Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance

The Scottish Government have published guidance on how businesses and events should assess the number of attendees who can attend a premises. Read more: Coronavirus (COVID-19): calculating physical distancing capacity in public settings.

Event organisers and venues will not be able to seek permission for physical distancing measures to be reduced. Exceptions from the limits referred to in this guidance will only be considered for attendance numbers up to the maximum number of attendees with two-metre physical distancing in place.

We are considering the way forward regarding physical distancing, taking account of available and emerging evidence. Following this, we will provide further details in advance of the planned move to Level 1 on 7 June, if circumstances allow.

We hope to facilitate the events sector safely reopening from 17 May on a limited basis. This is while balancing the risks which remain as we move towards further restrictions being lifted more generally.

Guidance on stadia and events limits

This guidance sets out how, from 17 May, event planners (including fundraisers) and venue operators may seek approval (and advice if required) from Local Authorities for staging events which exceed the capacity limits in the published Protection Levels (see Annex A). This approval process is contained in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 23) Regulations 2021 and comes into force on 17 May 2021. From this date, applications can be made to local authorities for events of any size.

We recommend that local authorities only approve events (with or without conditions) that will take place prior to 28 June, up to the Level 0 standard capacity limits (as seen in Annex A) providing physical distancing can be maintained with those numbers in attendance.

Applications may also be submitted to local authorities for larger events with numbers exceeding the Level 0 standard capacity. This is providing that physical distancing can be maintained with those numbers. We recommend that events for those numbers should only be approved if they are intended to be held from 28 June onwards.

Applications for larger events or venue capacity will be submitted at the risk of the event planner and may be subject to further scrutiny. As further evidence of the impact of events on the pandemic becomes available, we intend to provide further information – on or before 7 June – about how the events sector will be able to operate after the move to Level 0.

Indicative timetable

17 May onwards – applications open to local authorities. Up to Level 0 capacities for events to be held before end of June, beyond Level 0 capacities for events held from 28 June

7 June – further details announced on larger events

28 June – larger events may be held if Scotland moves to Level 0

July/August – further details will be provided in due course regarding next steps beyond Level 0

This guidance applies to events or activities which bring people together for the purpose of community, culture, sport, recreation, entertainment, art, fundraising or business. Event organisers or venue operators may be able to organise an event which exceeds standard capacity limits if:

  • their event is ticketed (whether free or paid for)
  • where an appropriate crowd management system is in place
  • it takes place at premises whose entrances and exits are controlled for the purpose of crowd and capacity management and they have had the appropriate approval, having made an application to the relevant local authority seeking permission to do so

There is further guidance around the different categories of event on our Events Guidance page. There is also guidance for the performing arts and venues sector that should be considered alongside this.

What this guidance does not cover

  • marriage ceremonies, civil partnerships, funerals, wedding receptions and funeral wakes. In relation to these events, the usual provisions in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations and guidance on the numbers of people allowed to gather together have been relaxed, to reflect the significance of these events in people’s lives.
  • other life events such as birthday parties for adults, wedding anniversary parties, celebrations after religious life events such as Baptisms, Christenings and First Communion. At the moment, gatherings for such events are generally restricted to the usual numbers of people who can gather together at the various levels.
  • mass participation sports (marathons, triathlons etc). There is separate sector guidance available. Latest sport and physical activity guidance (
  • cinemas, drive-ins and drive thru events for which separate sector guidance is available.
  • illuminated trails/visitor attractions
  • static demonstrations which are covered by separate guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): protests and demonstrations – (
  • marches and parades will be able to resume in Levels 2, 1 and 0 and will be covered by separate guidance.
  • picketing which is exempt through the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 18) Regulations 2021 (
  • flagship events which are identified through the Scottish Government Events Gateway Process

Read the tourism and hospitality guidancewedding ceremony and civil partnership registration guidance or guidance for funeral services guidance for more information.