Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance

Published: 14 May 2021
Last updated: 1 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for local authorities and event planners.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance


We have published guidance on how businesses and events should assess the number of attendees who can attend a premises

When Scotland moves to Level 0 (currently anticipated for 19 July), it is intended that the need for physical distancing will be removed for outdoor settings. However it would still remain at 1m indoors due to the higher risk of virus transmission.

When Scotland moves beyond Level 0 (currently anticipated for 9 August) and levels restrictions are lifted, it is anticipated all physical distancing requirements will be removed. Until this time, regulations and guidance around physical distancing must be followed. You can read our review of physical distancing for further information.

Event organisers and venues will not be able to seek permission for physical distancing measures to be reduced. Exceptions from the limits referred to in this guidance will only be considered for attendance numbers up to the maximum number of attendees with physical distancing in place.

Guidance on stadia and events limits

The purpose of this guidance is to set out how event planners (including fundraisers) and venue operators may seek approval, and advice if required, from local authorities for staging events which exceed the capacity limits in the published Protection Levels (see Annex A). This approval process is contained in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 23) Regulations 2021 and came into force on 17th May 2021. From this date applications can be made to local authorities for events of any size. 

The Scottish Government recommend that local authorities only approve events (with or without conditions) that will take place prior to Monday 19 July, up to the Level 0 standard capacity limits (as seen in Annex A) providing current physical distancing requirements can be maintained with those numbers in attendance.

Applications for events above Level 0 limits can continue to proceed at local authority level, with events only able to take place following Scotland’s move to Level 0 (estimated 19 July), again providing physical distancing can be maintained with those numbers in attendance. Any application for a large event is submitted at the risk of the event planner.

Indicative timetable

17 May:  applications open to local authorities – Up to Level 0 capacities for events to be held before 19 July, beyond Level 0 capacities for events held from 19 July onwards.

19 July:  larger events may be held if Scotland moves to level 0 at this point.

9 August: current indicative date for the move beyond level 0

This guidance applies to events or activities which bring people together for the purpose of community, culture, sport, recreation, entertainment, art, fundraising or business. Event organisers or venue operators may be able to organise an event which exceeds standard capacity limits if:

  • their event is ticketed (whether free or paid for) OR where an appropriate crowd management system is in place
  • it takes place at premises whose entrances and exits are controlled for the purpose of crowd and capacity management and they have had the appropriate approval, having made an application to the relevant local authority seeking permission to do so

There is further guidance around the different categories of event on our Events Guidance page. There is also guidance for the performing arts and venues sector that should be considered alongside this.

What this guidance does not cover

  • marriage ceremonies, civil partnerships, funerals, wedding receptions and funeral wakes.   In relation to these events, the usual provisions in the Covid-19 regulations and guidance on the numbers of people allowed to gather together have been relaxed, to reflect the significance of these events in people’s lives. Guidance on these is available:
  • other life events such as birthday parties for adults, wedding anniversary parties, celebrations after religious life events such as Baptisms, Christenings and First Communion.  At the moment, gatherings for such events are generally restricted to the usual numbers of people who can gather together at the various levels.
  • mass participation sports (marathons, triathlons etc). There is separate sector guidance available
  • cinemas, drive-ins and drive thru events for which separate sector guidance is available.
  • illuminated trails/visitor attractions
  • static demonstrations which are covered by separate guidance
  • marches and parades will be able to resume in Levels 2, 1 and 0 and will be covered by separate guidance.
  • picketing which is exempt through the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 18) Regulations 2021 (
  • flagship events which are identified through the Scottish Government Events Gateway Process

First published: 14 May 2021 Last updated: 1 Jul 2021 -