Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the soft play sector

Guidance for soft play centres to help the sector to prepare for re-opening (at level 0 or 1) .

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the soft play sector
Where we are now

Where we are now


The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland’s Strategic Framework sets 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.

In line with the strategic framework, soft play centres are required to remain closed in levels 2-4 but are allowed to re-open in levels 0 and 1, if they can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance.

Beyond Level 0

We have set out the vaccine milestones we hope to reach over the summer, and the plan to take us out of COVID-19 restrictions. See our proposed timetable for these changes.

Our Strategic Framework update sets out what a move beyond Level 0 may look like. We will ensure that our information is clear and accessible as we enter a period where people need to make personal judgements, rather than rules set by government.

This means everyone playing their part by:

  • maintaining good hand hygiene 
  • practising respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • wearing face coverings
  • ensuring there is good ventilation – open windows when indoors
  • continuing to engage with Test and Protect and self-isolate when symptomatic or have tested positive

A move beyond Level 0 will be conditional on all adults over 40 protected with two doses of the vaccination and a review of the epidemic being carried out ahead of the date for that move.

Other guidance that should be consulted includes:

Fair work

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.

Working with trade unions or workforce representatives

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.

Business support

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.

About this guidance

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.

First published: 30 Oct 2020 Last updated: 15 Jul 2021 -