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Guidance for organisers of activities for children and young people aged 18 and under.

First published:
26 March 2021
Last updated:

What are organised children’s activities and are they allowed?

Organised children’s activities, known as regulated gatherings in the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations), encompass a broad range of activities attended by children and young people, held for their development and well-being, such as sports clubs, drama classes, parent and toddler groups, youth groups and religious groups. These activities are usually run by a business, a public body or charitable institution, a club, or the national governing body of a sport or other activity. Clubs used as childcare, such as holiday or wrap-around childcare, can continue.

Are activities and clubs for children allowed to run?

Yes, children’s outdoor activities were able to restart from 27 March 2021 and indoor activities from 3 May 2021. This applies to all persons who were aged under 18 on 31 August 2020. 

The children and young people’s activity should, however, be supervised by appropriately qualified and trained individuals (including volunteers) and all reasonable measures must be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. .

Can premises offering supervised children’s activities indoors open?

Yes, these activities can now take place indoors and outdoors. However, this does not include activities such as children’s birthday parties, or wider gatherings of families and friends beyond the existing arrangements for meeting other people.

The operators of all these services must take all reasonable measures to manage risk and maintain social distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene. This includes looking at the types of activities that can take place. For example, where activities include dancing, using dance moves that avoid direct contact or practice individual skills. When singing, face to face singing should be avoided, and social distancing should be maintained. Singing should take place outdoors where possible.

Those responsible for indoor premises and outdoor grounds should avoid running consecutive activities, and give an appropriate amount of time for all those participating in one session to have left the area before starting another. This is important to reduce levels of transmission, and the level of time needed between activities will depend on the activity, the attendees and the space used.

If you run your activities outdoors, you can use facilities and equipment kept indoors. You and those using your services should follow all of the rules on the safe operation of those premises when accessing them, including restricting numbers and entrance/exits, the wearing of face coverings, and keeping time spent indoors to a minimum.

Are indoor play areas open?

Indoor play areas including indoor play centres, soft play and trampoline parks are able to open from 17 May. 

Who can take part in these activities?

Children and young people aged under 18 on 31 August 2020 can now take part in supervised activities indoors and outdoors.

Adults, including volunteers and qualified professionals, may attend these activities where they are involved in running them, where the children are too young to be left or where the activity requires their participation such as a parent and baby group. Adults, including parents, should maintain social distancing and adhere to hand and respiratory hygiene rules at all times and wear face coverings indoors (unless they have an exemption), and numbers should be restricted to those required to ensure the safe running of the activity.

How many children can take part?

There are currently no set limits on the numbers of children that can take part in these activities. However, organisers should be mindful of the space available and the requirements to take all reasonable measures to minimise exposure to coronavirus, including social distancing and hand washing requirements, and ensure they limit the number of places to that which can be safely accommodated in the space available.

For information about face coverings please see our additional guidance (face coverings: guidance for the public).

Face coverings are not a replacement for effective and regular handwashing and social distancing.

What can organisers do to make the activity safe?

Organisers of these activities have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to coronavirus. Therefore, they must consider the space available to allow social distancing wherever possible with children and young people and to limit the number who can attend in order to achieve that, allowing for 2m distancing between children. They should also try to undertake as much of the activity outdoors as is practicable. While activities can restart outdoors and indoors, organisers should remember, virtual meetings are still safer and should continue to be used where possible.

Will children need to socially distance?

We know social distancing can be harder for children and young people, and particularly so for the very young. However, wherever possible efforts should be made to socially distance, and the numbers in attendance should always reflect the space available, allowing for 2m distance between each person.

Can parents remain in the area when the activity is taking place?

Many parents will want or need to stay in the area while their children are participating in these activities. Where this happens parents should not use this as an opportunity to gather or mix, and should maintain social distancing at all times. Parents and organisers should also be mindful of the need to wear face coverings in indoor public places

Can parent and baby/toddler groups meet?

For parent and toddler groups and for parent and baby classes, organisers should follow all guidance in these FAQs and the reasonable measures to minimise exposure to coronavirus, including social distancing and handwashing requirements, and ensuring they limit the number of places to that which can be safely accommodated in the space available.

The group facilitator must consider the space available to allow for socially distanced interaction of the parents, how much time will be spent in people’s company and the level of ventilation to determine the number of people taking part in the group.

Parents should not use this as an opportunity to gather or mix before or after the session but should arrive and leave promptly, and should continue to follow the rules on social distancing and handwashing.

Can children attend residential activities?

Overnight residential activities can take place where single or single household occupancy accommodation can be used. This could include sleeping in tents when participating in outdoor activities.

Organisers have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to coronavirus. Therefore, risk assessments should consider the space available to allow social distancing as far as is possible with children and limit the number of children that can attend.

However, shared accommodation (such as mixed household dormitories) is not permitted at this time. For further information read the visiting places guidance.

Are contact sports allowed?

Yes, but sports, clubs and facilities should exercise good judgement by programming and running activities to keep close contact to a minimum, wherever possible, and by taking care to ensure all other mitigations are in place. Where participants are likely to be in close proximity (within 2m) or in contact, efforts should be made to limit this contact if it cannot be avoided altogether, and organisers and National Governing Bodies of the sports in question should consider what reasonable measures should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus. In cases where such an activity does proceed, mitigating actions must be put in place to minimise risk.

Are tournaments or competitions allowed?

While organised activities can restart, organisers should remember most events are not permitted at this time, though some pilot events are planned. 

As a rule of thumb, an activity held for a defined group of children on a regular basis (such as weekly football training or a parent and baby group) is an activity. However, a match, tournament or competition organised for a fixed date, which would involve different groups of adults and children coming together in one location at the same time to compete against each other, would be considered to be an event. Events are currently limited to a maximum of 15 people indoors or 30 people outdoors, not counting children under the age of 11 and people working or volunteering at the event. 

Can people travel to attend these activities?

Yes. However, shared transport should be avoided. Wherever possible children, parents and organisers should avoid car sharing and lifts to attend these activities. If shared transport is essential to facilitate the activity, organisers should follow the rules on school transport. When using public transport people should follow the rules on the use of face coverings for those over 11.

Am I able to access free tests to run these activities, in the same way that staff in schools and childcare settings can access tests?

The offer of testing for the education and childcare workforce is specifically focused on people working in those settings. However, we are working to make regular asymptomatic testing as convenient and accessible as possible by developing a number of different channels including collect and delivery models. Tests are available for those that volunteer or who are unable to work from home.

With childcare, schools and organised activities all having restarted, does this mean children and families can start mixing more regularly?

Meeting people from another households socially indoors is not allowed under the rules, unless the household is part of your extended household. This is because it significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus.

The rules on limited household mixing have changed recently to allow up to six people from up to six households, or any number of people from two households to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, but meeting indoors is still not generally allowed. The exceptions to this are for those with support bubbles.

Someone who attended an activity I run has tested positive for coronavirus. What should I do?

Organisers should take contact details for attendees when taking bookings for activities for follow up by contact tracers if required. When informed of a positive case of coronavirus you should follow the rules on Test, Trace and Protect. Organisers who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive should self-isolate.

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus , has tested positive or lives with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive should self-isolate immediately and seek a test. Where people test positive it will also be important that they tell contact tracers where they have been to allow all close contacts to be traced. Where the symptomatic person is a child their school and / or childcare setting should be informed.

Where a number of cases are seen in relation to a specific activity, either at once or over a period of time, organisers should review their risk assessments to see if modifications are required to the procedures.

See the coronavirus control plan: revised alert levels in Wales (May 2021) for further information on the revised changes for Wales.