Where we are now
- fair work
- working with trade unions or workforce representatives
- business support
- about this guidance
The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland’s Strategic Framework was updated on 23 February 2021, setting out how we will work to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible and tackle the four harms we know the virus causes.
This framework sets out a strategic approach to outbreak management based on five levels of protection. Each of the five levels comprises packages of restrictions to suppress the virus to low levels and keep R below 1, according to different epidemiological conditions in the areas in which they are applied.
A timetable for easing restrictions was published on 16 March 2021.
In line with the strategic framework, soft play centres are required to remain closed in levels 2-4 but would be allowed to re-open in levels 0 and 1, if they can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance.
Other guidance that should be consulted includes:
- HPS: COVID-19 Non Healthcare Settings guidance which provides general information on the background to COVID-19, symptoms, general principles of infection prevention and control and health protection measures and what to do if someone becomes unwell on site
- Scottish Government COVID-19 ventilation guidance which supports the mixing of individuals safely in indoor domestic and commercial properties
- HSE air-conditioning and ventilation guidance setting out air-conditioning and ventilation requirements for employers during coronavirus pandemic
- NHS Inform which has a wide range of useful public facing information including information on symptoms and what to do
- Test and protect website from Scottish Government that contains information on how to get tested and what you need to do
- Returning to work safely which has details of current sectoral guidance and further sources of advice for organisations and workers
- Healthy Working Lives website which provides examples of risk assessment templates and other practical tools for organisations and workers
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE) COVID-19 guidance as this will be referred to by HSE inspectors to assess compliance
- Tourism and Hospitality Sector Guidance which will be relevant for any soft play operators providing hospitality services on their premises
To judge whether and when restrictions can be changed we will consider a range of evidence on the progress of the pandemic in Scotland using the principles set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making and our long established commitment to fair work. As Scotland continues to ease lockdown restrictions, organisations including the Institute of Directors (IoD), SCDI, STUC, COSLA and SCVO have signed a fair work statement underlining the collaborative approach needed between employers, unions and workers to ensure workplaces can operate safely.
This guidance is underpinned by a spirit of collaborative working between organisations and workers. Throughout this document, the terms organisations and trade union or workforce representatives are used in that context. Organisations have a legal responsibility to maintain workplace health and safety and must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union. If there is not one, a representative should be chosen by workers. Organisations cannot decide who the workforce representative will be.
There has been an unprecedented package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to support businesses. This support should help many organisations preserve their business, maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout this crisis. Further business support information is available.
This guidance emphasises the importance of undertaking robust and regular risk assessments with full input from trade unions or workforce representatives, and to keep all risk mitigation measures under regular review so that workplaces continue to feel, and be, as safe as possible.
Easing restrictions will not mean returning to how things were before the virus. Physical distancing, hand hygiene, increased cleaning regimes and risk reducing measures will be essential in each area to ensure public and workforce confidence and reassure service users.
The aim of this guidance is to provide clarity on what is expected with regard to practical approaches to the reopening of soft play activities and assist soft play operators, to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus for staff, for children and parents /carers using them, and for other visitors such as delivery persons or contractors.