Official advice to cancel all large gatherings of people has come into force in Scotland.
As part of the coronavirus response, events involving more than 500 people should not go ahead from Monday.
Official guidance has been published for organisers, sports governing bodies, supporters and clubs.
The government does not have the power to cancel events, but has called on organisers “to act responsibly”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the action last week to protect the resilience of public services – especially emergency services and the NHS.
She said that gatherings of 500 people or more should not take place in Scotland until the impact of Covid-19 had lessened substantially.
The Scottish government cannot directly shut events down, but is encouraging and advising organisers to support the efforts of emergency services and the wider public sector to prepare for increased numbers of cases.
Coronavirus in Scotland
Latest figures showed a total of 153 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Scotland, and one fatality.
Ms Sturgeon said: “At a time when there is severe pressure on our fantastic emergency and public services as a result of the virus, it is only right that we seek to remove unnecessary burdens on frontline workers.
“By advising organisers not to hold large gatherings of 500 people or more in Scotland we are enabling services to prioritise their resources to where they are needed most.
“This is just one of the ways that life will change in the coming weeks and months and while this will cause some disruption it will help us all to prepare for the virus and to protect ourselves and each other in the long run.”
Large gathering ban – what the government says
- Mass events should not take place from Monday 16 March 2020
- The definition of a mass event is any event expected to involve more than 500 attendees
- The advice applies to all sectors including sporting events, cultural events, and religious gatherings
- Sports may also wish to consider the viability of holding grassroots and club activity, in light of increased spread of the virus
- Sports should consider cancelling sessions specifically aimed at older adults given the increased risk posed to those individuals
- Further measures may be taken as the situation develops
She added: “As the amount of work required to fight Covid-19 increases over the next few days and weeks it is vital that people continue to follow the health advice such as handwashing and staying at home if you have any mild symptoms.”
The guidance for large gatherings, published on the Scottish government’s website, is expected to remain in place indefinitely.
On Friday the Scottish Professional Football League and Scottish Football Association announced all games have been suspended “until further notice”, along with all non-league and grassroots football.
Current advice is for schools, colleges and universities to remain open.
Dunblane High School and Murroes Primary School in Angus are among a number of schools that will stay closed on Monday morning because individuals have tested positive for Covid-19.
Lanark Grammar in South Lanarkshire, which closed on Friday after a coronavirus case, will re-open following deep cleaning over the weekend.
Many Scottish universities have already announced a suspension of face-to-face teaching and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has cancelled performances until further notice.