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 two-metre physical distancing in place.
We are considering the way forward regarding physical distancing, taking account of available and emerging evidence.
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 28th June (when it is currently planned for all of Scotland to move to Level 0), up to the Level 0 standard capacity limits (as seen in Annex A) providing physical distancing 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 28th June), 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.
17 May: applications open to local authorities – Up to Level 0 capacities for events to be held before end of June, beyond Level 0 capacities for events held from 28th June onwards.
28 June: larger events may be held if Scotland moves to Level 0 at this point.
July/August: further details will be provided in due course regarding next steps 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 (legislation.gov.uk)
- flagship events which are identified through the Scottish Government Events Gateway Process