Adhering to relevant government advice

Page last updated 11 November 2020

Colleagues are strongly encouraged to ensure that programming, resources and interventions allow audiences a consistent opportunity to adhere to the government guidelines of their home nation.

The Scottish government has published guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions, for the performing arts and venues sector and for the events sector.

Since the 2 November each area of Scotland has been assigned a COVID protection level. There are 5 protection levels, sometimes called ‘tiers’ from 0 to 4. Different rules on the number of people who can gather, and where, apply in different tiers.

Tier 0Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3Tier 4
Public places indoors8 people from up to 3 households (limited exceptions)6 people from a maximum of 2 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households
Outdoors15 people from up to 5 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households6 people from a maximum of 2 households
Unregulated children’s activities e.g. youth clubs, children’s groupspermittedpermitteddifferentiated restrictions applydifferentiated restrictions applyindoor activities not permitted
Outdoor eventspermittedseated and open space permittedevents generally not permittednot permittednot permitted
Indoor eventsseated and ambulatory permittedsmall seated indoor events permittedevents generally not permittednot permittednot permitted
visitor attractions inc museums & galleriesopenopenopenOpen with protective measuresMuseums, galleries & heritage attractions closed.  Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks, gardens may remain open
schoolsopenopenopenOpen with protective measuresOpen, with enhanced and targeted protective measures
Tier 0, 1 & 2Tier 3Tier 4
TravelNo non-essential travel to/from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in rest of UK. Exemptions including for essential travel for work and education.No non-essential travel into or out of the level 3 area, exemptions including for essential travel for work, education and transit through restricted areasNo non-essential travel into or out of the level 4 area. If necessary, limits on travel distance, or a requirement to stay at home. Exemptions including for essential travel for work, education and transit through restricted areas

Government guidance for working with schools and children

The Scottish Government published guidance on preparing for the autumn school term in August 2020. It requires that movement between schools of peripatetic staff be kept to a minimum but also says:

‘Recognising the importance of holistic support for children and young people … every effort should be made to secure these wider inputs through lower risk methods such as digital/virtual means or outdoor settings.’ From Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on preparing for the start of the new school term in August 2020, Version 3

On 30 October further guidance was published on reducing the risks in schools which included requirements for increased cleaning, hygiene measures and working in bubbles, physical distancing requirements, and information on transport. Primary age children are expected to work in whole class bubbles and Secondary age children may need to work in year group bubbles.

The guidance notes ‘Practical, hands-on’ learning and activities, experiments and investigations are an important part of the curriculum across all subject areas’ and links to guidance published by Education Scotland on delivering expressive arts in schools including specific guidance on art & design, photography, dance, drama and music.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues has also published an advisory note on physical education, music and drama in schools which includes mitigations to consider for delivering arts subjects.

School trips and visits

Guidance for school trips and visits has been published, that recognises thatSchool trips can be an effective method of curriculum delivery and it is therefore necessary to consider whether they can be undertaken, subject to current guidelines, as schools return for the autumn term’ and it explicitly says schools can resume visits:

‘In the autumn term, if they wish to, schools can resume non-overnight domestic educational visits, as long as all risk assessments and information gathering outlined below have been undertaken and used to reach a robust, evidence based decision on the balance of risk involved in the trip going ahead.’

You should consider how you can ensure social distancing, of ideally two metres, between your staff and freelancers and any school bubbles (which could be class size at primary level and year group size at secondary level) that visit your site. 


Guidance for organised activities for children run by unregulated settings including third sector and voluntary organisations has been published and there is a section on drama and music.

Outdoor and online activity should be considered for delivery.

Activities with up to a maximum of 10 children, young people, parents and facilitators indoors or 15 outdoors can be delivered in an appropriate setting from 31 August. The guidance notes with regards to capacity and physical distancing ‘the household restriction (see chart above) does not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of education, training or voluntary services’.

Organised activity indoors

  • maximum number for indoor organised activities 10 people (all ages included, no more than 5 adults)

Organised activity outdoors

  • maximum number for outdoor organised activities 15 people (excluding under 12’s)
  • maximum number of households for outdoor organised activities is 15 – this includes the under 12’s.

Baby groups for babies up to 12 months old can have up to 10 adults attend at any one time. For indoor organised activities for children aged over 12 months, the maximum number of adults remains at 5.

Services or activities restarting should try, as far as possible, to retain the same groups each time, so that contact details can be routinely recorded. Where this is not possible, then they must be able to comply with the guidance produced in relation to collecting service user and visitor contact details.

The advice for out of school organised activities is ‘Choirs, orchestras and group drama performances should not recommence at this point.’

Youth work

Youth Link in partnership with the Scottish government have published COVID-19: Guiding Framework to support the delivery of youth work services. The guidance specifically mentions working with external agencies and working in settings controlled by external parties. It does though stress the benefits of digital working and outdoor. 

Capacity and rule of six in venues

For outdoor seated live events in a Covid-secure venue the audience is limited to 200 for areas in Tier 0 and 1 only.

Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) in the their September update answered the question: Can attractions conduct guided tours of more than 6 people from 2 households?

Yes, attractions can have more than 6 people/2 households on tours. Attractions must, however, ensure that individual bookings for tours are not of more than 6 people, from 2 households (e.g. an attraction cannot take a booking from someone looking to book a tour for 10 people as a single entity. A booking for 10 people can be taken, but must be split up as per the new 6/2 rules).  On the tour, the attraction must ensure that each component group on the tour is no bigger than 6 people/2 households and is kept 2 metres apart from other component groups on the tour (and the tour guide). The attraction must also ensure is that the maximum capacity at the venue is not exceeded and that the guided tour can be managed through all stages of the experience, with the component groups within the tour maintaining 2 metre distancing from each other, other visitors and staff at all times.  

We take this to mean the groups of six people/two households need to remain in their bubble during any tour and be kept two metres away from any other bubbles on the same tour as them.