Managing Scotland’s parks and greenspaces during Covid-19

Staying active and connecting with greenspace and nature on a regular basis is important for everyone’s health and wellbeing. UK and Scottish Governments requested that parks and greenspaces remained open for public access as part of the strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Our parks and greenspaces have been a lifeline for many during lockdown, particularly for people who don’t have access to a garden. Greenspaces have given us vital space for play and exercise; they’ve been our breathing spaces and kept us in touch with neighbours and friends, albeit at a distance.
Whilst most of Scotland’s parks remained open, facilities within them were closed such as children’s play areas, multi-use games areas, tennis courts, bowling greens, public toilets, cafes, etc. Many car parks were closed to limit use to people within the local area and manage visitor numbers.
This document brings together guidance and advice from a range of sources. It is intended to help managers of parks and greenspaces to plan for and manage the temporary adaptations and interventions that are needed as the restrictions on leaving the home are gradually reduced and we move through the phases set out in Scotland’s route map. It is not official guidance and should always be used alongside Scottish Government guidance and regulations in force at the time.
It provides a framework for identifying the issues associated with the use of public parks and greenspaces in light of the need for physical distancing and changes in use patterns and behaviours. It includes practical interventions, which are temporary, for adapting and managing greenspaces. Links to relevant guidance and advice are included, together with practical examples. The rights and responsibilities set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code still apply. A statement by Scottish Ministers sets out what exercising rights of access responsibly means during the covid-19 emergency and this remains essential during the phased exit from lockdown.
As we continue to need to use physical distancing, parks and greenspaces could become our safe open-air spaces where we can meet friends and family. At greenspace scotland, we’ve always talked about parks and greenspaces as our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms, our community and leisure centres without a roof. Now, more than ever, we all need easy access to good quality local greenspaces.
With coronavirus still in circulation and research indicating that we are safer outside, section 8 also considers wider uses of parks and greenspaces to support education, healthcare and community activity.



Geographic Coverage



Greeenspace Scotland: 2020