Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice to organisers on mass events

Published: 15 Mar 2020

To protect the capacity of our public services, the Scottish Government advises that organisers should cancel or postpone all mass events of 500 people or more – indoors or outdoors.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice to organisers on mass events
Advice to organisers

Advice to organisers

Our advice is that mass events should not take place, with effect from Monday 16 March 2020. The definition of a mass event, for this purpose, is any event expected to involve more than 500 attendees.

This advice applies to mass events across all sectors – including sporting events, cultural events, and religious gatherings.

Sporting events

While this advice applies to a range of sectors, we recognise that these measures will have a specific impact on sports events – and in particular on sports like football and rugby, given the large attendances at many games, and the large number of people who participate.

On 13 March 2020, all domestic professional and grassroots football under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA was suspended until further notice. The SRU will implement similar restrictions from 15 March 2020 in relation to professional and grassroots rugby. We support these steps.

There will clearly be implications across all organised sport in Scotland. The impact of the advice above is that large-scale events should not take place across a range of sports. Sports may also wish to consider the viability of holding grassroots and club activity, in light of the increased spread of the virus and the impact that may have on both participants, staff and volunteers. Sports may wish to carefully consider cancelling sessions specifically aimed at older adults given the increased risk posed to those individuals.

Sports Governing Bodies, Clubs, supporters and event organisers will want to give careful consideration as to whether they travel to any scheduled overseas competitions. Restrictions on mass gatherings and travel more generally have been implemented in many countries across the globe, resulting in many cancellations of sporting competitions. For those who may still be planning on travelling to sporting events overseas, the FCO’s travel advice should be followed. Where participants in sporting events would be coming from countries on the FCO list, or with their own travel restrictions, we would advise against the event going ahead.

Further measures may be taken as the situation develops. We are continuing to liaise with all sports bodies, in the interest of the health and safety of participants, coaches, support staff and volunteers. 

Other settings

This advice does not apply to public transport, educational settings, workplaces, shopping centres or public spaces. 

Travel to and from Scotland

This advice does not impact on travel to or from Scotland.