Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children

Published: 5 Oct 2020
Last updated: 13 Oct 2020 - see all updates

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children
Other considerations

Other considerations

In addition to the guidance above, there are some additional aspects that need to be considered due to the variety of services or activities to be provided, and the range of ages or abilities involved.

Community centre

A ‘community centre’ means all indoor and confined or enclosed outdoor spaces (for example, enclosed courtyards) used for the provision of services and activities, that are open to the public, including groups with any specific targeted public membership. Community centres are buildings and facilities which may be owned and managed by public sector or third sector and includes but is not limited to

  • village halls
  • community hall
  • community hubs
  • youth centres

Any other public space where the primary purpose is provision of community services including those that are delivered by commercial or social enterprise providers.

We recognise that community services may also be delivered in other buildings with a different primary purpose such as places of worship including mosques, church halls and local meeting rooms in project offices such as those in shopfronts or host organisations such as Community Housing Associations; schools  and other education facilities; libraries; civic centres; sports facilities, scout and guide halls, heritage sites. Other guidance may also be applicable to those venues depending on the function for which the venue is being used (see ‘other permitted uses’ below). Community services are also linked to outdoor spaces such as community food growing spaces, communal gardens and allotments which may be in the grounds of or close to the community centre.

Person responsible for a community centre

Those responsible for community centres are those who own it and/or oversee its management. This may be a management body or committee such as a community group, third sector organisation or a local authority. Where premises are leased/rented from another organisation it is the organisation that owns the premises who will have overall responsibility for safe opening of the premises. They have discretion over whether they have a need to open and, if so, will need to exercise judgements on when they consider it safe to do so. This could apply to a single location or more than one community centre if these are run by a single organisation. They should only be opened for the permitted purposes allowed in the Route Map and no sooner than the date indicated. They should remain closed if they are not yet able to safely adhere to the guidelines in this document.

Drop in or infrequent activities

Services or activities restarting should try, as far as possible, to retain the same groups each time, so that contact details can be routinely recorded. Where this is not possible, then they must be able to comply with the guidance produced in relation to collecting service user and visitor contact details.

You should consider limiting site access to those who need to be there for safe operation, ensuring safe working practices and production related activities. This would apply to contractors and external visitors who need to access the site for example for maintenance or repairs. Requirements which should be considered include:

  • providing handwashing and hand sanitiser and encourage visitors to wash their hands regularly
  • where site visits are required, provide clear guidance on physical distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage, visual aids and before arrival, such as by phone, on the website or by email
  • regulating entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded, and placing physical distancing markers on the floor
  • determining if schedules for essential services and contractor visits can be revised to reduce interaction and overlap between people
  • maintaining a record of all visitors, in line with Test and Protect guidance
  • revising visitor arrangements to ensure physical distancing and hygiene, for example, where someone physically signs in with the same pen. Further guidance on collection of customer and visitor contact details to support Test and Protect

Duration of event or activity

The risk increases with the time spend indoors in close contact with others.  This should be carefully considered when adaptations are required to the existing service or activity type. Read the latest guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others.

Maximising use of outdoor spaces

Evidence suggests that outdoor environments can limit transmission, as well as more easily allowing for appropriate physical distancing between children and staff or volunteers. Service providers should consider how they can safely maximise the use of their own outdoor space if available or other local public outdoor spaces.

Individuals using or providing multiple services or activities on a regular frequency

It is recommended that the number of households that you meet with each day is kept to a minimum.

Children and young people are known to attend multiple clubs and activities each day or week under normal circumstances. Parents should be encouraged not to send their children, particularly older children, to too many different activities with different groups of children and adults. It is important for parents to understand the risks associated with increased contacts for children and the implications of this related to Test and Protect measures.

Adults, both staff and volunteers and those attending any group based activity with their children, should consider carefully how many households they visit or are in contact with in one day, be that for leisure or work, and try to limit this in line with Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others.

As of 24 September, you should not meet with others in your own home or their home.

Face coverings

It is important to note the difference between face masks and face coverings. Where Health Protection Scotland guidance refers to face masks this means surgical or other medical grade masks that are used in certain health and social care situations and are considered to be Personal Protective Equipment. Face covering means a covering of any type (other than a face shield) which covers a person’s nose and mouth. The Scottish Government also encourages use of re-usable, washable face coverings, rather than single use masks to minimise plastic waste.

People aged 5 years and over must wear a face covering on public transport, in public transport premises (e.g. train stations and airports), shops and in certain other indoor public places.

Staff, volunteers and service users should wear a face covering indoors in corridors or confined spaces or other instances where physical distancing rules are difficult to meet, when accessing or delivering the services or activities set out as part of this guidance.  This information should be provided to staff, volunteers and services users before they enter the building.

There are some exemptions to this requirement, including babies and all children under 5. Read further information on face coverings. If you wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

The guidance relates to use of face coverings by members of the public in specific circumstances. This advice is not intended as an infection prevention and control measure for the workplace where there are other health and safety considerations and measures in place such as physical distancing and hygiene controls. Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

For mother/baby groups, where adults exceed 5 at any one time, face coverings must be worn throughout the activity, except when sitting down.

Consult the up to date advice on wearing face coverings as this may change with each review stage in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others.

Personal Protective Equipement (PPE)

Whilst generally there are no additional PPE measures required for non-healthcare settings if, following a risk assessment, the need for PPE has been identified, it should be readily available and staff should be trained on its use as appropriate, following HSE guidelines on PPE at work.

HPS non-healthcare settings guidance makes clear that in any setting staff should continue to use PPE in line with current health and safety policies and risk assessments, and staff should only wear PPE when it is appropriate to the task they are undertaking. 

Providers must also ensure that all applicable legislation is complied with, in accordance with government COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare settings on PPE.

When considering PPE, providers should also refer to the HSE guidance on the use of PPE during coronavirus

The use of PPE by staff should be informed by the use of risk assessments at a local level, taking account of the specific conditions of each the setting and service/activity provided, and based on a clear assessment of risk and need.

First published: 5 Oct 2020 Last updated: 13 Oct 2020 -