Updated guidance on sport, physical activity and leisure in Scotland - 9 October 2020


These restrictions apply to the ‘central belt’ area, defined as the following NHS Health Boards and local authorities: NHS Ayrshire & Arran (North, South and East Ayrshire), NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, and Inverclyde), NHS Lanarkshire (North and South Lanarkshire), NHS Forth Valley (Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Falkirk) and NHS Lothian (Edinburgh, East, West and Mid-Lothian).

The information outlined below should be used in conjunction with sportscotland’s ‘Phase 3: return to sport and physical activity guidance’ and ‘Phase 3: Getting coaches ready for a return to sport and physical activity’.

Within the central belt area:

Outdoor Activity
  • Facility operators may continue to open all outdoor sports areas, courts and pitches 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.
  • Children and young people under 18 years of age can continue to take part in organised outdoor non-contact and contact sports training, competition or events if all relevant guidance is followed.
  • Adults (18 years of age or older) can take part in organised outdoor non-contact sports training, competition or events if all relevant guidance is followed.
  • Adults should not take part in any form of contact sport (except for professional sports)
  • Outdoor group coaching for organised sport and leisure activities including aerobics and fitness classes can continue to take place with up to 30 people at any one time, including the coach as long as physical distancing is maintained at all times.

Indoor Activity
  • Indoor sport and leisure facilities can remain open if Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities is fully implemented.
  • Children under 12 years of age can continue to take part in organised indoor contact and non-contact sports training, activity and competition.
  • Young adults under 18 years of age can continue to take part in indoor non-contact sports training, activity and competition.
  • Adults (18 years of age or older) should not take part in any indoor group activity such as exercise classes, any form of contact sport, group competitions or group coaching/training.
  • Adult non-contact group activity (e.g. badminton, tennis, cricket etc.) is permitted for a maximum of 2 households / 6 people total including the coach (if applicable).
  • Recreational activity, such as gym use, 1:1 personal training, swimming, ice skating and indoor snowsports activity where physical distancing can be maintained is permitted.
  • Coaches can take multiple sessions per day, but each session should not include more than one other household if adults are involved (maximum of 6 people in total).
  • The number of participants allowed to take part in indoor sport or leisure activity must be risk assessed by the sports facility operator following Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities and sport specific SGB Guidance.

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.

  • Additional restrictions are in place for hospitality businesses. Sports facility operators providing catering or bar services should refer to Scottish Government guidance for details of these restrictions. Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance.

Outside of the areas with local restrictions, the previous guidance applies, including:
  • Coaches can deliver indoor contact and non-contact sport, activity and competition to children up to and including the age of 11 years. Children do not need to physically distance from each other.
  • Coaches can deliver indoor non-contact sports training, activity and competition to young people aged 12 to 17 years. Physical distancing between participants should be maintained.
  • Coaches cannot deliver indoor contact sport, activity or competition to those aged 12 years and over.

Sportscotland’s latest guidance on sport and physical activity can be found here and guidance for coaches can be found here.

The Scottish Government guidance on local restrictions can be found here.


The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

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.

Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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