u3a - Scotland Activities Advice

1. Document Control

2. Introduction

2.1. Purpose

The Third Age Trust has put together its guidance on coronavirus as related to the movement. We continue to follow the government and NHS advice and will keep you updated with regular mailings when the advice changes.

2.2. Scope

Relevant to all u3as in Scotland

2.3. Related documentation

3. Scotland Covid Guidance and FAQs


In November the Scottish government introduced five graded levels of restrictions on activities or setting. Each level contained a package of restrictions to suppress the virus levels and keep the R Level below 1.

The strategic aim of the Scottish Government is to; suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while they strive to return to normal life for as many people as possible.

At present most of mainland Scotland is in an Enhanced Level 4, the highest level which essentially means ‘Stay at Home’ unless you have a legitimate reason not to, which includes work, caring responsibilities, health appointments etc.

Scotland has been very cautious since the emergence of a new variant which rapidly predominated the covid infected cases in Scotland at the end of 2020. Their approach is to be led by the science, therefore, allowing time to be guided by the results and impacts on the data available of vaccinations rates, testing and contact tracing, protective measures and the levels systems, travel restrictions. They are also guided by the World Health Organisation recommendations.  

Like England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland choose to have a minimum gap period (3 weeks) between every step of the easing roadmap to ascertain its impact before taking the next step.

In Scotland mainland where they are in an enhanced level 4 restriction, the Government propose a gradual easing within level 4 before progression back to level 3. This in fact commenced on 22nd February with early learning, child care and primary 1-3 school pupils returning to the classrooms along with pupils and senior pupils undertaking essential practical skills courses. Care homes were also able to open and plan to enable meaningful family contact and interactions within social distancing measures.

This is unlikely to occur before 15th March

Again there will follow a minimum three-week gap to assess the impact of these measures before taking the 2nd step when schools will reopen, Universities and colleges reopen with social distancing limitations on capacity.

This is unlikely to occur before 30th March

If all the signs are going accordingly then the ‘Stay at Home’ restriction may be lifted around the end of March.

Unlikely to occur before 20th April

There would then follow a further three-week gap before Scotland will consider returning lower restriction levels which may nevertheless be geographically determined. So unlike England, Scotland is not proposing a pan Scotland approach to their lockdown easing roadmap.

It is also relevant to note that at this stage certain Scottish islands have been in Level 3 since last year.


How many people outdoors

Meeting indoors


Permitted Activities

Restrictions in Scotland from 12th March up to 26th April when Scotland will return to the tier system formerly in place. Outdoor mixing with up to four people from two households is permitted Only people from one household or from an extended household can meet indoors in a private home or in private gardens Stay at home measures become stay local - travel within local authority for a non-essential purpose allowed from 2nd April Outdoor non-contact sports and organised Physical Activity permitted for adults, in groups of up to 15 people. Social distancing and Covid Risk Assessments must be maintained. See resuming activity procedure note below.
Not before 26th April and following guidance at the time. Up to 6 people from 3 households can meet to socialise outdoors Up to 4 people from two households can meet to socialise indoors, with social distancing Travel within mainland Scotland will be permitted Gyms and swimming pools can reopen for independent exercise


3.1. What is the procedure I must follow in order to resume my interest group activities face to face?

It is imperative that we follow the government guidance as we move through the steps of lockdown easing. Their aim is to be guided by the evidence at each step of the road map and we must follow their lead and recommendations at all times, remaining vigilant and flexible to their latest guidance whilst planning for the return journey for the members in our various interest groups.

To summarise the u3a procedure for resuming an activity or interest group is as follows:-

  • Inform your committee of your plans and preparations for resuming. In Scotland you are required to have a designated Covid Officer to oversee and provide guidance on resumption of sports as previously.
  • Where appropriate download and follow a relevant Risk Assessment from a National Governing Body for your sporting activity (see links below) or use an appropriate u3a risk assessment template for your activity.
  • Inform your members of what to expect and how to prepare for returning.
  • Ask members to complete a personal assessment (pre-attendance) before attending.
  • Please ensure you are following the most current government guidance on social distancing, and maintaining Covid-secure requirements at all times. For instance you may be required to continue to keep a register of participants for 21 days after the activity for Track and Trace beyond the roadmap. after the activity for Track and Trace beyond the roadmap.

3.2. What do we do if a member is not having the vaccine for health or personal reasons?

At present, there is no mandate from the Government that people must have the vaccine therefore the Trust will not be issuing any requirements that members must have the vaccine or that they can’t take part in activities without having had their vaccines. We will continue to watch the government guidance on this matter.

3.3. When can we restart our walking groups

The Scottish government roadmap for lifting lockdown means people in Scotland can walk in organised walking groups outside in groups of 15 from Friday 12th March.

3.4. Where can I get information about return to play from National Governing Bodies of sports organisations

A:- This link will take you to a list of Scottish Sports Associations and Governing Bodies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_in_Scotland

3.5. When can we resume playing golf?

Golf courses with a designated Covid Officer can permit organised golf for members who live within the local authority area. Play can take place in four-balls with no restrictions on the number of households permitted. https://scottishgolf.org/covid-19-update-12-march/

3.6. When can u3a interest groups resume face to face meetings indoors?

At present, the Scottish Governments’ aim is to gradually start to ease restrictions and to resume the Tier/Level system as Covid cases continue to decrease. When areas return to the different Levels formerly in place people will still not be able to meet indoors until their area moves beyond level 0 so there is no clear indication when people will be able to meet with more than one or two different households indoors.