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

First published:
26 March 2021
Last updated:

Indoor activities and residential activities are not currently allowed.

Are outdoor organised activities for children allowed?

Yes, outdoor activities run for the development and well-being of children and young people, such as sports clubs, drama classes, parent and toddler groups, youth groups and religious groups are allowed. This applies to children under 18 (or persons who were aged under 18 on 31 August 2020). There is no limit on the number of children and young children that can attend, but organisers should be mindful of the space available. Indoor activities and residential activities are not currently allowed. 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, they should consider the space available to allow social distancing wherever possible with children and to limit the number of children who can attend in order to achieve that.

Organised activities for children and young people aged 18 and under are now allowed outdoors – what does that mean?

The changes we have made allow for the organisation of, attendance at and participation in certain organised activities for children and young people where they are held outdoors.

While activities can restart outdoors, organisers should remember that virtual meetings are safest and should continue to be used where possible. There is no limit on the number of children and young children that can attend, but organisers should be mindful of the space available.

Indoor activities and residential activities are not currently allowed.

What are organised children’s activities?

This encompasses a broad range of activities attended by children and young people, held for their development and well-being. While at these activities children and young people’s actions should be supervised by appropriately qualified and trained individuals including volunteers. This could include a range of clubs or classes attended on evenings and weekends including, but not limited to, sporting or cultural interests. It also includes parent and baby / toddler groups that may run during the daytime. It 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

While these activities are not part of a child’s formal education, they will have some wider benefits related to learning and development. These events 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.

Who can take part in these activities?

Children and young people aged 18 (or persons who were aged under 18 on 31 August 2020) can now take part in supervised activities where they are held outdoors. There is no limit on the number of children and young children that can attend, but organisers should be mindful of the space available.

Adults, including volunteers and qualified professionals, may attend these activities where they are involved in running them, where the child is too young to be left or where the activity requires their participation such as a mother and baby class. Adults including parents should maintain social distancing at all times.

How many children can take part?

There are currently no set limits on the numbers of children that can take part in these outdoor activities. However, organisers should be mindful of the requirements around social distancing and ensure they limit the number of places to that which can be safely accommodated in the space available.

Adults should always social distance from one another, and organisers should be mindful of the use of face coverings for those over 11. While it is not mandatory for face coverings to be worn outside, organisers should consider whether or not they should be used in spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. Face coverings are not recommended to be worn during sporting activities, games etc. where physical exertion is likely. This is consistent with the requirements on the use of face coverings in schools set out in operational guidance, where parents are required to wear face covering when dropping off or collecting children. Face coverings are not a replacement for effective and regular handwashing and social distancing.

Will children need to socially distance?

We know that social distancing can be harder for children and young people, and particularly so for the very young. Wherever possible efforts should be made to socially distance, and the numbers in attendance should always reflect the space available.

Adults should always social distance from one another, and organisers should be mindful of the use of face coverings for those over 11. While it is not mandatory for face coverings to be worn outside, organisers should consider whether or not they should be used in spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. Face coverings are not recommended to be worn during sporting activities, games etc. where physical exertion is likely. This is consistent with the requirements on the use of face coverings in schools set out in operational guidance, where parents are required to wear face coverings when dropping off or collecting children. Face coverings are not a replacement for effective and regular handwashing and social distancing.

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 taking care to ensure that 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 and keep participants safe. 

Can services offering supervised children’s activities open?

Yes, but only where the activities are taking place outdoors. It 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 these services must take all reasonable measures to manage risk and maintain social distancing. This includes looking at the types of activities that can take place. For example, where activities include dancing, use dance moves that avoid direct contact or practice individual skills. When singing ensure face to face singing is avoided, even where social distancing is maintained. As an example, singing outdoors is safer than singing indoors, but it is important that distancing is maintained where this takes place. Organisers 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 will depend on the activity, the attendees and the space used.

 

Can people travel to attend these activities?

Yes, though people should be mindful of our wider guidance on leaving home at the current alert level.

Travelling into and out of Wales for the purpose of participating in or facilitating an organised outdoor activity for children is a reasonable excuse.

Shared transport should be avoided. Wherever possible children, parents and organisers should avoid car sharing and lifts to attend these activities. If organisers use shared transport including minibuses, they 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.

I store the equipment I use to run these activities in a separate building. Can I access the building to get my equipment?

Yes, where the owner or operator of the building is content to let you do so. You should follow all of the rules on the safe operation of those premises when accessing them, including the wearing of face coverings, and keep time spent indoors to a minimum. All equipment should be cleaned between uses, and all those using the equipment should practise good hand hygiene, including regularly washing.

The supervised children’s activities themselves can only take place outdoors.

I will be running my activities in the grounds of the building I normally operate from. Will people be able to use the toilet and bathroom facilities?

Yes, where the owner or operator of the building is content to let you do so. 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.

Parents often remain in the area when the activity is on. What should they do?

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 continue to follow the rules on social distancing. Parents and organisers should also be mindful of the use of face coverings for those over 11. While it is not mandatory for face coverings to be worn outside, organisers should consider whether or not they should be used in spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. 

For parent and baby and toddler groups parents will need to be in attendance during the group session. 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.

 

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

No. While we remain at the current alert level it is important to follow the rules on limited household mixing. These have changed recently to allow up to six 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 COVID-19. What should I do?

When informed of a positive case of COVID-19 you should follow the rules on Test, Trace and Protect. In advance of being spoken to by contact tracing you should start to identify close contacts of the person who has tested positive and ask them to self-isolate. Organisers who meet the definition of a close contact should also self-isolate.

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or lives with someone who has 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.