Following the Scottish Government’s extension of exercise guidelines as part of phase two of the route map through the COVID-19 pandemic, more people can now take part in outdoor non-contact sport.
The Scottish Government and sportscotland are continuing to work in close partnership with Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs) and physical activity organisations to develop detailed plans for a variety of activities including canoeing, cycling, golf, hill running, lawn bowls, mountaineering, orienteering, rowing, sailing, tennis and walking as part of the hase one guidance.
While public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority and we all still have a responsibility to do what we can to continue to supress the spread of the virus, easing of some restrictions will now mean more people can stay active by taking part in sport with physical distancing measures in place.
Key changes include:
- Participants can now meet up with people from a maximum of two other households in a single day, with a maximum group size of eight people.
- Those advised to shield due to pre-existing risk factors can now take part in non-contact outdoor sport.
- Travel guidance is still that you should stay with 5 miles from home for leisure purposes. Driving is now allowed for these journeys but walking and cycling is still encouraged.
The Scottish Government, sportscotland and SGBs continue to work closely on updated guidance for each sport.
Chair of sportscotland, Mel Young, said: “We welcome the announcement that current Scottish Government public health guidelines for daily exercise will be extended to allow more people to take part in sport. This will be particularly welcome for people across the country who have been shielding.
"While this is good news, the most pressing priority remains public health and wellbeing.
"As such, it is crucial that participants, and everyone connected with the sports, continue to adhere to the latest government guidance and the advice issued by the relevant SGB to ensure the safety of all those involved.”
Among the many SGBs that have been working hard to create safe opportunities for people to stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic is Scottish Cycling, who have updated their guidance this week.
Chief Executive Craig Burn said: “People are having to change the ways in which they go about their everyday lives because of lockdown so what we have seen is a huge number of people who are now cycling for exercise. As people prepare to return to their working environments, they are also looking at other travel options including walking, jogging and cycling. That is positive news and of course we hope it continues.”
At this stage cycling events in Scotland remain postponed until at least 1 August 2020 and while that is obviously disappointing Craig remains optimistic about the future.
He said: “From a Scottish perspective it is about public health; that is the most important factor here. We will have to demonstrate we can meet the guidance and we will of course be dependent on venue operators. Most of our disciplines happen outdoors and the virus doesn’t spread as much outdoors, so we are looking at ways in which we can see our sport return. We have to consider riders safety but also that of our volunteers.”
Find out more
About the latest published outdoor sport and physical activity guidelines. This guidance and list of activities is being regularly reviewed and updated.