Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children

Published: 7 Dec 2020
Last updated: 4 Jan 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for the safe running of organised activities for children and young people.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children
Capacity and physical distancing

Capacity and physical distancing

From Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland will move from Level 4 to a temporary Lockdown. We have produced updated guidance for this new lockdown period.

The household gathering restrictions do not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of organised activities.

In assessing and managing risk, service providers should assess the number of individuals (staff, volunteers, children and young people, parents) that can safely be accommodated in a setting at any one time, based on the maximum numbers for each group activity by level. These activities are not permitted indoors at Level 4. Outdoor and digital options can continue.

Settings should apply proportionate, risk-based approaches to limiting contacts between adults, between children over 12 and between them and adults, both indoors and outdoors. Physical distancing should be maintained.

Organisations/service providers may wish to consider beginning with a smaller number, or  the same group of children or young people each time. They may also wish to consider working with bubble groups based on age bands to manage the different physical distancing requirements.

There is currently no scientific evidence on the duration of an indoor event or activity which might be acceptable, but indoor settings are seen as higher risk, and the risk increases with the number of households in one space and the ages present.

Organisations/service providers should consider, as part of their overall risk assessment, whether their previous delivery model should be adjusted to reduce this risk. That could mean taking on a blended delivery approach (some remote or virtual and some face-to-face), or reducing the time spent indoors, utilising any outdoor space where possible or practical.

Although there is no specific restriction on the number of groups a service provider could support, they should take into consideration how many households they are meeting up with in a day and look to minimise the risk to themselves and anyone they live with by restricting this where possible.

The following factors will also be important to consider in determining capacity and making the necessary adjustments:

  • ability to maintain physical distancing (2m) for all users of the site/space (between adults, between children over 12 years and between adults and these children)
  • ability to manage enhanced cleaning and personal hygiene
  • the specific setting for delivery
  • potential needs/behaviours of children/young people
  • the age of children/young people
  • the size and layout of space for staff and volunteers, including office space, kitchen and any corridors and entrances.
  • how indoor and outdoor spaces can be utilised and re-designed to minimise risks
  • what staffing ratios are needed to supervise each space
  • what alternative settings/spaces could be used and managed safely
  • what insurance or permissions need to be in place for alternative private spaces
  • whether you could work with outdoor providers or other service providers
  • which cohorts of toddlers and children/young people might benefit most from access to face-to-face services,

In helping to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing, and to carefully consider the needs of all your service users these additional approaches should also be considered:

  • gradual, phased re-introduction of a specific and managed number of children or young people and parents safely in line with guidance
  • what measures to manage numbers and movement around the workspaces will help ensure the health and safety of any staff and volunteers returning to the workplace.

Group Sizes by levels

Maximum numbers permitted




Baseline (Level 0)



Level 1



Level 2



Level 3



Level 4

Not permitted


There should be no more than 50% parents or carers (18+) at any one time, where they attend an activity to support their child. Facilitators do not count towards these numbers. Indoors activities are not permitted at Level 4. Outdoor and digital options can continue.

Siblings can also attend, where unavoidable, and would not count towards total numbers for these activities only.

Under 5s do not count to overall numbers. Different rules apply where all children, in the activity, are under 5.

First published: 7 Dec 2020 Last updated: 4 Jan 2021 -