Covid-19 Restrictions in Scotland - FAQs


Updated 22 March 2021

Please be aware that Government guidance and laws are always evolving - if we become aware of any changes we will keep you updated here and on our social channels.

Please always check that you are insured for any activity you are doing, and make sure you have permission to use any public outdoor spaces.

When working within the guidance below, we would urge everyone to exercise caution and prioritise the safety of themselves, clients and the wider community. Please always maintain social distancing and good hygiene protocols.

Further resources
sportscotland detailed guidance for coaches.
Scottish Government guidance.


Can I run personal training or group exercise sessions outdoors?
  • Level 0-3: Coaches can run organised outdoor group training sessions in protection
  • Levels 0-3 with a maximum of 30 people involved at any one time, or as agreed through approved SGB Guidance and Scottish Government (COVID-19) guidance.
  • Level 4: Organised non-contact sport, exercise or fitness can take place in groups of up to 15 people including the instructor or coach. These sessions must take place within the organised sport protocols - including risk assessments, social distancing and hygiene. For under 12s, contact sport is permitted and the maximum group is 30, including coaches.
  • From 5 April in Level 4, outdoor contact sport can resume for 12-17 year olds.
  • From 17 May in Level 4, outdoor contact sport can resume for adults.
  • Children under 5 are not counted towards the gatherings limits for exercising outside.
  • Sportscotland has further guidance and a range of useful resources and templates available.
  • For sessions in private gardens please see below.

Do I or my clients need to check in using the Protect Scotland app for outdoor sport, PT or group exercise sessions?
  • Use of the app is recommended, although it is not compulsory. If you do not use the app you must still keep a record of attendees for test and trace purposes.

Can I work with more than one client or group per day (outdoors) provided there is no overlap?
  • Yes.

Can outdoor sports facilities open?
  • 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.

What are the travel restrictions for sport and physical activity?
  • Instructors can travel into and out of Level 3 and Level 4 areas for work purposes or to provide voluntary services, but only where this cannot be done from home.
  • Adults living in a Level 3 or Level 4 area should only travel locally (within their own local government area) to take part in organised sport or physical activity.
  • Adults living in a Level 3 or Level 4 area should only travel out with their local government area (up to 5 miles) to take part in informal exercise such as walking, cycling, golf or running that starts and finishes at the same place.
  • Participants aged 17 years or under can travel to and from Level 0, 1, 2 and 3 areas to take part in organised sport, physical activity, training and competition.
  • Children and young people may travel into or out of a Level 4 area for organised activity if that is where their sport, club or activity usually takes place.
  • Children and young people living in a Level 3 or 4 area should only travel out with their local government area (up to 5 miles) to take part in informal exercise such as walking, running or cycling which starts and finishes at the same place.

Can I provide equipment for outdoor sessions?
  • You should aim to minimise the use of equipment or ask clients to provide their own where possible. If you need to provide equipment, follow the sportscotland guidance on cleaning, sanitisation and risk assessment.

Can I use a gazebo or similar structure for outdoor sessions?
  • You can use a gazebo or canopy, provided it is open on two sides, provides adequate ventilation and does not create an enclosed space or a permanent structure.

Can I run training sessions in a private garden?
  • Up to four people from two households are permitted to gather in a private garden for exercise. If you are running an organised group exercise session, following the above guidance for organised sport and the space allows social distancing to be maintained, you can have a group of up to 15 people (including the instructor) in a private outdoor space.

Can I run personal training sessions inside a private home?
  • Levels 0-2: Yes.
  • Level 3: Yes, for 1:1 sessions only.
  • Level 4: No.

What about indoor activity?
  • Level 0: Gyms and leisure facilities can open. Contact and non-contact sport and physical activity is permitted indoors.
  • Level 1-2: Gyms and leisure facilities can open. Non-contact sport and physical activity is permitted indoors for adults. Contact sport is permitted for under-18s.
  • Level 3: Gyms and leisure facilities can open for individual exercise only, however 1:1 personal training is permitted. Contact and non-contact sport and physical activity is permitted indoors for under-18s.
  • Level 4: Gyms and indoor leisure facilities must close. Indoor sport and physical activity is not permitted between different households.
  • From 26 April at Level 4, gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise. We believe this will include 1:1 training and will confirm as soon as possible.
  • From 17 May at Level 4, indoor group exercise can resume. We believe this will include personal training inside a private home (up to 4 people from 2 households) and will confirm as soon as possible.
  • sportscotland defines contact sport or activity 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.
  • Face coverings must be worn by coaches when indoors, except where an exemption applies or during physical activity (see the sportscotland guidance for more details).

Can indoor facilities in Level 4 be used for staff training and educational purposes?
  • No.

Can I use an indoor facility in Level 4 for filming online classes?
  • No.

Are there exceptions for people with disabilities?
  • Where a disabled participant requires functional support to help them participate, coaches can provide this without maintaining physical distancing. In such circumstances you 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.
  • At Level 4, there is no exemption for providing personal training sessions to a disabled person indoor.

Are there exceptions for elite sports coaching and training?
  • Professional & performance sports with Resumption of Performance Sport guidance in place and approved by Scottish Government or sportscotland is permitted at all Levels.


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CIMSPA’s work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gyms, coaching, outdoor exercise, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.


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