Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children

Last updated: 28 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 7 Dec 2020

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

7 Dec 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): organised activities for children


This guide is a summary of the relevant Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance, to support the safe provision of (unregulated) organised activities for children and young people.

It is not an exhaustive set of requirements and it remains the responsibility of each organisation and/or provider to adhere to legal requirements and decide which guidance applies to their activity applying measures as appropriate.

Risk assessments

The COVID-19 related workplace risks are dependent on the nature of the work, and the workplace environment. Employers have a legal duty to make the workplace a safe working environment for all staff. It is the employer’s responsibility to regularly conduct a workplace risk assessment and put in place measures to make the workplace as safe as is reasonably practicable to try and minimise the risk to staff including contracting COVID-19. 

Employers are required by law to conduct a COVID-19 Risk Assessment which will help them to identity measures which can be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. Information on safer working during the Coronavirus pandemic is available.

Mitigations to supress the virus

Organisations should continue to communicate and work with their employees and those attending their activities to implement measures which will help us supress the virus. 

This includes: 

  • wearing face coverings which is legally required in most indoor public places including retail, restaurants, cafes, bars, workplaces and on public transport for staff and customers, unless exemptions apply
  • supporting staff to self-isolate if they are asked to do so by the NHS
  • regularly testing to help break the chains of transmission
  • keeping your premises as well ventilated as possible
  • ensuring good hand hygiene and surface cleaning

Face coverings

Face coverings, are only one of the measures to suppress Covid-19 by reducing viral transmission and these should not be used to substitute the other measures needed to contain the virus.  Therefore, in addition to wearing a face covering, good hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing between adults are still required.

Children under 12 are currently exempt from wearing face coverings, but can wear them if they choose.

It is important to continue to wear face coverings when participating in activities, including when seated.

Adults can remove face coverings when directly interacting with young children under 5.  To support this, there must be appropriate distancing between adults not of the same household undertaking the activity.

Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings. They should be worn by staff and participants and other visitors at all times, for example when in office and admin areas, canteens (except when eating and drinking), staff rooms and other confined communal areas, (including staff toilets), except where a person is exempt.

Read more about face covering exemptions

Self-isolation and testing

Staff, parents, faciliators and school age children (as appropriate) and anyone else participating must now adhere to the revised guidance on testing before meeting up with other households, especially indoors, and take lateral flow tests before attending.

Children aged under 11 do not need to do rapid tests.

Remind staff and participants not to attend if they are feeling unwell, or they have been in close contact with someone who is unwell and waiting an outcome of a PCR test.

Test and Protect, Scotland’s approach to implementing the test, trace, isolate, support strategy is a public health measure designed to break chains of transmission of COVID-19 in the community by:  identifying positive cases; contacting those who have been in close contact with a positive case for a long enough period of time to be at risk of infection; and supporting these close contacts to self-isolate so that they are less likely to transmit the virus to others.

Any organisation hosting organised events should familiarise themselves with guidance on who needs to self-isolate, available here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect.

Services providing organised activities, must keep clear records showing which adults and children spend sustained periods of time together, and retain these for up to 21 days. This supports effective practice in following Test and Protect protocols in the event of positive confirmed cases being identified. Services should continue to bear in mind the potential impact of someone testing positive on the number of other children or staff members who may need to be tested or self-isolate – on the advice of Test and Protect.  As part of core messaging for regular testing, organisations will need to consider setting up regular testing for their staff as part of their delivery.


If using a communal space, follow the guidance and instructions in place for the host venue on ventilation.

The provision of fresh air into indoor environments is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

By taking measures to increase the volume of outside air entering a building, such as opening windows, doors or vents, you can help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Where a mechanical ventilation system is used, ensure that it includes the introduction of fresh air, and does not just recirculate used air.

Ventilation guidance for workplaces and commercial settings with regards to increasing ventilation has been published.

Good hygiene and surface cleaning

Toys and equipment that children access should be cleaned daily or, if groups of children change during the day, on a sessional basis with a standard detergent and disinfectant that are active against viruses and bacteria.

Water and playdough should be replaced daily or, if groups of children change during the day, on a sessional basis.

If soft furnishings (such as throws and bedding) have been used by a child who shows symptoms of COVID, they should be removed and laundered as quickly as possible.

Where baby changing facilities are provided, set clear use and cleaning guidance to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items It is preferable for parents to bring their own personal changing mats if possible, with good hygiene practice in place for washing hands and disposing of waste.

For more information read: COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare settings on the Public Health Scotland site.

Food and drink preparation and sharing, including cutlery, mugs etc

Surfaces in dining or snack areas should be wiped down and disinfected in between use by each group of children.

All crockery and equipment used in the provision of meals and snacks for children should be cleaned with general-purpose detergent and dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use.

Cleaning of staff areas should be an integral part of the overall cleaning strategy. Staff should use their own cup/cutlery and ensure these are cleaned straight after use.

Providers should consider whether to permit food and drink to be consumed in the setting used, unless essential for medical reasons.  

If providers permit use of kitchen areas to make hot drinks or snacks, or access to water, service users should bring their own cups/cutlery. Surfaces in kitchen areas should be wiped down and disinfected in between each use. 

Sharing of food or drink should not take place.

Physical distancing

If you are using a communal venue then follow the guidance and instructions in place for the host venue which might include using one way systems.

Limiting the number of people in any one space at any one time will help reduce overcrowding.

As a result of the changes to physical distancing from 9 August 2021, the requirement for non-domestic indoor premises is removed however we ask premises to consider what the maximum limits are for their premises and to take reasonable steps to manage the capacity to avoid overcrowding.

First published: 7 Dec 2020 Last updated: 28 Jan 2022 -