For Members Information:
DEFINITIONS – FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS GUIDANCE
1. Bowling Activity refers to bowling activities which are undertaken in a structured and
managed way following specific rules and regulations outlined in Bowls Scotland Return to
the Green guidance. All organised activity should have documented risk assessments
completed by a COVID Officer and mitigating actions put in place to ensure the health,
safety and welfare of players, volunteers, and coaches.
2. Non-contact sport or activity is defined as “a sport or activity in which the participants
are physically separated by playing rules such as to make it difficult for them to make
physical contact during an activity”. Lawn Bowls is considered by sportscotland as a Noncontact sport.
3. Competitions refers to where players or teams compete against different opponents as
part of an organised league or competition.
4. Bowling Bubble refers to an outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ that can consist of a
maximum amount of people including players, coaches, officials, and other support staff at
any one time, depending on the COVID protection level.
5. Levels refers to COVID protection levels (sometimes known as tiers or tier system) set out
measures that can be applied nationally or locally depending on the prevalence of the virus
across Scotland. Each area has a COVID protection level. There are 5 different levels
starting from 0 to 4. The lowest level is 0 and the highest level is 4. Levels are reviewed
on a regular basis.
RETURN TO THE GREEN GUIDANCE SECTION 1: FACILITIES
PLANNING & PREPARATION
1. It is the responsibility of each club to appoint a responsible person/s, referred to as
the COVID Officer, to act as the point of contact on all things related to COVID-19. A
COVID Officer role descriptor can be found here:
An e-learning module for COVID officers is available to support those undertaking the
2. The COVID officer/s MUST ensure that full risk assessments, processes and
mitigating actions are in place before any clubhouse or bowling activity takes place.
Specific consideration should be given to the needs of those who are at greater risk.
3. As with any normal season, clubs should ensure check they have the correct and full
insurance cover is in place and valid before any activity takes place.
4. Clubs should check with their landlord that they have permission to re-open.
5. Clubs should only re-open when it is safe to do so, in accordance with Scottish
Government and Bowls Scotland guidance.
6. No face to face meetings permitted in Level 3 and 4.
Face to face club meetings are only permitted in Level 0-2 where social distancing,
household and hygiene rules are in place. 5
7. Clubs must ensure that all players, volunteers, and visitors are aware of the
requirement to adhere to Scottish Government and Bowls Scotland guidance prior to
any bowling activity being undertaken and reserve the right to intervene where there
are any clear and visible breaches of this guidance by participants.
8. Where a player with a disability requires functional support to help them participate
coaches, carers or those supporting the participant can provide this without
maintaining physical distancing. In such circumstance the responsible ‘COVID Officer’
should consider appropriate mitigating actions as part of the risk assessment. For
instance, providing appropriate PPE, limiting the number of participants an individual
provides functional support to, limiting the duration spent in proximity, or a
combination of actions.
9. To protect club employees, relevant work placed risk assessments and consultation
should take place in advance of any activity being undertaken. See the Businesses,
workplaces, and self-employed people section at Scottish Government: Coronavirus
TOILETS AND CHANGING FACILITIES / LOCKER ROOMS
10. Club houses should remain closed apart for toilet access and one-off access to
storage areas and locker rooms to retrieve personal equipment which is essential.
Personal equipment should not be returned to these areas.
Changing rooms and showering facilities can also be used for players who require
additional support such as disabled people or those with additional support needs.
11. Where changing rooms and showering facilities are to be used specific guidance
relating to use of ‘Changing and Showers’ is available at Getting Your Facilities Fit for
12. Clubs may open toilets if they follow the guidelines outlined on the Scottish
Government website Opening Public Toilets Guidelines.
13. Where equipment cannot reasonably be taken home and is stored on site, access to
retrieve and return such equipment to storage areas is allowed if appropriate risk
assessments are undertaken.
EQUIPMENT PROVISION AND USE
14. Clubs should remove equipment that is not essential for all bowling activity. For
example, 2m Sticks, Score Boards, Chalk, Pushers etc. (Please note at Level 3 and
4, the equipment outlined above is not permitted).
15. For use of any essential equipment in Levels 0 – 2, clubs should risk assess and have
appropriate cleaning measures in place to reduce the risk of contamination.
16. Benches are permitted for the following reasons ONLY:
a. Players changing shoes.
b. Players preparing or finishing play.
c. Spectators (spectating guidance in this document MUST be followed)
17. Bins may be provided but should be regularly checked, cleaned/sanitised, emptied and
disposed of using appropriate personal protective equipment. Bins should be removed
at Level 4.6
18. Cleaning products (soapy water) must be made available by the club. Players must
use the cleaning products after each game to cleanse all mats and jacks (ensure
these are completely dry before use on the green again)
19. Players should use separate mats and jacks, however if this is not possible, whichever
player collects the mats and jack is responsible for all contact with the equipment
before, during and after the game.
20. As a suggestion jacks or mats can be set at short, medium, or long by the same player
after each end rather than rolling the jack down the rink for position.
21. Where shared equipment is necessary for an activity appropriate hygiene measures
must be put in place before, during and after use.
22. Players should not:
a. Pick up any other player’s bowl.
b. Share equipment e.g., cloths, measures, etc.
c. Moisten their hands with saliva before delivery.
d. Shake hands, high-five or have any physical contact with any other people at
BOOKINGS AND PAYMENT
23. Clubs should organise a system for booking and allocation of rink times that ensures
the safety of players.
24. Clubs should encourage players to make bookings online where possible. However,
some people might not have access to internet and alternative measures should be put
in place e.g., phone bookings.
25. Clubs should leave an adequate amount of time between booking slots to minimise the
number of players arriving and leaving at any one time and allow for any shared
equipment to be sanitised.
26. Where possible use online or contactless payment options and avoid handling cash.
COMMUNICATION WITH MEMBERS
27. Clubs should communicate clearly and regularly with members setting out what they
are doing to manage risk, and what advice they are giving to individuals before, during
and after visits to the bowling club.
28. Clubs should make members aware in advance of measures you are putting in place
at your venue, and guidelines they are asked to follow.
29. Clubs should communicate clearly opening times and how members can safely access
the club, if relevant, for example through a booking system.
30. Clubs should ensure signage on guidelines for participating safely and promoting
hygiene measures are clearly displayed, up to date and in accessible formats.
31. Clubs should consider how to reach people when publishing information and how this
can be accessible to all.7
32. Special attention should also be given to how clubs communicate physical distancing
rules to young people off the bowling green
HEALTH, SAFETY AND HYGIENE
33. Scottish Government has produced the Coronavirus (COVID-19): FACTS poster
including translations and accessible formats. Where possible operators should use
this document to reinforce messages. FACTS stand for: Face Coverings, Avoid
crowded places, Clean your hands regularly, Two metre distance and Self isolate and
book a test if you have symptoms.
34. Clubs should ensure that first aid equipment has been updated appropriately for the
COVID-19 pandemic and first aiders have appropriate training. All first aid equipment
should be accessible.
35. In the event of first aid treatment being required it is recognised that a suitably qualified
person, coach, or supervising adult may require to attend to the injured participant. The
‘COVID Officer’ should consider processes for managing this as part of their risk
assessment. This could include but not be limited to:
• Provision of suitable PPE
• Training of coaches/supervising adults
• A parent or carer being present with children or vulnerable adults.
36. Cleaning of equipment, hand and respiratory hygiene are core measures to be
implemented and provision should be made for these.
37. Clear guidance and plans are needed for cleaning of facilities and equipment, and
waste disposal. For instance, common touchpoint surfaces (gates, door handles etc)
should where possible be left open but if not possible, regular cleaning with disposable
gloves should be undertaken.
38. Make hand sanitizers or wipes available for use in all relevant areas. Hand sanitiser
should be at least 60% alcohol based and detergent wipes appropriate for the surface
they are being used on. Cleaning products should conform to EN14476 standards.
39. Be aware that some people may face greater challenges implementing regular
handwashing because of additional support needs. Some people may need to use
touch to help them get information from their environment and physical support. It is
important they are not prevented from doing this, but operators should be aware that
this increases the likelihood of virus transmission
40. Getting your Facilities Fit for Sport provides a checklist for health, hygiene and cleaning
considerations and actions.
41. Clubs should ensure players and visitors wear face coverings in the club house facility.
This is a mandatory requirement except where an exemption applies e.g., if you have
a health condition or are disabled, including hidden disabilities such as autism,
dementia, or a learning disability. The Coronavirus (COVID-19): public use of face
coverings provides guidance on general use and exemptions.8
42. Be aware that face coverings discriminate against some deaf people who need to look
at lips to help communicate. Clubs should make coaches and volunteers aware that it
is okay to remove their face coverings to communicate with someone who relies on lip
reading and facial expressions. Physical distancing must always be maintained.
43.Face coverings may not be required when using hospitality services, for example when
sitting for a meal or bar service. However, face coverings must be worn when moving
around the club house. For further information refer to Scottish Government
Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance.
TEST AND PROTECT
44. Test and Protect is Scotland’s way of putting into practice NHS Scotland’s test, trace,
isolate and support strategy. Containing outbreaks early is crucial to reduce the spread
of COVID-19, protect the NHS and save lives, and avoid the reintroduction of social
and economic lockdown. This will support the country to return to, and maintain, a more
normal way of life.
45. Maintaining customer records:
a. Clubs should where possible collect the name, contact number, date of visit,
time of arrival, and the departure time of all those attending facilities or
activities. Where attending as a small household group, the contact details for
one member – a ‘lead member’ – will be sufficient.
b. Clubs should store information for 21 days and share it when requested to do
so by public health officers.
c. The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect information leaflet provides
information on the Test and Protect service from NHS Scotland.
46. Registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office
a. To gather and store customer information securely, clubs may need to be
registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This will be the
case if you are using an electronic system to gather and store data.
b. If you are unsure whether you need to register, please contact the ICO via
their helpline on 0303 123 1113 or visit www.ico.org.uk.
47. Protect Scotland App
a. NHS Scotland has launched a free mobile app designed to help with contact
tracing efforts and slow the spread of COVID-19. The app will alert users if they
have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for
b. Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool
complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the
main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
c. Further information on the Protect Scotland app is available at
48. What should someone do if they have coronavirus symptoms?
a. If a person has a continuous cough, high temperature, or loss or change in
taste or smell, they should self-isolate and request a coronavirus test right
away. Further information is available at www.NHSinform.scot/test-andprotect or by calling 0800 028 2816 if they cannot get online.
b. The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect information leaflet provides
information on the Test and Protect service from NHS Scotland9
c. Bowls Scotland has created a flow chart for clubs if someone test positive at
the club: https://www.bowlsscotland.com/media/2269/2020-10-19-positivetest-process.pdf
RETURN TO THE GREEN GUIDANCE SECTION 2: BOWLING
1. Travel guidance outlined by the Scottish Government should always be followed. Further
information on what travel is permitted including information on car sharing is available at
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport.
2. Participants in organised sporting or physical activity should, where possible, avoid any
unnecessary travel out of area and keep journeys within area to an absolute minimum.
3. A travel summary is provided in the accompanying Bowls Scotland Overview Summary
Children & Young People (17 years or under)
4. Participants aged 17 years or under can travel to and from Level 0, 1 and 2 areas to take
part in organised bowling activity, training, and competition.
5. Children and young people may travel into or out of a Level 3 or 4 area for organised
bowling activity if that is where their club or activity usually takes place.
Adults (18 years or over)
6. Players aged 18 years or over can travel to and from Level 0, 1 and 2 area to take part in
organised bowling activity, training, and competition. They should not travel to a Level 3
or 4 area.
7. Adults living in a Level 3 area should only travel locally or to another Level 3 area to take
part in organised bowling activity and training.
8. Adults living in a Level 4 area should only travel locally (within their own local authority
area) to take part in organised bowling activity.
* Any Level 4 activity should follow Scottish Government ‘Stay Local’ guidance.
ON THE GREEN PLAY
9. It is the responsibility of each club to appoint a responsible person/s, referred to as the
COVID Officer, to act as the point of contact on all things related to COVID-19 and have
documented risk assessments in place and appropriate measures to ensure the safety of
players, coaches, and volunteers and where activity is undertaken in line with guidance
for the appropriate protection level. Please also refer to guidance produced by
sportscotland at: Getting Your Facilities Fit for Sport.10
10. Information on bowling activity permitted by protection level and age group is available in
the Bowls Scotland Activity Overview Summary Document.
11. Information outlining bowling activity in Level 4 ‘Stay Local’ is available in Appendix 1.
12. Outlined below is the maximum number of people permitted (inclusive of
players/coaches/officials and other support staff) in a ‘Bowling Bubble’ for bowling activity.
• Level 0: Bowling bubble can consist of a maximum of 30 people.
• Level 1 & 2: Bowling bubble can consist of a maximum of 30 people.
• Level 3: Bowling bubble can consist of a maximum of 30 people.
• Level 4: Bowling bubble can consist of a maximum of 15 people.
13. The above bowling bubble numbers are subject to further confirmation from the Scottish
Government for Level 0,1 and 2. Further information will be provided once available.
14. Clubs with multiple greens can have an additional bowling bubble as per numbers above
for Levels 0-2. In such cases clubs should undertake a comprehensive risk assessment
to ensure that these bubbles do not mix at any time including before, during or after the
15. Players can only be part of one bowling bubble per day.
16. Clubs should note that the situation around COVID-19 is fluid and activities may need to
be cancelled at short notice should there be a change in local or national restrictions. In
such circumstance’s plans should be in place to notify participants of event cancellation
to ensure they do not attend the venue.
17. Clubs must risk assess each individual competition to determine whether they can host an
internal/open/friendly competition in line with bowling activity guidance, physical distancing,
and good hygiene.
18. The appointed COVID Officer should ensure that all appropriate measures have been
taken to allow the competition to take place.
19. Clubs must maintain a register/booking system for everyone attending the club to comply
with Test and Protect.
20. All rinks can be used if they fall in line with the bowling bubble guidance.
21. Players, coaches, officials can only be part of one bowling bubble per day and there can
be no crossover between bowling bubbles at any level.
22. Players should only travel to/from competition with their own household, and not mix
households i.e., car sharing.
23. Competition organisers may consider where appropriate different formats of competition
or staggered starts to safely allow the competition to take place.
24. No formal presentation ceremonies should take place during or after a sporting activity or
competition as the focus should be on reducing the numbers in attendance at any one time.11
25. Competitions should involve as few participants as possible, for the minimum amount of
time, whilst still allowing the competition to run effectively. Total participant numbers
allowed to take part in competitions is under review by Scottish Government. Further
information will be provided once available.
26. Scottish Government household rules apply to all participants off the green.
27. Competitions may need to be cancelled at short notice should there be a change in local
or national restrictions. In such circumstance’s plans should be in place to notify
participants of event cancellation and to ensure they do not attend the venue.
28. All open competitions must have a Tournament License approved prior to the competition
taking place. To complete a Tournament License Application, please visit:
Junior Open Competition Guidance
29. While children and young people 17 and under are exempt from household and physical
distancing rules during sporting activity, competition organisers should still seek to reduce
risk by minimising the numbers of children taking part in competition where possible.
30. Bowling clubs can allow access for people to watch bowling ONLY if:
a. Physical distancing can be maintained for example:
b. There is no more than two people to a bench
c. Benches must be at least two meters apart
d. Benches are cleaned after every use
31. Spectators MUST adhere to all other guidance set out by Bowls Scotland and the club.
32. Spectators under the age of 16 should always be accompanied by a parent/carer.
33. Clubs should organise a system for spectating to comply with Test and Protect.
34. Coaching sessions can take place ONLY if the club has a trained COVID Officer in place,
responsible for the following:
a. Planning and preparing coaching sessions to ensure compliance of Scottish
Government and Bowls Scotland Guidance.
b. Carry out risk assessments in partnership with the coach/coaches.
c. Arranging for coaching equipment to be available prior to the coaching session
(with support from the coach/coaches).
d. Working with the coach/coaches to ensure participants adhere to player guidance
both on and off the green.
e. Ensuring an accurate register of attendance is taken
35. All coaches must be PVG checked to deliver coaching sessions.
36. A bowling bubble in Levels 0-3 can consist of a maximum of 30 people including players, 12
coaches, officials, and other support staff at any one time. At Level 4 this is a maximum
of 15 people.
37. Coaches can deliver to multiple bowling bubbles per day but must be included in the
overall number within each bubble.
38. Coach to Player ratio of 1:8 should be always adhered to.
39. Coaches must maintain physical distancing (2m). However, where close contact with a
player is required, then face coverings should be worn by both player and coach.
40. Coaches to ensure players maintain good hygiene before, during and after the coaching
41. Coaches and players to ensure any equipment is cleaned/wiped down before and after
42. Players to use separate mats and jacks, however if this is not possible, nominate a player
on each rink who is responsible for all contact with the mats and jack during the coaching
43. Players should avoid sharing equipment wherever possible e.g., Bowls, measures, cloths
44. Under 17s are not required to physically distance while participating, however prior to and
directly after bowling activity, physical distancing should be adhered to.
45. Coaches working with children should familiarise themselves with the additional
considerations developed by Children 1st: Child Wellbeing and Protection
46. Coaching sessions should ensure they adhere to local tiered restriction levels.
47. Further support and resources are available here: https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid19/getting-coaches-ready-for-sport/
48. Guidance for Players & Parents/Carers:
a. Parents/carers should be encouraged to spectate during sessions and must
maintain physical distancing. This applies before, during and after the session.
b. Parents/Carers who are accompanying their children must abide by Scottish
Government physical distancing, good hygiene, and household guidance.
c. Parents/Carers to talk to their child about returning to coaching sessions to help
them understand the measures that have been taken to keep them safe.
d. Parents/Carers to remind their child it is important they focus on having fun and
being back on the green with their friends.
e. Parents/Carers to encourage their child to wash their hands thoroughly before and
after coaching sessions.
f. Parents/Carers to ensure their child brings their own water bottle and does not
share with anyone else.
g. Parents/Carers to be available to support their child if this is required during a
h. Immediately after the coaching session, parents/carers, and children to leave as
promptly as possible and not congregate, while following physical distancing
i. It is the parents/carers responsibility to ensure both parent and child adhere to
club rules as well as Scottish Government guidance on physical distancing, 13
household rules and good hygiene.
INDOOR CLUB HOUSE ACTIVITIES
49. Bowling clubs may want to offer club house activities. Clubs should refer to the Bowls
Scotland Activity Overview Summary Document for more information.
50. Bowling clubs should refer to the Bowls Scotland Carpet Bowls and Short Mat
Recommendations for Play
51. For Bingo, please note that face covering must always be worn, except when eating or