COVID-19 Guidelines

Handball Guidelines - COVID Update 

19th July 2021 


The First Minister provided a Covid-19 update on 22 June 2021 and confirmed publication of an updated Strategic Framework (June 2021) and that a  Review of Physical Distancing has been completed following the accelerated rollout of the vaccination programme.  All of Scotland will move to Level 0 on 19th July 2021 and out of protection levels (‘Beyond Level 0’) from 9th August 2021.

Although restrictions are expected to be eased it was also confirmed that the protection levels system will remain available should there be a change in circumstances moving forward and therefore the guidance provided within this document will remain in place for protection Levels 0-4.   

Scottish Government are currently reviewing the baseline measures which are to be retained to mitigate ongoing risks of transmission ‘Beyond Level 0’.  Additional Return to Sport & Physical Activity guidance covering ‘Beyond Level 0’ will be provided when this information is available.

The information outlined below should be used in conjunction with, and where appropriate supersede, the sportscotland ‘Return to sport and physical activity guidance’. Be aware that the Scottish Government may update or change Levels and restrictions at any time, including the local areas subject to them. Therefore, COVID officers should regularly check Scottish Government advice and guidance relating to local outbreaks and measures here


Travel Restrictions 

Sport & Physical Activity Participation

  • Participants can take part in organised sport and physical activity based on their local government area Level as detailed in Table A in ‘Return to sport and physical activity guidance’.  Such activity is subject to exemption from household rules as detailed within this guidance.
  • When a participant travels out with their local government area they should follow the travel guidance detailed below.


Children & Young People (17 years or under)

  • Participants aged 17 years or under can travel to and from Level 0, 1, 2 and 3 areas to take part in organised sport, training, and competition which is for persons under 18 years of age.  
  • Children and young people can also travel to and from a Level 4 area, if for example, they belong to a club which is outside their own local government area.  This flexibility is to allow children and young people to take part in sport or organised activity, but they should travel no further than they need to. If attending a sport/activity in a Level 3 area or below, Level 4 guidance will apply to the whole activity e.g. 12 to 17-year-old outdoor activity should be restricted to non-contact and include a maximum of 15 participants.
  • Children and young people living in a Level 3 or 4 area can also travel out with their local government area to take part in informal exercise such as walking, running or cycling.  Such activity should follow Scottish Government ‘local protection levels’ guidance.  


Adults (18 years or over)

  • Participants aged 18 years or over can travel to and from a Level 0, 1 and 2 area to take part in organised sport, physical activity, training, and competition.  However, to help suppress the spread of the virus, it is advised that people should not utilise facilities or take part in activities that are not allowed in their home local area protection Level.  Participants should not travel to a Level 3 or 4 area to take part in organised sport or physical activity.
  • Adults living in a Level 3 area should only travel locally or to another Level 3 area to take part in organised sport or physical activity as outlined in Table A (‘Return to sport and physical activity guidance’). 
  • Adults living in a Level 4 area should only travel locally to take to take part in organised sport or physical activity.  
  • Adults living in a Level 3 or Level 4 area can also travel out with their local government area to take part in informal exercise such as walking, cycling, golf or running. Such activity should follow Scottish Government ‘local protection levels’ guidance.  


Outdoor Handball  

 (Levels 0-3)

  • An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’, including multiple bubbles, can be used for organised training, competition, or participation events up to the limits noted below.  Coaches, officials, and other volunteers are not included in Level 0 to Level 2 bubble/participation numbers but are at Level 3.  Support staff numbers should be limited to those that are required to ensure a safe, well run activity:
    • Level 3 – Bubbles of up to 30 with a maximum of 200 participants per day
    • Level 2 – Bubbles of up to 50 with a maximum of 500 participants per day
    • Level 1 – Bubbles of up to 100 with a maximum of 1000 participants per day
    • Level 0 – Bubbles of up to 500 with no participant limit per day 


Indoor Handball 

Children & Young people (U18)

  • (Level 4) Indoor Sport Prohibited 
  • (Levels 0-3) Contact & non-contact sport & PA permitted

Adults (18+)

  • (Level 4) Indoor Sport Prohibited
  • (Level 3) Indoor individual exercise only
  • (Levels 1-2) Non-contact sport & PA permitted
  • (Level 0) Contact & non-contact sport & PA permitted


Indoor Handball  Numbers 

The number of participants allowed to take part in indoor sport or physical activity must be risk assessed by the operator following Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance on the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities.  


Coaching and Instructing

  • Coaches can run organised outdoor group training sessions in protection Levels 0-3 in line with maximum bubble sizes
  • Coaches can also run organised indoor group training sessions in protection Levels 0-3
  • With both indoor and outdoor sessions, the numbers of adult coaches and support staff should be limited to those that are required to ensure a safe, well run activity.
  • Where a local area is operating within a protection level, face coverings must be worn by coaches when indoors, except where an exemption applies.


Risk Assessment Template and other materials available from sportscotland: Getting Your Coaches Ready for Sport.

  • Risk assessments must be carried out prior to all sessions 
  • Coaches operating within clubs should liaise with the relevant COVID Officer before undertaking coaching and must adhere to operator and SHA Guidance. 
  • Coaches and others supporting sessions should attempt to keep physically distant, but it is recognised that this will not always be possible to ensure the safety of participants.  In such circumstances the responsible ‘Covid Officer’ should consider appropriate mitigating actions as part of the risk assessment. Face coverings should be worn in such cases where physical distancing is not possible if operating at a local protection level. 
  • Coaches working with children should familiarise themselves with the additional considerations developed by Children 1st:  Child Wellbeing and Protection Considerations.


Oriam Facility Guidance 

  • Always follow directional signage throughout the facility
  • Follow self-treatment for first aid instances where possible but where necessary report first aid to an Oriam member of staff
  • Finish your session 10mins before your allocated end time in order to clear away any equipment, clean down Oriam specific equipment, and vacate the area
  • Where required, adhere to allocated entry and exit points for your specific activity area, these will be communicated to you in advance of your first session and are outlined within the diagrams below (Click on link for diagrams)
  • Use wider University campus car parks, in addition to the Oriam car park, to maximise current social distancing guidelines when on campus

Full Oriam Group Sport Guidance


COVID Officer 

All clubs providing activity must abide by relevant SGB guidance and have a named ‘Covid Officer’ who will complete documented risk assessments and ensure all appropriate mitigations are put in place by the club before any activity is undertaken. 

Ensure that the club has appropriate processes in place to allow the club to take an accurate record of all attendees, including coaches, for all sessions in line with Government Test & Protect (and to check that these processes are being followed) 

Sportscotland have developed a COVID Officer role description and an online training course to support this: 

Role description for a Covid-19 officer

Online training for Covid-19 officer


Exercise Guidelines

You should follow Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing, and hygiene.  Information on the Scottish Government’s approach to managing covid-19 is available at .

This document provides some general guidelines to be followed alongside government advice.  Each person is responsible for their own personal hygiene.


Before Exercise

  • Stay home, if you feel sick, even with mild symptoms
  • Check for COVID-19 symptoms every day
  • Check body temperature daily
  • Stay home if anybody in your household presents with symptoms
  • Stay home if anybody in your household has been tested positive (at least 10 days)
  • Risk assessments should be carried out and documented for all activities and facilities. Consider safety first, particularly minimising the risk of infection/transmission. Appropriate measures must be put in place to ensure participants are protected
  • Come dressed for exercise
  • Clean all equipment (Handballs, Goals, Markers) prior to and after use.

During Exercise

  • Wear a mask in areas where it is not possible to physically distance
  • Do not shake hands with anyone
  • Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow
  • Perform adequate personal hygiene such as washing your hands regularly
  • Spitting is not allowed at any point   
  • U12’s are not required to physically distance
  • Normal physical distancing guidelines apply for 12 – 17 years before and after the activity takes place.
  • Normal physical distancing guidelines apply for adults before and after the activity takes place.
  • Coaches, officials, parents and guardians should continue to observe physical distancing when involved in outdoor children’s activity as a coach, official or spectator
  • Where access through an indoor space is provided it should be for one person at a time, ideally with a one-way system in operation.  
  • Participants should ensure not to make contact with hard surfaces such as door handles and move through the area without stopping or congregating at any time.
  • Further information on physical distancing guidance is available at Staying Safe and Protecting Others.

After Exercise

  • Clean your hands with sanitizer
  • Leave immediately after the activity has finished
  • Change and shower at home
  • Clean all your equipment (Handballs, Goals, Markers) after the activity
  • Normal physical distancing guidelines should be followed after the activity. 


Health, Safety & Hygiene

  • Prepare for activity with equipment ready and in the right place aiming for there to be no contact for participants with doors, gates, fencing, and goals wherever possible.
  • If you are using a pop-up goal, ensure that the same person puts it up and takes it down
  • Hand sanitisers should be made available where possible, but the participants should be encouraged to bring their own
  • Cleaning of handballs, goals, hand, and respiratory hygiene are core measures to be implemented and provision should be made for these.
  • Ensure access to first aid and emergency equipment is maintained.
  • Ensure that first aid equipment has been updated appropriately for the COVID-19 pandemic and first aiders have appropriate training.
  • In the event of first aid treatment being required it is recognised that a suitably qualified person, coach or supervising adult may require to attend to the injured participant.  The ‘Covid Officer’ should consider processes for managing this as part of their risk assessment.  This could include but not be limited to:
    • Provision of suitable PPE
    • Training of coaches/supervising adults
    • Presence of one parent/guardian being required at the activity for children/vulnerable adults.
  • Cleaning of equipment, hand and respiratory hygiene are core measures to be implemented and provision should be made for these.
  • A checklist for health, hygiene and cleaning considerations and actions is available here: Getting your Facilities Fit for Sport


Detailed guidance is available at:

Health Protection Scotland:  General guidance for non-healthcare settings

Health Protection Scotland:  Cleaning in a non-healthcare setting

Health Protection Scotland:  Hand hygiene techniques

St. John's Ambulance:  Covid-19 advice for first aiders

HSE:  First Aid during the coronavirus


Guidance for participants

The following guidance can be used to support participants.  Consider using it in the context of before, during and after the activity.

  • Stay up to date
    • Scottish Government information is available at Scottish Government:  Coronavirus in Scotland .
    • Be aware that guidance can change, and restrictions may be reintroduced - ensure you have checked the latest version of guidelines for your activity.
  • Travelling to and from an activity/sports facility
    • Please check before you leave that toilet facilities will be available at the sports facility.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before leaving home.  Information on hand hygiene is available at: Health Protection Scotland:  Hand hygiene techniques .
    • Where possible avoid using public transport and adhere to Scottish Government physical distancing and travel guidelines.
    • Arrive as close as possible to when you need to be at the venue/sports facility and allow others to leave before you enter.  If you need to wait, then do so away from the facility and clear of any entrances or exits.
    • Take your own hand sanitiser to the sports facility and use regularly throughout the activity.
    • If driving, park your car in such a way as to facilitate physical distancing.
    • Avoid touching fixed equipment including gates, fences or benches.
    • After completing your exercise/activity return directly to your car (if appropriate) and leave. 


Scottish Handball COVID Officers 

Julia Stenhouse (Operations Manager) –

Allan Stokes (Regional Development Manager) –

Office Phone Number - 07835792560


Scottish Handball Association is currently working in partnership with sportscotland and Scottish Government to provide up to date and relevant guidelines to all our members. When we receive new or updated information, we will ensure this document is updated and our members are notified promptly.