Golf and COVID 19: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

You asked if:
1. The Scottish Government has closed down Scottish Golf Courses;
2. Is there a specific law against people playing golf;
3. What, if any, is the fine for people playing golf?


The answer to your questions are that following the statement by the First Minister on 23 March 2020, all sport, including golf, was stopped. Exceptions were made to allow people to participate in daily exercise.

New regulations that seek to ensure action to implement social distancing and impose restrictions on gatherings, events and operation of business activity are in place. These regulations, The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, came into force immediately after they were made, late on Thursday 26 March.

Under the law, Police officers (and in some rare cases other persons designated by the local authority) may exercise the following powers when they encounter a person who is outside of their residence and who does not provide a reasonable excuse, and where it is necessary and proportionate:

  • direct that person to return to the place where they live.
  • give the person concerned reasonable instructions on the way in which, or the route by which, the person in question is to return to their home.
  • use reasonable force in the exercise of the power remove that person to the place where they live (power reserved only to a constable).

Police officers are provided with the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice to anyone over 16 including to businesses, if the officer has reason to believe an offence has been committed under the Regulations. This is an alternative to being prosecuted, and would not mean that a person had a criminal record. By accepting a fixed penalty notice, a person may discharge any liability for the offence by payment of that penalty within a specified period. The levels of fine are set at £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days. Subsequent offences double up to £480, at which point it would be prosecution at court, with a fine of up to £10k on conviction.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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