Following the Scottish Government’s extension of exercise guidelines as part of phase three of the route map through the COVID-19 pandemic, dates have been set for the reopening of indoor sports facilities and the return of outdoor contact sport for adults.
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 sports which can now welcome back more participants as part of the phase three guidance.
Today’s announcement means indoor facilities will be able to reopen from Monday 31 August, however it is likely that venue operators will take a phased approach to this over the coming weeks and months.
Public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority and all possible steps must still be taken to continue to supress the spread of the virus. However, the continued easing of restrictions will now mean more people can stay active by taking part in sport in line with the latest guidance.
Key dates and changes include:
From 24 August:
- Adult outdoor contact sports training and competition in an organised setting can resume. Maximum numbers in any one session must be agreed by SGBs and sportscotland.
- Outdoor group coaching for organised sports and leisure activities including aerobics and fitness classes can take place for a maximum of 30 people at one time.
From 31 August:
- Indoor sport and leisure facilities can open if Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance is fully implemented.
- This includes indoor non-contact and contact sport training and competition activities for children up to and including 11 years of age and indoor non-contact sport training and competition activities for those 12 years and older where physical distancing is maintained.
Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick said: “Today’s announcement will have been welcomed by the many people across the country who have greatly missed being able to use gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools, with all the health and wellbeing benefits those activities bring.
"These past months have been very financially difficult for many businesses within the sector, who have shown great patience and support by remaining closed in order to help prevent further spreading of the virus.
"The Scottish Government is working closely with the sector to ensure that facilities are prepared for reopening safely and customers have the confidence to return.”
Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “Today’s announcement that indoor sport facilities and gyms can reopen from 31 August onwards, is the latest step forward in relation to the phased return of sport at all levels.
“The reopening of facilities, which will play a key role in Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic, will be widely welcomed by clubs, individuals and the wider public.
“However, it is important to recognise that several challenges including the current economic landscape still need to be overcome before the delivery of sport in local communities and at a club level will be considered back towards something like normal.
“As a sector we are committed to working together to address the challenges that lie ahead. We want to see more progress made in line with public health guidance and that will remain our number one priority.”
The additional sport and leisure activities will be permitted if appropriate guidance and risk assessments are in place including Track and Protect measures.
Outdoor sporting events or activities involving more than 30 people should not take place at this time unless following SGB specific guidance which has been approved by sportscotland.