important than ever to consider inclusive guidance for people who need extra support to be active and sports facility operators should consider this as part of their work to encourage people to return.
- The evidence emerging has clear implications for how we design and deliver sport and physical activity. Some key areas for consideration include:
- Communication – Digital exclusion is a key issue. With so many services and so much information moving online it risks worsening the health impacts of the pandemic. We have to think innovatively about the range of ways we can provide information to people about sport and physical activity.
- Accessibility – Accessibility of our environments is another key issue emerging from the pandemic. As clubs and leisure center’s re-open it’s important to build understanding of people’s specific accessibility needs around things like hygiene, physical distancing and face coverings so we can provide the best possible support to people to take part in sport and physical activity.
- Anxiety, mental health and wellbeing – The pandemic is leading to an increased risk of anxiety and mental ill-health for people. We know that sport and physical activity can have significant benefits for people’s mental health so it’s vital that we continue to promote those benefits, so people are encouraged to get involved.
- Confidence – Confidence to return to sport is a big issue across all groups. We know that some groups are at higher risk from Covid-19 than others (including some ethnic minorities, disabled people and households experiencing poverty). These groups may be even more nervous about returning to sport or starting to participate. They are also less likely to participate in sport in the first place, so we’ll need to give extra attention to their needs to help build their confidence.
- Scottish Government has produced the Coronavirus (COVID-19): FACTS poster including translations and accessible formats. Where possible operators should use this document to reinforce messages. FACTS stands for: Face Coverings, Avoid crowded places, Clean your hands regularly, Two metre distance and Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.
- Ensure access to first aid and emergency equipment is maintained.
- Ensure that first aid equipment has been updated appropriately for the COVID-19 pandemic and first aiders have appropriate training.
- In the event of first aid treatment being required it is recognised that a suitably qualified person, coach or supervising adult may require to attend to the injured participant. The ‘Covid Officer’ should consider processes for managing this as part of their risk assessment. This could include but not be limited to;
- Provision of suitable PPE
- Training of coaches/supervising adults
- A parent or carer being present with children or vulnerable adults.
- Cleaning of equipment, hand and respiratory hygiene are core measures to be implemented and provision should be made for these.
- Clear guidance and plans are needed for cleaning of facilities and equipment, and waste disposal. For instance, common touchpoint surfaces (gates, door handles etc) should where possible be left open but if not possible, regular cleaning with disposable gloves should be undertaken.
- Make hand sanitizers or wipes available for use in bar and restaurant areas and at the entrance/exit to the venue/facility where this is possible. Hand sanitiser should be at least 60% alcohol based and detergent wipes appropriate for the surface they are being used on. Cleaning products should conform to EN14476 standards.
- Be aware that disabled people may face greater challenges implementing regular handwashing because of additional support needs. Some disabled people may need to use touch to help them get information from their environment and physical support. It is important they are not prevented from doing this, but operators should be aware that this increases the likelihood of virus transmission.
- Getting your Facilities Fit for Sport provides a checklist for health, hygiene and cleaning considerations and actions.
- Sports facility operators should ensure participants and visitors wear face coverings, if indoors, before and after activity or when in non-playing areas of the facility. For example: reception, locker rooms and storage areas. This is a mandatory requirement except where an exemption applies, or where there is a ‘reasonable excuse’ not to wear a face covering e.g. if you have a health condition or are disabled, including hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia or a learning disability.
- Be aware that face coverings discriminate against some deaf people who need to look at lips to help communicate. Staff in facilities should be made aware that it is okay to remove their face coverings to communicate with someone who relies on lip reading and facial expressions.
- Face coverings may not be required when using hospitality services such as café’s, bars and restaurants. For further information refer to Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance.
- The Coronavirus (COVID-19): public use of face coverings provides guidance on general use and exemptions.
Links to supporting guidance:
- Test and Protect is Scotland’s way of putting into practice NHS Scotland’s test, trace, isolate and support strategy. Containing outbreaks early is crucial to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect the NHS and save lives, and avoid the reintroduction of social and economic lockdown. This will support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life.
Maintaining customer records
- Operators should where possible collect the name, contact number, date of visit, time of arrival, and the departure time of all those attending facilities or activities. Where attending as a small household group, the contact details for one member – a ‘lead member’ – will be sufficient.
- Operators should store information for 21 days and share it when requested to do so by public health officers.
- The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect information leaflet provides information on the Test and Protect service from NHS Scotland.
Registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office
- In order to gather and store customer information securely, operators may need to be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This will be the case if you are using an electronic system to gather and store data.
- If you are unsure whether you need to register, please contact the ICO via their helpline on 0303 123 1113, or visit ico.org.uk.
Protect Scotland App
- NHS Scotland has launched a free mobile app designed to help with contact tracing efforts and slow the spread of COVID-19. The app will alert users if they have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for coronavirus.
- Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
- Further information on the Protect Scotland app is available at protect.scot.
What should someone do if they have coronavirus symptoms?
- If a person has a continuous cough, high temperature, or loss or change in taste or smell, they should self-isolate and request a coronavirus test right away. Further information is available at NHSinform.scot/test-and-protect or by calling 0800 028 2816 if they cannot get online.
- The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect information leaflet provides information on the Test and Protect service from NHS Scotland.
- Where a local outbreak has been reported, sports facility operators and deliverers within this locality should review Scottish Government ‘local measures’ guidance, their facility/operational risk assessment and consider if additional mitigating actions should be put in place to reduce risk. This may, for example, include suspending activity, enhancing hygiene and physical distancing measures or introducing additional activity restrictions.
- The guidance within this appendix is applicable to sport and physical activity facilities and activities where Scottish Government have identified the requirement for Level 4 restrictions to be applied.
- This guidance is not applicable to professional or performance sports activity which is approved through the Resumption of Performance Sport process by Scottish Government or sport
- The information outlined below should be used in conjunction with, and where appropriate supersede, the ‘Return to sport and physical activity guidance’ to inform the development of sport specific information which will be shared with participants, clubs, local authorities/trusts, third sector and other sports facility operators within Level 4 areas.
- It is the responsibility of the relevant facility operator/COVID officer to ensure that full risk assessments, processes and mitigating actions are in place before any sport or leisure activity takes place and to check if the activity is in an area which is subject to additional Scottish Government localised measures and restrictions.
- Where a local outbreak has been reported, sports facility operators and deliverers should review their facility/operational risk assessment and consider if additional mitigating actions should be put in place to reduce risk. This may, for example, include suspending activity, enhancing hygiene and physical distancing measures, or introducing additional activity restrictions.
- Scottish Government may update or change Levels and restrictions at any time, including the local areas subject to them. Therefore COVID officers should regularly check Coronavirus (COVID-19): Local Protection Levels.
Travel Restrictions in Level 4 areas
- Those living in a Level 4 local authority area can travel out with that area to undertake informal outdoor sport, exercise and recreation including walking, cycling, golf or running, as long as they abide by the rules on meeting other households.
- Children and young people may travel to and from a Level 4 area, if for example, they belong to a club which is just outside their own local authority area.
- They should however travel no further than necessary and only participate in activities they are permitted to undertake in a Level 4 area. For instance, 12-17year olds living in a Level 4 area are restricted to participating in groups of no more than 15 people.
- Adults living in a Level 4 local authority area may travel within, but not outwith, that area to take part in organised sport.
- Travel exemptions are applicable for essential animal welfare reasons, such as exercising or feeding a horse or going to a vet.
- When taking part in sport, exercise or recreation participants should at all times follow Scottish Government guidance
Outdoor Sport & Leisure Activity
- Operators in Level 4 areas may continue to open outdoor sports areas, courts, pitches and facilities (with the exception of ski centres/resorts) if documented risk assessments are undertaken and all appropriate mitigating actions including the guidance herein is put in place to ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. Please also refer to additional guidance produced by sportscotland at: Getting Your Facilities Fit for Sport.
- Restrictions on participants taking part in outdoor organised sport, exercise and recreation in Level 4 is as follows.
- Children (aged up to 11 years)
- Children can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition within their usual club or facility environment. Inter club competition should not take place.
- An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ can consist of up to 30 children, coaches, and officials at any one time.
- Young People (aged 12-17 years)
- Young people can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition within their usual club or facility environment up to and including the 25th April 2021. Thereafter only non-contact sport or physical activity should take place at Level 4. Inter club competition should not take place.
- An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ can consist of up to 15 young people, coaches, and officials at any one time.
- Adults (aged 18 years or over)
- Adults can take part in outdoor non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise, aerobics, fitness classes and competition within their normal club or facility environment.
- An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ for adults can consist of up to 15 people, including coaches, and officials at any one time. Physical distancing should always be maintained.
- Where there are multiple bubbles operating at the same venue these must be risk assessed to ensure there can be no mixing of participants before, during or after the activity. Specific mitigations could include staggered start times, limiting car parking or controlling access / egress points.
Indoor Sport & Leisure Facilities
- Indoor sport and leisure facilities including club houses, changing rooms and activity areas should remain closed at Level 4. Exemptions are noted below.
- Public Toilets
- Operators may open indoor toilets for public use if they follow Scottish Government Opening Public Toilets Guidelines.
- Public toilets are defined as any toilets accessible to the public. The opening of toilets should be accompanied by local risk assessment, and control measures should be proactively monitored by operators.
- All appropriate cleaning procedures and equipment/disinfectant should be provided as per Health Protection Scotland guidance.
- Storage Areas & Lockers
- One off access to storage areas and locker rooms is permitted to retrieve personal equipment which is essential for an activity to be undertaken. Personal equipment should not be returned to these areas.
- Where equipment cannot reasonably be taken home and is stored on site, such as kayaks, boats etc, access to retrieve and return such equipment to storage areas is allowed if appropriate risk assessments are undertaken.
- Risk assessments should include mitigating actions to reduce the risk of virus transmission such as individual access, booking slots and cleaning/hygiene protocols.
- Access to outdoor facilities
Where external access to outdoor sports facilities is not possible, access through an indoor area can be provided if suitable risk assessments and safety measures are put in place. These should include restricting access to one person at a time, ideally with a one-way system in operation, and no contact with hard surfaces such as door handles. Persons moving through the area should not stop or congregate at any time.
- Additional restrictions are in place for hospitality businesses with Level 4 areas subject to bar and café closures. Sports facility operators providing catering or bar services should refer to Scottish Government guidance for applicable guidance including takeaway services. Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance.
- Retail units operated by sports facility operators in Level 4 areas should follow Scottish Government Retail Sector Guidance.
Neither sportscotland, nor any contributor to the content of this guidance, shall be responsible for any loss or damage of any kind, which may arise from your use of or reliance on this guidance note. Care has been taken over the accuracy of the content of this note but sportscotland cannot guarantee that the information is up to date or reflects all relevant legal requirements. We recommend that you obtain professional specialist technical and legal advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on information contained in this note.
In This Section
Please select a section you would like to view.