How do Leaders manage COVID-19 related matters for overnight activities?

The risk of exposure is higher when people share tents or indoor overnight accommodation, as well as when they come together to eat and participate in activities.  Leaders need to consider certain aspects to facilitate a safe environment.  For peak awards, see also the separate Q&A.

Leaders should apply the following points as they relate to their planned event – tent-camping or indoor accommodation at Scouts or other public properties.


  • All Scouting activities must be conducted under the requirements of the current public health orders in place at the time
  • Public health orders can change rapidly so leaders should monitor media reports, the NSW Health website and Scouts NSW information in the lead up to the event. Be willing to cancel or modify your activity if needed.

Entry and Exit to the Site

  • See the information provided in a separate Q&A regarding transport.
  • Consider staggered arrival and/or departure times for you group to avoid crowding.
  • If present, avoid using shared pens to sign in.
  • Cashless payments only.
  • If an evacuation is necessary during your stay, try to maintain physical distancing at the assembly point.

Activities at Camps

  • No singing around the campfire for the time being – this is an effective way to spread COVID-19!
  • No physical contact including handshaking and hugging. This includes youth.
  • Try to limit the sharing of equipment. Where equipment is shared, consider how the group will maintain hygiene. Refer to the separate Q&A about region activities.
  • Ensure hand sanitiser is available, even outdoors.
  • Avoid situations where people are required to stand near people who are seated.
  • Consult with the site manager or local emergency services or council to determine if there are any travel restrictions to remote or vulnerable communities in the area that you will need to avoid.

Accommodation (indoors)

  • Posters will inform guests of the maximum number of people allowed in each room and guests are expected to manage 1.5m physical distancing during their stay.
  • Only one guest per double bunk is recommended including youth.
  • Guests should keep to their assigned bed each night of their stay.
  • Your campsite or Activity Centre coordinator will confirm whether hand-sanitiser and cleaning products are supplied. If in doubt, guests should take your own.
  • In general, guests are responsible for cleaning frequently touched surfaces during their stay.
  • If your group is responsible for cleaning the amenities, refer to the information about cleaning provided separately.
  • Stagger your dining times if necessary to reduce group numbers, implement practical physical distancing and cleaning between dining sessions.

Accommodation (in tents)

  • Single person tents are preferred.
  • For larger tents, apply the 1 person per 4sqm rule (except for people from the same household).
  • If your group utilises more tents than usual, evaluate and manage the logistics associated with this e.g. how the tents will be supplied and transported.
  • If there are more tents than usual, manage hazards associated with the potential for tents to ‘sprawl’ out where they normally would not be e.g. close to roadways, creeks etc.

Food Preparation (apply the following points as relevant to your site and situation)

  • Ideally, a person with a Food Handling Certificate will be present.
  • Ideally, attendees will bring, prepare and clean up after their own food.  However where this is not practical, it is essential to make changes to the way that food is served.
  • Select low(er) risk menu options (i.e. those requiring less direct food handling/contact)
  • No self-service buffet style food, no communal dishes or condiments.
  • Implement distancing and hygiene measures including hand sanitiser, gloves and facemasks for kitchen volunteers and consider the use of protective physical barriers/shields. Take care that any modifications you make (such as installing barriers or placing a ‘spacer’ table between diners and volunteers) do not create new hazards eg fire or trip hazards.
  • When offering buffet style, do not allow your diners to handle serving utensils. Use dedicated people to be ‘servers’. Servers should not swap serving utensils – one server, one utensil.
  • When diners bring their own plate to the buffet, volunteers servers should not handle the diners’ plates.
  • Do not allow self-service from the large drinks containers or jugs. Instead, use a dedicated server for the drinks container or jugs. Servers must be careful not to allow the lip of the cups and glasses to make contact with the tap or jug.
  • Prohibit the use of shared drink/water bottles
  • Implement queuing requirements to maintain physical distancing.
  • Implement practical physical distancing and cleaning between dining sessions.
  • Prohibit the use of shared drink/water bottles
  • If water fountains are being be used, ensure users are aware of appropriate usage protocols.
  • Table setting should try to observe 1.5 m physical distancing
  • Diners to keep seated as much as possible – discourage people standing around talking to diners who are seated.

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