Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance

Published: 14 May 2021
Last updated: 10 Jun 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for local authorities and event planners.

10 page PDF

207.7 kB

10 page PDF

207.7 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance
Background and approach

10 page PDF

207.7 kB

Background and approach

Additional risks can be associated with live events, particularly around points of constriction like entrances/exits and communal facilities such as toilets.  With larger events there are also additional considerations around the risks of crowding and capacity, for example on public transport.  In recognition of these risks we  are applying a gradual approach for events to go ahead (when allowed in Level 2) either with a number of attendees in line with the maximum capacities as detailed by the protection levels table; or above these limits with local authority support.

We recommend that large events (above the Level 0 capacity limits) are not approved in respect of events planned prior to 28 June due to the current ongoing risks of coronavirus transmission. Further easings will be informed by the outcomes of Phase 1 of the Event Research Programme in England (which is due to report around end May) and evidence from elsewhere. This guidance and the approval process will be reviewed as more information becomes available in this sphere. Events are classed as:

Small events

Events with attendance up to the limits identified in the levels table at that point in time. These can proceed on the basis of self-assessment per the physical distancing capacities guidance; subject to meeting any normal or existing requirements of the local authority.

Medium events

Events with attendance up to the capacity limits identified at Level 0 in the levels table. If event organisers want to organise an event when their area is in Level 1 or 2 in excess of the relevant capacity limits, they must apply for approval to the local authority, who will consider the application drawing on existing procedures and processes.

Large events

Events with attendance above the limits identified at Level 0 in the levels table, and which may take place after Scotland moves to Level 0 (planned for 28th June). These will be subject to additional consideration by the local authority, drawing on existing procedures and processes. Scottish Government will also have the power to call in certain applications or application types within this category. This will be held in reserve at present and only used if the assessment of the epidemic suggests additional consideration at a national level is required.  An associated requirement to notify the Scottish Government will similarly be held in reserve.

Flagship events

Please note that internationally significant Flagship Events will fall under the Scottish Government Events Gateway Process and are dealt with separately from this guidance.

Capacity limits for events

Capacity limits based on physical distancing should be adhered to throughout the event. For example if a premises can admit 500 people, it should not have more than that figure at any one time but may go above this figure over the course of a day or days to allow attendees to come and go.

Stadia and live events, under the government’s protection levels system, are expected to comply with limits in order to ensure risks are fully considered for public health reasons.

Where an organiser wants to stage a medium or large event, they must make an application to the local authority seeking approval for their event to proceed with attendance which exceeds the standard capacity limits .

Local authorities, through Environmental Health Officers or similar, should carry out a risk assessment of the planned event through their existing safety advisory group or other routes as deemed appropriate by the local authority, including consultation with appropriate public bodies (e.g. Transport Scotland, Police and Directors of Public Health).

Each local authority can provide advice on their procedures for considering these requests. A risk-based approach should be adopted to decide whether on-site inspection is necessary.

There are a number of premises which host live events as part of their usual business. Some examples of this include:

  • theatres
  • concert halls
  • music venues
  • sports stadiums and grounds
  • conference centres

These venues or premises should use the new approval process to seek approval from their local authority should they wish to hold medium or large events above the standard capacity limits corresponding to the Level at the time . Any calculation of venue capacity should be informed by the physical distancing assessment.

First published: 14 May 2021 Last updated: 10 Jun 2021 -