Scouting Activities

This page provides useful information and guidance for Group Leaders, Section Leaders, Rover Units and planners of Scouting events.

On this page:

Keeping up to date with NSW Public Health Orders
QR Codes
Community Sporting Activities - Indoor and Outdoor
Scout Hall Activities
Day Activities
Overnight Activities
Peak Awards
Region Activity Teams
Scouting Events
Activities at Commercial Premises
Gang Show


Keeping up to date with NSW Public Health Orders

Currently, the Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains and Northern Beaches), Central Coast and Wollongong have tighter restrictions than the rest of the state.

As of Friday 26 February, some rules have eased but the Greater Sydney area (including the Blue Mountains and Northern Beaches), Central Coast and Wollongong still have some tighter maximum numbers than the rest of the state. Restrictions may change without notice depending on case locations so check the NSW Health website.

  • Square metre rule- Generally speaking for any indoor or outdoor Scouting activity it is maximum one person per 2 sqm.
  • Physical distancing– adults are to maintain a 1.5 m distance from other people (except in case of emergency).  Whenever a 1.5 m distance is not possible, a mask is recommended.  Youth should also maintain a 1.5 m distance.
  • In the Scout Hall – Maximum 50 (including leaders) OR 1 person per 2 sqm whichever is less.
  • Sleeping accommodation – Maximum 1 person per 2sqm AND must be spaced at least 1.5m apart.  This 1.5m distance applies horizontally and vertically so for bunk-style accommodation, only one person can be assigned to each double bunk (exception is made for persons from the same household).
  • Outdoor gatherings in public places – Limited to 50 people. In Regional and rural areas it is 100.
  • Community Sports - If you have more than 100 people you must have a COVID-19 Safety plan for the event. See the Community Sports Section below for guidance on what Scouting activities would be considered community sport
  • Outdoor performances and rehearsals (Gang Shows) – You may have up to 500 people but only outdoors. You must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for Gang Show and use a QR code to record attendance.  See rules about signing below. Indoors, the maximum numbers are capped as per Scout Hall restrictions. Please work in smaller sub-teams whenever possible to reduce the risk of spread. There is no cap on performers singing outdoors however singers must not face one another, and must maintain a minimum distance of 1.5m apart, and 5m from their audience. Wear a mask whenever physical distancing is not possible.
  • Singing Indoors - No more than 30 performers may sing indoors. There is no cap on performers singing outdoors – see section above.
  • QR codes– required for every Scout Hall, Scoutcamp and Activity Centre.  See the QR Codes Section below for further details.

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QR Codes

Activities at indoor recreation facilities including Scouts properties must use electronic check-in methods such as a QR code to record attendance by members, parents, hall-hirers, guests, tradespeople etc. The free NSW Government QR code is strongly encouraged because it enables direct retrieval of information by health authorities. A QR code is required for each Scouts property.

The following information relates to Scout Halls however information specific to QR codes for Scout Camps and Activity Centres is available on the Scouts Properties page.

If relevant, the Group leader (or their delegate) should liaise with the Hall Hire Coordinator because most likely hall hirers will be using the code when on the Scouts site. Information for Hall Hire Coordinators about QR codes for hall hirers is available on the Scouts Properties Page.

Obtaining the free NSW Government QR Code - The Group Leader, or other site manager, is responsible for obtaining the QR code. To obtain the QR code, you need to register as COVID safe with the NSW Government. You will not need to upload your COVID-19 Safety Plan however you will need to confirm that there is a plan, and promise to keep a copy of the plan on site. Your plan was probably submitted and approved a while ago via the Scouts on-line system. Your plan may have been prepared and approved under slightly different rules however your plan allows for changes in requirements and therefore remains relevant. A copy of the plan was emailed as a PDF to the group leader (or their delegate) who originally submitted the plan (from sender called “Scouts NSW”).  If you cannot find your COVID-19 Safety plan, contact your region office to request a copy. Alternatively, if you know the person who approved your plan in the Scouts on-line system, they also can provide you with a PDF copy. When registering as COVID safe for a QR code, you will not be required to upload your COVID-19 Safety Plan but you must have one and keep it on-site.

The QR code is in addition to your normal weekly attendance records

To assist in your registration on the NSW Health website:

  • Business Name - Enter something that members will recognise e.g. "Scouts NSW - Tinytown Scout Hall"
  • Industry or Business - For Scout Halls, select "Community Centre and Halls". For Scout Camps and Activity Centres, select "Hotels and Accommodation" (if indoor accommodation is offered) or "Caravan and Camping" (if indoor accommodation is not offered)
  • ABN- 42 460 434 054

Once you have registered successfully, display images of the QR code at the site in multiple locations to avoid queuing.

You must also offer an alternative means of registering for people who do not use a smart phone. There are various ways you can do this including:

  • Place QR codes in spread-out positions outside to allow parents of younger children to sign their child in. As per your plan, discourage parents mingling at the gate or entering the hall.  Do not require parents to enter the hall merely to sign-in as this introduces an unnecessary risk of exposure.
  • Have the leader keep an attendance record (as they usually do anyway). If you are contacted by a representative of NSW Health requesting these attendance lists, you must provide the list in an electronic format to them promptly, e.g. within four hours (i.e. names and phone numbers typed into a spreadsheet).
  • Have a Leader or Adult Helper sign in multiple children as their ‘dependents’ using the QR code. Even though these youth are not their dependents this is an acceptable way to register them for the purposes of COVID-19 tracing.  Any adult doing this must be a member of Scouting (i.e. with a current WWCC).
  • Keeping an old fashioned sign in book is also an option however you need to consider the risk of spread and avoid the same pen being shared and / or provide hand sanitiser.

Do Hall Hirers have to sign in using the QR Code? - Yes, all Hall Hirers as well as members, parents, guests, tradespeople etc. must sign in when they enter indoor recreation facilities including Scouts properties.

How do youth and other people without smart phones sign in? - The Group Leader or other site manager is responsible for offering alternative means of registering for people who do not use a smart phone:

  • Parents of younger children can sign their child in
  • Leaders can keep an attendance record
  • Leaders or Adult Helpers can sign in youth members as their 'dependents' using the QR code
  • They can sign in using an old fashioned sign in book

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Community Sporting Activities (Indoors or Outdoors)

Please monitor and apply the current orders and recommendations from NSW Health for your location. In Scouting, the following activities are seen as community sporting activities:

  • archery
  • bush walking, hiking
  • boating (includes canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rafting, sailboarding)
  • challenge rope (includes crate stack, high ropes, low ropes, rope bridges NB temporary Flying Fox currently prohibited)
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • orienteering
  • rock (includes natural and artificial: abseil, bouldering, canyoning, caving, climbing)
  • scavenger hunt
  • swimming

Take note that if your community sporting activity is part of an overnight stay, the overnight component is NOT classified as community sporting so lower participant numbers apply whilst camping, eating etc.

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Scout Hall Activities

Apply the NSW public health orders such as physical distancing and maximum group numbers, in addition to the following Scouts NSW guidelines:

Inside the Scout Hall – Leaders can run activities inside Scout Halls, Rover Dens and Training Rooms in line with the approved COVID Safety Plan for the Scout Hall. Group Leaders (or their delegate) are responsible for submitting this plan on behalf of the Scout Group, in consultation with the Section Leaders. For guidance on how to prepare the plan and for a link to the on-line form, visit the COVID-19 Safety Plans page.

In the yard of the Scout Hall – If there is an approved COVID-19 Safety Plan for the Scout Hall, activities can also be run in the yard, under the equivalent COVID-19 conditions of the plan.   If there is no approved COVID-19 Safety Plan for the Scout Hall, leaders should complete a once-off Self-Assessment Checklist for Formations Returning to Outdoor Activities. The self-assessment is not subject to approval however it provides information to enable the leader to safely hold outdoor activities.

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Day Activities

Apply the NSW public health orders such as physical distancing and maximum group numbers, in addition to the following Scouts NSW guidelines:

Before resuming any outdoors activities, Leaders should complete a once-off Self-Assessment Checklist for Formations Returning to Outdoor Activities, which provides general information about running activities during the pandemic. In general, day activities should be Section, Group or Unit based where possible.  Leaders need to monitor NSW Health COVID-19 case locations and other announcements in the lead up to the day and be ready to reverse or amend plans if needed. Whilst it is permissible to travel to, though, or from, these locations (unless subject to ‘lock down’ under public health orders), additional vigilance is recommended.

From Monday 7 December, groups will no longer be required to submit a form to seek approval for their activities however groups are required to follow all the appropriate rules and guidelines provides on this website as well as listening for any further updates.

Health and Safety Risk assessments should be developed for day activities as usual, however, remember to include all COVID-19 related risks in your risk assessment. Ensure you have a copy of the risk assessment with you on the day in case a government official asks to see it.

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Overnight Activities

Scout NSW Guidance for Overnight Activities during COVID-19 has been prepared to assist you, including tent camping, indoors accommodation and the preparation of food.

A list of the COVID-19 Safety approved Scout Camps and Activity Centres is provided on the Scouts Properties page.

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Peak Awards

Overnight activities associated with Peak Awards can resume within the guidelines for overnight activities as shown above.  Please remember: The situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and can change quickly. Refer to the information provided under the Overnight Activities section. You must be ready to alter or cancel your plans should there be a recommended change.

For those Youth Members currently undertaking their final steps towards achieving their Peak Award, COVID-19 poses some significant challenges. We know how much time, energy and dedication our youth members have committed to the completion of their Peak Awards.

Below are outlines of the modifications to be made to ensure no Youth Member is disadvantaged in completing their Peak Award, whilst we adhere to Federal, State or Territory Government social distancing policies.

Overnight hikes

  • Apply the physical distancing rules of tent camping shown under the Overnight Activities section.
  • No sharing of food.
  • Adequate washing and sanitisation items carried and replenished each night.
  • Physical distancing to occur where safe during the journey.

When youth members are sick, or have been unwell in the past 14 days, they should not participate in the journey. 

  • No youth should be disadvantaged because of this and common sense approaches in-light of COVID Modifications should take place.

Modifications to the Peak Award Requirements for each Section: 

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Region Activity Teams

Region Activity Teams may hold day activities after considering the COVID-19 related risks and including them into the risk assessment for the specific activity. With reference to material published by the Outdoor Council of Australia and The Australian Institute of Sport, the Region Activity Team have prepared Guidance for Planning Outdoor Adventurous Activities during COVID-19 for this purpose.


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Scouting Events

Major events must be managed on a one-by-one basis. If you require assistance in this area, please submit an enquiry here.

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The principle is to restrict activities to local ones to avoid inter-mingling and potential community transmission. Monitor the COVID-19 case locations in NSW; Whilst it is permissible to travel to, though, or from, these locations (unless subject to ‘lockdown’ under public health orders), additional vigilance is recommended.

Travelling in vehicles: Leaders, Rovers and other adults should travel in their own vehicles in preference to sharing.  Ideally, youth members should be driven by their parents to and from all activities unless there is no other reasonable option.

Where sharing transportation with people from different households is unavoidable, only proceed with willing and healthy people who are not in a vulnerable category. Have as few people in the vehicle as possible, whilst still implementing Two Deep Leadership and other aspects of the Youth Protection Procedure. Limit the number stops you make along the way, be vigilant with hand-hygiene and physical distancing during the journey. Mask-wearing is recommended, and use the car’s air-conditioning.

Public Transport: The use of public transport by Scouting groups especially in peak periods is discouraged due to the risk of exposure for Members and the general public. When using public transport you must follow Public Health Orders and other instructions provided by the operator.

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Firstly consider if a virtual training session can be run in preference to face to face to avoid exposure. When face to face training is necessary, follow the steps provided by the site’s COVID-Safety Plan. Notably:

  • Abide by the room’s capacity based on the current "square metre rule" capacity and any other maximum capacity (whichever is lower) under the Public Health Orders.
  • When holding training in a community hall such as a Scout Hall, also apply the current public health order
  • Provide hand sanitiser.
  • Hold (part of) the meeting outside in preference to inside if appropriate
  • You must also comply with the relevant current public health orders.
  • Set-out the furniture to accommodate 1.5 m physical distancing.
  • To reduce the risk of exposure for participants sitting in the front row, consider arranging the furniture in a way which prevents the presenter inadvertently ‘standing over’ seated participants while they are talking/projecting their voice.
  • Food is provided, it must NOT be a self-serve buffet
  • No singing or shaking hands

Arrange the program to avoid the need for participants to touch shared surfaces, e.g. no ‘communal’ pens or other equipment.

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Activities at Commercial Premises

When undertaking an activity at a Commercial premises, as usual, check with them first to make sure they appear to have an acceptable approach to health and safety.  Follow their guidance and rules whilst at the premises, including their check-in procedure (e.g. QR code).

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Gang Show

Gang Show rehearsals and performances present a risk of spread due the proximity when dancing or doing skits, singing, shouting and playing certain musical instruments.  There are a lot of adults and youth involved and they all will spend a fair amount of time together.

Gang Shows are required to have a written COVID-19 safety plan.  Download the Guidance for Gang Shows during COVID to help you get acquainted with the content before you submit the on-line form.

Submit your Gang Show Rehearsals and Performances COVID-19 Safety Plan for review and approval by your Region here.

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