COVID-19 Guidelines

Handball Guidelines - COVID Update

5th April 2021 



Scottish Government’s strategic framework document (version: Feb 2021) for managing COVID-19 provides a 0-4 Level approach to restrictions with each local authority area (or sub-area) placed in a relevant protection Level depending upon its COVID-19 status which will be reviewed weekly.  


Level 4 Guidance 'Stay Local'


  • 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 in Level 4 Areas 

  • Those living in a Level 4 local authority area can travel within that area (or up to 5 miles from its boundary) to undertake informal outdoor sport, exercise and recreation including walking, cycling, golf or running that starts and finishes at the same place, as long as they abide by the rules on meeting other households.
  • Children and young people may travel to and from a Level 4 area, if for example, they belong to a club which is just outside their own local authority area.  
    • They should however travel no further than necessary and only participate in activities they are permitted to undertake in a Level 4 area.  For instance, 12-17year olds living in a Level 4 area are restricted to participating in groups of no more than 15 people.
  • Adults living in a Level 4 local authority area may travel within, but not outwith, that area to take part in organised sport.
  • When taking part in sport, exercise or recreation participants should at all times follow Scottish Government ‘stay at home’ guidance


Outdoor Sport & Leisure Activity  

Restrictions on the number of people who can take part in sport, exercise and recreation has been updated and is as follows:

  • Children (aged up to 11 years).
    • Children can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition within their usual club or facility environment.  Inter club competition should not take place.
    • An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ can consist of up to 30 people including children, coaches, and officials at any one time.
  • Young People (aged 12 – 17 years)
    • Young people can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition within their usual club or facility environment. Inter club competition should not take place.
    • An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ can consist of up to 15 young people, coaches, and officials at any one time.
  • Adults
    • Adults can take part in outdoor non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise, aerobics, fitness classes and competition within their normal club or facility environment. 
    • An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ for adults can consist of up to 15 people, including coaches, and officials at any one time.  Physical distancing should always be maintained.  


Indoor Sport & Leisure Activity

  • Indoor sport and leisure facilities including club houses, changing rooms and activity areas should remain closed at Level 4.


Coaching and Instructing

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. 
  • Coaches working with children should familiarise themselves with the additional considerations developed by Children 1st:  Child Wellbeing and Protection Considerations.


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.  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 Exercis

  • 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, during 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 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.