Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Sport FAQ

Information correct as of Wednesday 29 July. This page will be updated following any changes to guidance announced by the Scottish Government on Thursday 30 July.

 

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 carried out at home and you’re able to exercise outside more than once per day. It is now possible to participate in some outdoor non-contact sport as part of your exercise.

What is the current Scottish Government guidance on participating in Sport?

The Scottish Government updated the official guidance for sport, culture and leisure on 9 July.

The current guidance is that you can go outside for exercise and activity. This can be done more than once a day.

The guidance now allows for participation in outdoor non-contact sport. It also allows for children and young people under 18 to participate in organised outdoor contact sport, in line with the guidance of the Scottish Governing Body for that sport. During participation you should ensure you are applying physical distancing and good hygiene rules and following all other Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance.

You should not participate in any outdoor exercise or activity if you are self-isolating (see below).

Can I participate with others?

You can participate in outdoor non-contact sports on your own, with members of your own household and with members of four other households. Groups should contain no more than fifteen people, but less if possible.

When participating with people from outside your household you must maintain 2 meters physical distance from them at all times. You should not meet people from more than four other households each day, for any reason .

Can children and young people play outdoor contact sport?

Yes, but only in organised settings.

Children and young people under 18 can participate in organised outdoor contact sport (i.e. organised by a sports club or other sports provider). Physical distancing does not need to be maintained during play, but normal restrictions apply before and after play. Further guidance is available from Scottish Governing Bodies of sport.

What sports can I participate in?

Outdoor non-contact sports are now allowed. Children and young people under 18 can now play outdoor contact sports in organised settings. sportscotland are working with Scottish Governing Bodies of sport to develop sport-specific guidance. The latest sport specific guidance can be found here.

Can I exercise outdoors?

Yes.

You can exercise outdoors more than once per day. Some outdoor sports facilities will now be re-opening where this is safe to do so in-line with Scottish Government guidance.

Can I travel to play sport?

Yes.

The guidance to stay in your local area for sport and exercise has now been lifted. However, are still advising that you should try to avoid places that are likely to be busy and if you arrive somewhere that is busy, go somewhere quieter. Face coverings are compulsory on public transport. The full Scottish Government guidance for travel is available here.

Local restrictions were introduced in the Aberdeen City local authority area on 5 August. People in Aberdeen City are asked not to meet other households indoors or travel more than 5 miles for leisure or recreational purposes. The Scottish Government is also advising people not to travel to Aberdeen while the restrictions are in place. Full details are available on the Scottish Government Website.

How do the local restrictions in Aberdeen impact on sport?

Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Aberdeen, a number of local restrictions are being introduced in the Aberdeen City local authority area. These restrictions come into force at 5pm on Wednesday 5 August.

People in Aberdeen City are asked not to travel more than 5 miles for leisure or recreational purposes.  The Scottish Government is also advising people not to travel to Aberdeen while the restrictions are in place.  Bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be required by law to close, this includes such premises operated by sports organisations. Full details are available on the Scottish Government Website. Scottish Government has indicated that these changes will be reviewed after 7 days.

We are aware that some local sports organisations have indicated that they will suspend activity. While not required by the local restrictions announced by Scottish Government today, this is a decision for each organisation.

Can I play sport if I or someone from my household has coronavirus symptoms?

No.

Do not leave your home to take part in sport or physical activity if you or someone you live with has or has had symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Can I exercise or play sport if I am shielding?

Yes.

You can go outside for exercise and can take part in non-contact outdoor sport. You should maintain strict physical distancing at all times, choose times and areas that are quiet if you can, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you return home. You can participate with members of four other household in groups of no more than fifteen people, but less if possible. You should meet with no more than four other household each day, for any reason. Please read the Scottish Government advice for the shielding group.

I'm over 70, should I play sport?

Yes.

However, those over 70 are considered to be at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (Covid-19) and should strictly follow physical distancing measures. Their household and other contacts should also strictly follow physical distancing advice.

What safety precautions should I take to play sport?

You should use judgement and only take part in activity you can do safely, maintaining physical distancing and not putting yourself or others at risk. It is important to plan in advance and not take unnecessary risks that may result in the need for medical care or emergency services support. Familiarise yourself with the latest sport-specific guidance for your sport or activity.

When participating in outdoors activity, please:

  • avoid touching surfaces with your hands, as well as your mouth and face
  • avoid sharing equipment
  • follow advice on the NHS Inform website about hygiene and wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • be aware that some toilet facilities may still be closed, so use toilet facilities at home before you leave
  • bring your own hydration and food to the venue.

When will I be able to take part in other sporting activity?

The Scottish Government have published an updated Route map through and out of the crisis setting out their plans for the order in which restrictions are likely to be eased.

We are currently in phase 3. Changes in phase 3 will not all be implemented at one time.. Scottish Government have provided indicative dates for some future changes. Outdoor contact sport for adults is expected to be able to resume from 24 August. Indoor sports facilities are expected to be allowed to re-open from 14 September. Both these dates are subject to the public health situation at the time, with another updated to be provided by Scottish Government on 20 August.

All changes will be announced by Scottish Government in line with their assessment of available evidence and public health advice which will be reviewed every three weeks.

How do I look after my mental wellbeing?

We know you may find your mood and feelings are affected by physical 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.

Scottish Government's Clear Your Head campaign and our partner SAMH also has some useful information on maintaining mental wellness.

 

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, coaches and athletes affiliated to a Scottish Governing Body of sport (SGB) should remain in contact with your SGB.

Can we re-start sporting activity?

Outdoor non-contact sport is now possible, but even this will be limited by Scottish Government guidance on areas such as hygiene, physical distancing, and meeting others. Organised outdoor contact sport is allowed for children and young people under 18. While some sports organisations will now be able to undertake some level of activity, they should only do so where this is in line with all Scottish Government guidance and any sport-specific guidance from the relevant SGB. A guide has been developed to enable Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport to develop sport-specific guidance for Phase 3: return to sport and physical activity.

Can I undertake coaching or personal training?

Personal training or coaching is permitted if it is outdoors and physical distancing can be maintained. It must be limited to members of your household and/or members of up to four other households, with a total group size of no more than fifteen including coaches. A coach or personal trainer should not deliver training to more than four households at any one time or provide training to more than four households per day.

When participating in training or coaching, where possible, avoid touching surfaces and sharing equipment and touching your mouth and face. You should follow all sport-specific guidance from the relevant SGB, including any guidance specifically for coaches, trainers and instructors. We have published guidance and resources for Getting coaches ready for sport. We have also produced specific Phase 3: Getting coaches ready for a return to sport and physical activity.

Separate guidance is in place for coaching organised outdoor contact sport for children and young people under 18. Coaches should refer to the sport-specific guidance from the relevant SGB for this guidance.

How can we ensure young people are safe as they return to sport?

As we gradually start to move out of lockdown, supporting children and young people to reintegrate back into sport will be an area that governing bodies and clubs have been planning. It is essential that this incorporates and gives proper attention to child wellbeing and protection considerations. We have worked with the Children 1st Safeguarding in Sport service to develop guidance on child wellbeing and protection considerations in the return of children and young people to sport.

Can we re-open our facility?

Outdoor non-contact sport facilities are now able to open. Each facility operator should consider all guidance carefully before opening. This includes Scottish Government guidance and any sport-specific guidance from the relevant SGB.

Indoor facilities should remain closed to the public including clubhouses, locker rooms and activity areas. Toilets may now be opened for public use if the operator follows guidelines outlined on the Scottish Government website Opening Public Toilets Guidelines. Retail units operated by venues/sport clubs may reopen provided all Scottish Government Retail Sector Guidance is adhered to. Hospitality, including club houses which provide catering and bar services, can operate providing they adhere to Scottish Government Hospitality Sector Guidance.

What steps should we take to open and manage our facility when sport can re-start?

sportscotland have published advice on Getting your facilities fit for sport. You should also check with the relevant SGB for any sport-specific guidance.

As a sports organisation, how can we keep in touch with our members and customers while we are unable to operate as normal?

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.

What advice and support is in place for sports organisations while they are unable to operate at this time?

We have compiled details of advice and support that may be relevant to sport clubs and community organisations.

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?

We recognise that sports organisations will want to prepare for restrictions being lifted and sport resuming.

Scottish Government have provided indicative dates for some future changes. Outdoor contact sport for adults is expected to be able to resume from 24 August. Indoor sports facilities are expected to be allowed to re-open from 14 September. Both these dates are subject to the public health situation at the time, with another updated to be provided by Scottish Government on 20 August.

We are working with our partners to prepare further guidance. We have published guidance on Getting coaches ready for sport. For those with facilities, we have published advice on Getting your facilities fit for sport.

Date published: 30 March 2020
Date updated: 07 August 2020

Feedback

Your feedback will help us to improve this site. Please don't provide any personal information.

Enquiries should be submitted using the Enquiry form