Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Sport FAQ

For general health advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit NHS Inform.

Participating in sport & physical activity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Should I stay physically active?
Now more than ever, it’s important we look after ourselves. Scheduling time to keep active helps you to manage stress and is essential for a healthy mind and body. Lots of exercise can be done at home. You can go outside to exercise more than once per day (see next question).

Is it safe to exercise outside?
The current guidance is that you can exercise outside more than once a day. This can include walking, jogging, running or cycling. Exercise should be undertaken locally. While exercising you should observe distancing rules (stay more than 2 metres from others) and workout alone or with only your household group. High risk exercise (that may result in injury and require medical care or emergency services support) should be avoided.

This advice excludes those who are in high clinical risk groups, or in houses where someone has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Can I travel to exercise?

Stay local – please do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your own local area. Scottish Government statement on outdoor access rights during the pandemic.

How do I look after my mental wellbeing?
We know you may find your mood and feelings are affected by social distancing. You may feel bored, frustrated, low or worried and have problems sleeping. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour. There are simple things you can do that may help you to stay mentally and physically active during this time. More information about mental wellbeing.

Our partner SAMH also has some useful information on maintaining mental wellness.

Why are sport and leisure facilities closed?
We should all be trying to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, Scottish Government have ordered the closure of all indoor sport and leisure facilities, as well as enclosed outdoor recreation spaces including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar. Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise.

Can I still play golf?
Both Scottish Government and Scottish Golf have asked the public not to play golf at this time.

How long will sport and leisure facilities remain closed?
At the moment we do not know. Scottish Government issued the guidance on 23rd March and extends until further notice. The Scottish Government will formally review these measures every three weeks. They may consider changes in between these formal review points if the evidence allows. 

When will organised sport resume?
At the moment we do not know. These is now legislation in place to ban public gatherings of more than two people. These restrictions apply to all sport events. The restrictions on public gatherings will be kept under regular review and remain in place until it is safe for them to be lifted. Scottish Government have published a Framework for Decision Making outlining the approach and principles that will guide their decisions about transitioning out of the current lockdown arrangements. 

Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the sporting system

How will the sector be updated on the impact on sports organisations as the situation changes?
The situation is fluid. For general information on coronavirus (COVID-19) check the Scottish Government and NHS Inform websites. We will remain in regular contact with our key partners (including Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport, local authorities and leisure trusts) and update our website when new information is available. Clubs and athletes affiliated to a Scottish Governing Body of sport (SGB) should remain in contact with your SGB.

What advice and support is in place for sports organisations while they are unable to operate?
We have compiled details of advice and support that may be relevant to sport clubs and community organisations.

Can our staff still travel to work?
All sports organisations should follow the government guidance. Sport and leisure facilities have been ordered to close. Staff should work from home if possible. Where home working is not possible, non-essential businesses should close unless and until we can all be clear how operations can be undertaken safely. We expect few if any sports organisations to assess themselves as essential. Full guidance.

As a sports organisation, how can we keep in touch with our members and customers?
Sports organisations can consider innovative ways to keep in touch with your members and customers. Social media is a great way to circulate messages, post videos or arrange group calls to stay in touch with each other. We have further advice for club and community sport organisations on staying connected and staying active.

Can sports organisations help people in the community with activities such as dropping off shopping and medication?
We all need to stay at home to protect ourselves and others. However, those who are well and not at risk can provide essential support for their family, friends and neighbours who cannot leave the house. Scottish Government has produced advice for community groups who want to consider how they can help people in their community through the coronavirus outbreak in a way which is safe, sustainable and protects the vulnerable.

What should we do to maintain our sports facility during the shutdown?

We have created a guidance note for sport facility owners and operators setting out recommended actions to make your sports facility safe and to minimise the work to get it fit for sport when Scottish Government guidance confirms it is safe to do so.

If our building remains empty, will this impact on our insurance?
In general, leaving a building empty for an extended period can have an impact on insurance policies. However, every insurance policy is different and we would encourage you to check your organisation’s insurance policy and if concerned speak to the insurance provider. 

How should we prepare for sport to resume when the restrictions are lifted?
At present, we do not know how long the restrictions on sport will be in place. Restrictions may be lifted in phases. We recognise that sports organisations will want to prepare for restrictions being lifted and sport resuming. We are working on advice to help you do so. We will update our website when this is available.

How should we prepare our sports facility when sport is able to resume?
We recognise that facility operators are likely to have to take additional steps after a long-period out of operation, to ensure it is safe to open. We are working on advice to help you do so. We will update our website when this is available.

Date published: 30 March 2020
Date updated: 13 May 2020

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