Skip to main content

What is this?

  • This “Action Card” provides advice on measures that are likely to be reasonable to take to minimise the risk of coronavirus in children’s soft play, and indoor play areas.
  • It should be used in conjunction with current Welsh Government regulations and other (more general) guidance

Context

  • This Action Card relates to the measures those responsible for children’s soft play and indoor play areas must take, by law, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • These facilities can be known as indoor playgrounds, indoor play centres or soft play centres. As well as specific areas created for the purpose of indoor play, facilities such as these are often found in a range of buildings and services used by parents including pubs, shopping centres and some of the larger tourist attractions.
  • Those responsible for these services are required to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of people being exposed to coronavirus, and spreading the virus.
  • As a basis for deciding what measures should be taken, they must also carry out a specific assessment of the risk posed by the coronavirus.
  • The Action Card highlights risks generally associated with these venues and considers what reasonable measures could to be taken to mitigate those risks.
  • This is not an exhaustive list and other reasonable measures not referred to below may be appropriate.
  • If you have questions or concerns please seek advice from your local authority’s environmental health department as soon as possible. Please be aware and respectful of the fact that their role is to ensure that appropriate reasonable measures are taken so that your venue can operate as safely as possible. However, it is not their role to approve your risk assessment.

Specific risks in these settings

While risks will vary from venue to venue, and will depend on the activities being undertaken at the venue and the number of people present, the following risks will be typical:

  • close physical interaction, including queuing in close proximity to others before entry and while inside, for example at the reception area, lifts, toilets, cloakrooms or at play equipment or any hospitality premises on the site; 
  • potential for poor ventilation, which is particularly problematic where people spend prolonged periods together (indoors) and mix with others in these venues, or where activities with specific groups are taking place in smaller rooms (e.g. parent and toddler classes);
  • increased likelihood of mixing and face to face interaction, including on play equipment or in any hospitality premises on the site;
  • raising of voices over loud music increasing risk of aerosol transmission.

What reasonable measures should I consider taking to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus?

While it is unlikely to be possible to mitigate the risks completely in settings of this nature, some measures are reasonable to take, so must be taken.

You should consider whether the following measures are reasonable to take. The measures you take should be informed by your assessment of the risk of coronavirus spreading from use of your vehicles or premises and tailored to your specific circumstances. The Welsh Government has produced a standard template for coronavirus risk assessments, and there is further information available to support you provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Reduce the chance of coronavirus being present

  • Encourage staff to receive both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Encourage regular staff testing (where feasible)
  • Informing customers and staff that anyone who is symptomatic, has tested positive, is awaiting a test result or has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect, must not enter premises and must strictly follow the self-isolation guidance.
  • However, it is no longer recommended that children under 5 with COVID-19 symptoms undertake a test unless directed to do so by a doctor or if parents believe a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of the child. In addition, children under 18 do not have to self-isolate (unless they have received a positive test result). Symptomatic children under 5 should remain at home until they feel better.
  • Where one member of a household has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, others in that household who are fully vaccinated or aged 5 to 17 should self-isolate and take a PCR test. If the test is negative, isolation can end. Household contacts who are not fully vaccinated should  self-isolate for 10 days. A PCR test should be taken on day 2 and day 8. The individual should self-isolate for 10 days even if the test results are negative. Children aged under 5 do not have to self-isolate or take a test if they have been a contact of a positive case in their household or otherwise.
  • If a member of staff, visitor or a child becomes unwell or symptomatic while attending the premises they should leave immediately and follow the advice on Test, Trace, Protect, including self-isolating and arranging a test

Prevent crowding

  • Limiting numbers or controlling movement of people so that where possible customers can safely distance themselves from others. For example use one way systems to walk around the premises and control the movement of people coming together in confined areas such as toilets. 
  • Physical distancing between individuals and between groups remains an effective control measure in premises where there is mixing of different groups of people. While it is generally accepted very young children are not good at distancing, adults should still try to distance, and mixing across groups attending should not be encouraged.
  • Controlling entry and exit points to prevent people coming together.
  • Adopting a table service system at busy times in and restaurants and cafes on the premises.

Limit your capacity

  • Where this is economically viable, reducing the number of people who may be inside your premises at any one time. Limiting numbers will reduce the extent to which close physical interaction will occur, in particular by reducing the potential for crowding.
  • Consider advance ticketing, or other ways of restricting the numbers entering the premises at the same time.
  • Spreading people evenly across the venue so that they don’t gather in disproportionate numbers in one room or space.

Improve your ventilation or go outside

  • Encouraging use of outdoor space where this is available. We recognise not all soft play or play centres have outdoor space, and that the use of indoor facilities is a feature of the business.
  • Enhancing airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible and where safe to do so. As children will be in attendance at these premises there will be some premises where opening windows or doors may increase the risk of children injuring themselves or leaving the premises unsupervised, so this should form a part of any risk assessment.
  • If there is a lack of natural ventilation, ensuring mechanical ventilation systems provide 100% fresh air and do not recirculate air from one space to another.
  • Make sure mechanical ventilation systems are effectively maintained and have been serviced.
  • Monitoring CO2 levels to identify areas where ventilation may be poor.

Keep your premises clean

  • Minimising the number of surfaces and objects people can touch. For example, limit contact with menus, use apps to order and pay, use contactless technology.
  • Thorough and regular cleaning using disinfectant in high footfall areas and in high contact touchpoints such as counter tops, tables and door handles.
  • Placing hand sanitisers in multiple locations, particularly at entry points and elsewhere at key touchpoints, and providing automated soap dispensers and paper towels in washrooms.

Keep the noise down

  • Lowering the volume of any music played to reduce the need for people to shout or bring their faces close together to talk.

Look after your staff

  • Implementing systems to minimise contacts between staff. For example, stagger staff shifts, break times and deliveries; set a maximum number for kitchens, staff rooms, changing rooms and areas such as smoking shelters.
  • Providing staff with face coverings or other PPE.
  • Erecting screens to protect staff, for example in any cafe area or where people pay.
  • Facilitating (and not preventing) self-isolation for members of staff that have symptoms, test positive or who have been asked to self-isolate by Test Trace Protect. Self-isolating when a person has tested positive is required by law.

Remember face coverings

  • Helping to ensure that people present comply with their legal obligation to wear a face covering.
  • If your business is multi-purpose, with food & drink one of the many reasons for a visit (e.g. an indoor attraction with a café), face coverings must still be worn by staff and customers in all areas of the business apart from the specific areas where food & drink are consumed.

Help Test, Trace, Protect

Communicate

You have a legal obligation to provide information to those entering or working at your premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. This includes, in particular, information to all those present about their risk of exposure to coronavirus identified in the risk assessment and the measures to be taken at the premises to minimise this risk.

This could include announcements, clear signage (e.g. signs, floor tape or paint) for limits on the number people present in a particular area or vehicle, queuing systems and one way systems.

Links to key guidance

Download this page as a PDF . File size 109 KB.

File size 109 KB. This file may not be fully accessible.