Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Performing arts

Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants.

Applies to: England (see guidance for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)

COVID-19 roadmap

The government has published the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This explains how restrictions will be eased over time.

This guidance includes changes to restrictions that come into force on 29 March. It will be updated ahead of further steps, which are set out in the roadmap.

What’s changed

This guidance was updated on 26 March to include information on reasonable adjustments, changes to NHS Test and Trace regulations and changes to national restrictions from 29 March.

Introduction

In this section:

What this guidance covers

This guidance will help those in the performing arts sector understand how to make their workplaces COVID-secure. It covers practical steps that employers, employees and volunteers need to take to work safely.

This includes guidance on how to operate safely within the current restrictions, for those venues which are permitted to operate. It also includes guidance for closed venues, which will help you to prepare for reopening when it is safe to do so.

Who this guidance is for

This guidance covers both professional and non-professional performing arts activity. The section on non-professional performing arts contains key measures for non-professional activity (when it is permitted), but the broader principles in this guidance will be relevant for both professional and non-professional performing arts.

This guidance applies to:

  • owners, operators and users or hirers of performing arts venues, such as theatres, concert halls, and dedicated grassroots music venues which host music and other programming artists that perform in front of audiences
  • owners, operators and users or hirers of other types of premises or venue, when they are used for performing arts
  • those working in the performing arts, including performers (actors, singers, dancers, musicians and other performers), coaches, support workers, choreographers, costume designers, set builders, accompanists, directors, stage managers and other creative, technical and operational production team members
  • those who participate in the performing arts on a non-professional basis, such as amateur choirs and music groups

If your performing arts venue includes a dance studio, you should follow any relevant measures in the sport facilities guidance in managing the studio. However, the principles and measures on performing arts activity in this guidance may still be relevant to dance studios, particularly for some activities such as rehearsal or performance.

How to use this guidance

  1. You need to do a COVID-19 risk assessment to identify and manage any potential risks. This includes the risks and actions in this document, as well as any you identify that are specific to your business or site. You can find more information about COVID-19 risk assessments in the section on how to do a COVID-19 risk assessment.

  2. This guidance gives you key principles to follow in relation to risks in the workplace for your sector, and suggests actions you should take to mitigate these risks. You should consider how best to mitigate these risks, and take the actions which are most appropriate for your organisation.

  3. This guidance does not supersede any of your existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities.

  4. This guidance applies to volunteers as well as employed staff.

  5. You should follow the steps set out in this guidance as well as reviewing any relevant guidance produced for your sector. For example, you can find more detailed advice from UK Music (music production), the British Film Commission (films), the BBC (TV production) and the Events Industry Forum (outdoor events and festivals).

  6. You should also check if there is any other relevant guidance for your facility, event or performing art activity, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. For example, dance studios should follow guidance for sport facilities, as they can be used by professional dancers or choreographers even while closed to the public. Learning professionals in the performing arts should look at guidance on education, universities and childcare, and advice for schools and out-of-school settings.

  7. If there are any additional facilities within your premises (for example, cafes and bars, leisure attractions or retail shops) or you are running certain types of events, there may be additional restrictions on those facilities or activities. You should check the guidance for relevant facilities or events (you can find links in the section on where to find more information) and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Performing arts roadmap

This guidance is part of a five-stage roadmap to bringing the performing arts back safely.

  • Stage 1: Rehearsal and training only (no audience).
  • Stage 2: Performances permitted for broadcast and recording purposes (no audience).
  • Stage 3: Performances permitted outdoors with an audience, pilots for indoor performances with a limited audience. Outdoor performances preferable, where possible.
  • Stage 4: Performances permitted indoors and outdoors, with limits on audience numbers indoors. Outdoor performances preferable, where possible.
  • Stage 5: Performances permitted indoors and outdoors, with larger indoor audiences. Outdoor performances preferable, where possible.

During the current national restrictions, performing arts venues can only continue to operate under stages 1 and 2 of the performing arts roadmap.

Priority actions to take

When it is possible for your venue to open, you should follow all the steps set out in this document in order for your workplace to be COVID-secure. The following key steps are a summary of the priority actions you should take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. You can find more information in the section on how to do a COVID-19 risk assessment.

  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently. You can find more information in the section on keeping the site clean.

  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law, and in any indoor space. This is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. You can find more information on face covering requirements in the section on face coverings and PPE. You can find more detail on face coverings and exemptions in the government guidance on face coverings.

  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow. You can find more information in the section on working with the public.

  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running fresh air ventilation systems at all times. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

  6. Support NHS Test and Trace by displaying an official NHS QR code poster, and keeping records of staff and visitors for 21 days. You can find more information on the requirements for visitor economy settings in the section on NHS Test and Trace, and more detail on how to keep records in the NHS Test and Trace guidance.

  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate and get a test. You can find more information in the section on people who need to self-isolate.

  8. Design your production processes to minimise risk. Reduce the number of people involved in processes like auditions. Use teams, groups or partnering to reduce the number of people individuals have contact with, particularly where social distancing may be impractical. You can find more information in the section on managing your workforce.

    Although audiences are not currently permitted, the following priority actions will help you plan for the return of audiences in the future:

  9. Take proactive steps to encourage audiences to support the safety of the event. Discourage activities which could increase aerosol transmission (such as shouting, chanting and singing along), clearly communicate that individuals who should be isolating should not attend, and provide information on how the event will run.

  10. Limit audience numbers and manage capacity to allow for social distancing. Limit the number of guests in line with your capacity limit, and further where needed to allow for social distancing. Ensure customers are aware of the legal limits on group sizes. Seat individuals rather than allowing them to stand, and arrange seating in line with social distancing guidance. You can find more information in the section on queuing, capacity and avoiding crowds

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National restrictions

In this section:

National restrictions are currently in place in England. Find out about the restrictions and what you can and cannot do

This page includes guidance on how to operate safely within the current restrictions, for those venues which are permitted to operate. It also includes guidance for closed venues, which will help you to prepare for reopening when it is safe to do so.

This guidance includes changes to restrictions that come into force on 29 March. It will be updated ahead of further steps, which are set out in the roadmap.

Key information for your sector

  • Performing arts professionals can continue to rehearse and train, and perform for broadcast or recording purposes.

  • Theatres, concert halls, grassroots music venues and entertainment venues must remain closed, except where used for one or more of those purposes. Professional dancers may continue to use dance studios.

  • Performances with an audience are not permitted (indoor or outdoor).

  • Non-professional activities (such as amateur choirs and orchestras) are not permitted. indoors. Outdoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activity will be permitted outdoors, within the legal gathering limits. groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households or an exemption applies (for example a support bubble). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.

During this period, performing arts venues can only continue to operate under stages 1 and 2 of the performing arts roadmap:

  • Stage 1: rehearsal and training (no audience).
  • Stage 2: performances for broadcast and recording purposes (no audience).

You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.

Other relevant measures to be aware of

  • Social contact: people can meet outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households (or support/childcare bubbles, where eligible). Social distancing must be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble. Indoors, people are not permitted to meet others they do not live with (or share a bubble with). You can find more information in the national restrictions guidance, and the section on working with the public.

  • Outdoor sport facilities can open to the public. Leisure, recreation and indoor sport facilities must remain closed. This includes indoor sport, leisure facilities, games and recreation facilities. However dance studios can be used by professional dancers or choreographers. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, and the visitor economy, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
  • Events and meeting: permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, they must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You should check the guidance for the visitor economy and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • Hospitality: hospitality facilities attached to your facility, such as restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services, must remain closed, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on changes to facilities and services.
  • Personal care facilities (such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons, spas and massage services) must remain closed. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services. However, there is specific guidance for performing arts professionals who provide close contact services in the section on back of house processes.
  • Non-essential retail areas must remain closed. You should check the guidance for retail shops, stores and branches, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Where a premises or venue delivers a mix of services, only those services that are permitted to be open should be available.

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1. COVID-19 risks

In this section:

1.1 How to do a Covid-19 risk assessment

As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus. This is called a COVID-19 risk assessment and it will help you manage risk and protect people.

Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place sufficient control measures to manage the risk may be considered a breach of health and safety law.

While you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19, you need to think about the risks your staff and others face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to.

How to do a COVID-19 risk assessment:

COVID-19 is a hazard in the workplace and should be managed in the same way as other workplace hazards. This includes completing a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace and identifying control measures to manage that risk. If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to put your risk assessment in writing, but it can be useful to do so.

The Health and Safety Executive has published information on how to do a COVID-19 risk assessment, and you can also find more resources in their general advice on managing risk and risk assessments.

In your risk assessment you should:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

Your COVID-19 risk assessment should include an up-to-date plan for what you will do in the event of an outbreak in your workplace. This includes nominating a member of staff as the single point of contact (SPOC) who will contact local Public Health teams. You can find more information and resources on handling outbreaks in the section on COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in the workplace.

Your risk assessment should also take into account the impact of your policies on groups who have protected characteristics, and to those who are more at risk of being infected with COVID-19 or have a higher risk of serious illness. You can find more information in the section on protecting people at higher risk.

Consulting your workers

Employers have a duty to consult their workers on health and safety matters. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work they do and how you will manage the risks from COVID-19.

You could consult the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

Raising concerns:

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues.

If concerns still cannot be resolved, you or your workers can contact your employee representative, or your trade union if you have one.

You can also contact HSE’s COVID-19 enquiries team:

1.2 Key actions to include

As an employer, you have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. You should make sure your risk assessment includes the following key action areas, as well as any risks and issues specific to your organisation, so that everybody’s health and safety is protected.

Remember that a risk assessment is not a fixed document, and you should update it when risks change or new issues occur. You must also review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working, if there are changes to the law or government guidance which affect your workplace, or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

Key points to consider in your risk assessment:

  1. Ensure that workers, customers and visitors who feel unwell do not come to the workplace. By law, businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home). See the section on who should go to the workplace for more information.

  2. Remind customers, visitors and staff to wear face coverings where they are required (e.g. by putting up signs). It is a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in certain settings such as retail and hospitality venues, unless an exemption applies. In these settings, businesses also have a legal duty to remind people to wear face coverings. See the section on face coverings and PPE for more information.

  3. Increase the frequency of cleaning for higher-risk areas (such as surfaces) and encourage frequent hand washing. See the section on managing your facility for more information.

  4. Make every reasonable effort to ensure your staff can work safely. This includes consideration of reasonable adjustments for employees or customers with disabilities, including hidden disabilities that are not immediately obvious. This also includes following government guidance on whether staff should work from home. For those who can’t work from home, ensuring that COVID-secure guidance is closely followed in the workplace. See the section on who should go to the workplace for more information.

  5. Ensure that people make every reasonable effort to comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable). Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full for a particular activity, consider redesigning the activity or taking further steps (such as using fixed teams or putting up screens) to mitigate risk. See the section on managing your workforce for more information.

  6. Assess the risk levels of relevant activities (and any mitigations you put in place), to determine whether the activities can safely go ahead. If a high-risk activity (such as working face-to-face for a sustained period) cannot be redesigned, consider whether the activity needs to continue for the business to operate and take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risks. Nobody is obliged to work in an unsafe environment, so you should take steps to keep your staff safe and take into account the impact on people with higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. See the section on managing your workforce for more information.

  7. Consider the risks arising from periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy during a period of restrictions, you should take steps to manage any risks that could arise when reopening (for example, by reviewing HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella). See the section on reopening after a period of closure for more information.

1.3 How to share your risk assessment

You should share the results of your risk assessment to show your workers and customers that you have properly assessed the risk levels and taken appropriate mitigating measures.

What you should do:

  • share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce
  • if possible, consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with more than 50 staff to do so)
  • display the COVID-secure notice (below) in your workplace, to show you have followed this guidance

Download the COVID-secure notice for your workplace.

1.4 COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in the workplace

You should ensure you and any relevant staff (such as managers or supervisors) are aware of the steps to take if there is a case or outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you have an up-to-date plan setting out the steps to take if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your workplace or facility. This includes designating a single point of contact (SPOC) who will lead on contacting local Public Health teams.

  2. Contact your local PHE health protection team if you’ve had an outbreak and need further guidance. Find your local PHE health protection team.

  3. If the local PHE health protection team declares an outbreak, you will be asked to record details of symptomatic staff and assist with identifying contacts. You should therefore ensure all employment records are up to date. You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process, which will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff, and reinforce prevention messages.

1.5 NHS Test and Trace

The rules on what you need to do when a group enters your venue have changed.

If this applies to your facility, you must ask every customer or visitor to scan the NHS QR code using their NHS COVID-19 app or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member of the group. This is to ensure everyone receives the necessary public health advice in a timely manner.

Hospitality facilities (including restaurants, cafes or bars within other types of venue) are legally required to refuse entry to those who refuse to check in or provide their contact details.

You can find more information in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

Some performing arts venues are legally required to keep a record of all visitors, customers and staff on the premises, to support NHS Test and Trace. This applies to:

  • theatres
  • concert halls
  • grassroots music venues
  • music recording studios open for public hire or other public use

If this applies to your facility, you need to keep these records for 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials, to help contain clusters or outbreaks. You must also display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details.

This is a legal requirement and failure to comply is punishable by fines. You can find more information in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

What you must do:

  1. Ask every customer or visitor to provide their name and contact details.

  2. Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day, and their contact details.

  3. Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.

  4. Display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option, as an alternative to providing their contact details. However, you must still have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who do not have access to a smartphone.

  5. Ensure you manage this information in line with data protection regulations.

You can find out more about these requirements in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

Venues with assigned seating (when permitted to open to the public):

If your venue has assigned seating, you should also record audience members’ seat numbers, where possible. This will help NHS Test & Trace to contain the spread of the virus.

1.6 Who should go to the workplace

Under the national restrictions, people must not leave or be outside their homes except where necessary for legally permitted reasons. People can leave their homes to go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, only if they cannot reasonably do so from home.

Anyone who can work from home should do so. Those who cannot work from home are permitted to go to their place of work.

You should review your business or facility management plans and consult your employees to determine who needs to come into the workplace, giving extra consideration to those people at higher risk.

What you should do:

  1. Consider the maximum number of people who can be safely accommodated on the site.

  2. Monitor the wellbeing of staff who are working from home and help them to stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.

  3. Keep in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements, including their welfare, physical and mental health and personal security.

  4. Provide equipment to allow staff to work from home safely and effectively, such as remote access to work systems. Consider how best to account for different types of needs, including the needs of people with disabilities.

1.7 Protecting people who are at higher risk

There are some groups who are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. If employees are in these groups, they may be advised to follow additional measures. See guidance on who is at higher risk from coronavirus.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They may be advised to work from home or to follow shielding guidance. You should check the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and ensure you are following the latest advice. This may include altering work arrangements if they are advised not to come into the workplace, and providing additional support. Those living with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves can still attend work if they cannot work from home.

Clinically vulnerable people are at moderate risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They should take additional care to follow the relevant guidance in their area, including any specific measures for clinically vulnerable people. You should consider this in your risk assessment, and look at how best to support staff in these groups.

What you should do:

  1. See current guidance on who is at higher risk from coronavirus, and ensure that you are aware of any specific measures for people who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.

  2. Provide support to staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and consider options for altering work arrangements if they are advised not to come into the workplace.

  3. Provide mental health and wellbeing support for workers. This could include advice or telephone support.

1.8 People who need to self-isolate

All businesses are prohibited from requiring self-isolating workers to come into work.

If you are made aware of a worker needing to self-isolate, you must ensure that they do not come to the workplace. It is against the law for you to knowingly require or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to the workplace. This includes people with a positive test, people who are advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, and people required to self-isolate in relation to travel.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure workers who are required to self-isolate do not come into the workplace.

  2. Enable staff to work from home while self-isolating, if appropriate.

  3. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell) and what they should do if they develop symptoms or are required to isolate.

  4. Review guidance for employers and employees on statutory sick pay due to coronavirus.

You can find more information in the guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection, for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus infection who do not live with the person, and what to do if you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.

1.9 Equality in the workplace

When you are applying this guidance, you should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals. For instance, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in the workplace.

It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, ethnicity, sex or disability.

Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.

What you should do:

  1. Take steps to understand the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics, and take them into account in your working safely policies.

  2. Involve and communicate appropriately with staff whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

    Measures such as social distancing may not be possible or will be more challenging for workers with certain disabilities, such as individuals in wheelchairs or with vision impairments. You should discuss with disabled employees what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely.

  3. Consider whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.

  4. Make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled staff being put at a disadvantage, and assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.

  5. Make sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

1.10 Testing and vaccinations

It’s important that you continue to follow the working safely measures, even if your employees have:

  • received a recent negative test result
  • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 can get a free NHS test.

You can also order rapid lateral flow tests, to test employees with no coronavirus symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should get a free NHS test as soon as possible.

Ordering COVID-19 tests for employees with no coronavirus symptoms

You can register to order tests if:

  • your business is registered in England

  • you employ 10 people or more

  • your employees cannot work from home

Register and order COVID-19 tests for your employees

Free test kits will be available until the end of June. However, your organisation must register interest by 12 April (even if you are currently closed and want to receive them at a later date).

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2. Managing operations

In this section:

2.1 Changes to operations

Measures to control the infection rate may restrict your operations, including whether you can open and how people can use your venue. Enforcement action can be taken against businesses or organisations that do not comply with the law. You can find more information on compliance and enforcement in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

Businesses and venues

During the current national restrictions, theatres, concert halls, grassroots music venues and other entertainment venues must remain closed, except where used by performing arts professionals for rehearsals, training and performances for broadcast or recording. Performances with an audience are not permitted (indoor or outdoor).

Dance studios can be used by professional dancers and choreographers for rehearsals, training and performances for broadcast or recording. Performances with an audience are not permitted (indoor or outdoor).

You can also open your venue if necessary for a limited number of legally permitted reasons:

  • formal education (for example, hiring a space to a school or college)
  • use in government pilots
  • enabling access by the site owners or managers, or staff or people authorised by them (including volunteers) for maintenance where this is reasonably necessary
  • work to ensure readiness to open, such as receiving deliveries of supplies
  • providing essential voluntary or public services (including the provision of food banks or other support to the homeless or vulnerable, hosting blood donation sessions, or support in an emergency)
  • making a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement
  • voting or related activities

You cannot open your venue for other reasons. This includes non-professional activity (such as amateur choirs and music groups).

Performing arts professionals

During the current national restrictions, anyone who can work from home should do so. You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home.

If it is necessary, performing arts venues can be used for rehearsals, training and performances for broadcast or recording. Performances with an audience are not permitted (indoor or outdoor).

Non-professional activities (such as amateur choirs and orchestras) are not permitted indoors. Outdoors, non-professional performing arts activity will be permitted from 29 March, within the legal gathering limits. People can take part in non-professional performing arts activity outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households or an exemption applies (for example a support bubble). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble. You can find more information in the section on non-professional performing arts.

2.2 Changes to facilities and services

Measures to control the infection rate may restrict the facilities or services your venue can provide. If you deliver a mix of services, only those services that are permitted to be open should be available.​ This could mean, for example, that your venue can open (where permitted) but some facilities within it must stay closed.

  • Non-essential retail areas within venues must remain closed. You should check the guidance for retail shops, stores and branches, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Outdoor sport facilities can open to the public. Leisure, recreation and indoor sport facilities must remain closed. This includes indoor sport, leisure facilities, games and recreation facilities. However dance studios can be used by professional dancers or choreographers. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, and the visitor economy, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Events and meetings: permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, they must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You should check the guidance for the visitor economy and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Personal care facilities (such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons, spas and massage services) must remain closed. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services. However, there is specific guidance for performing arts professionals who provide close contact services in the section on back of house processes.

Hospitality facilities (when permitted to reopen):

There are restrictions on hospitality facilities that will apply to any relevant facilities (such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes) within your performing arts venue. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Hospitality facilities attached to your venue, such as restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services, must remain closed, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through.

  • All food and drink (including alcohol) can be provided by delivery.

Additional steps to minimise risk:

  • Consider alternative approaches such as seat-service, or pre-ordering and collecting refreshments at designated points in the venue, to reduce crowding. For example, avoid selling programmes or ice-cream inside or outside the auditoria, or near entrances and doorways where crowds and queues may form and make social distancing difficult.

  • Remove “pick and mix” or self-service food and drink facilities to reduce the risk of transmission.

  • Use screens to create a physical barrier between staff and customers (where possible) at concessions points.

It is a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in some settings like retail, leisure and hospitality venues (unless they have a valid reason not to wear one, such as a medical exemption).

Where this applies, businesses also have a legal duty to remind people to wear face coverings. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE.

2.3 Outdoor events

Where possible, rehearsals, performances and events should be outdoors. Holding events outdoors can lower transmission risk compared to enclosed indoor spaces, however transmission can still occur. It is important that you take steps to mitigate crowding, contact and other risks you identify through your risk assessment.

Outdoor events

Under the national restrictions, outdoor performing arts venues are closed, but can be used by performing arts professionals for rehearsals, training and performances for broadcast or recording. Performances with an audience are not permitted.

Organised outdoor events are not currently permitted under the national restrictions. This includes drive-in performances or cinemas, air shows, agricultural shows, carnivals, funfairs, fetes, steam rallies, community fairs, car boot sales, firework displays, flower shows, gardening events, historical re-enactment events, literature fairs, animal and pet shows.

You can find more information on outdoor events in the guidance for visitor economy settings (including business events, large events, attractions and leisure events) including safety measures to take when reopening is permitted, guidance for event organisers, advice for Local Authorities assessing applications for such events, and the factors that should be considered.

What you should do (when permitted to reopen):

Some sections will be relevant only to larger events, and should be used to inform your planning for when these events are permitted to reopen.

  • Ensure that your activity is permitted. Legal gathering limits may allow more people to gather outdoors than indoors, but you must still ensure that people adhere to the gathering limits and maintain social distancing at all times.

  • Review the site logistics and put in place measures to manage hygiene and crowding. This should include entrances and exits, car parking, public transport hubs, handwashing facilities and areas such as arenas, stages or concessions points where crowding could take place. Remember that the requirements for permanent structures will differ from green field sites.

  • Consider how audience members are likely to behave, and make sure sufficient controls are in place to maintain social distancing, for example providing clear communication, demarcating spaces, using sufficient ushers. Avoid events such as performances or screenings that may encourage audience behaviours that increase transmission risk, for example crowding, clustering or physical contact between household groups or support bubbles.

  • Ensure that shared items are cleaned between use by different users. Where items are offered for customer use, such as a picnic blanket or seating, they should be collected from an appropriate distance and thoroughly cleaned before being offered for re-use. Put in place hygiene measures (such as hand sanitiser stations) to further minimise risk.

  • In the case of drive-in performances, clearly mark parking spaces to ensure that cars park sufficiently far apart to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

You can find more advice in the guidance for visitor economy settings (including business events, large events, attractions and leisure events), and the Events Industry Forum’s guidance on outdoor events.

2.4 Non-professional performing arts

Non-professionals are defined as those participating in the performing arts other than for work purposes, such as in an amateur choir, orchestra or music group.

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and direct contact. Singing, shouting and physical activity increase the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols. If singing does take place, steps should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, including limiting the number of people participating and increasing ventilation. The cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.

DCMS commissioned scientific studies to develop the scientific evidence on singing, wind instruments and performance activities. The resulting SAGE paper can be found here, as well as a recent paper on principles for safer singing published by the PHE-led Singing and Wind Instrument Group here. Organisations should consider its findings and follow the mitigations in this guidance as a result.

How to take part in non-professional performing arts activity

  • From 29 March, non-professional performing arts activity will be permitted outdoors, within the legal gathering limits.

  • People can take part in non-professional performing arts activity outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households or an exemption applies (for example a support bubble). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.

  • Indoor non-professional performing arts activity is not currently permitted. You should not take part in non-professional performing arts activity indoors, unless an exemption exists, such as performances which form part of an act of worship (see guidance on Places of Worship).

  • Before undertaking non-professional performing arts activity, you should consider the case for proceeding (or not) based on any restrictions in your area, the risk involved in the activity and location, and the number and health of participants, particularly if vulnerable individuals are involved.

What you should do (when non-professional activity is permitted):

The list below sets out the key considerations for organisers and performers involved in non-professional performing arts. In addition to these measures, you should also follow the other important steps outlined in this guidance, including preventing unwell people from attending, ensuring a distance of at least 2 metres between any performers, maintaining cleanliness and supporting contact tracing.

  • Ensure that your activity is permitted. You must adhere to the legal gathering limits and any other restrictions, such as venue closures. Audiences are not permitted at this time. At present you should only engage in activity outdoors.

  • Ensure that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (or who has been in contact with others who have symptoms, or who has been told to self-isolate) does not attend events or participate in singing (even if they have no symptoms).

  • Ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times, including on arrival and departure. This may involve redesigning your activity, for example by spacing singers at least 2 metres apart, ensuring that performers are not face-to-face, and having performers or audience members seated rather than standing (where possible). Direction can continue to take place during the activity i.e. between a conductor and a group or reflection between actors and directors, but other physical and social interaction is prohibited.

  • Limit the number of people involved. The cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means that the more people who are involved, the higher the risk of transmission (to each other or an audience). It is therefore advisable to limit the total number of individuals involved in performing arts activity.

  • Limit the duration of activity as far as possible, including considering the need for breaks and intervals.

  • Avoid raised voices and take the following steps to minimise risk:

    Avoid face-to-face singing and ensure that social distancing is maintained by spacing singers at least 2 metres apart in all directions. If you apply additional measures (such as wearing face coverings) this distance can be reduced, but there should always be at least 1m between people who do not live together (except where they are part of the same support bubble).

    Reduce the volume of singing and speaking, and use microphones (if available) rather than breath for amplification.

    – You can find more information in the guidance on safer singing.

  • Wear face coverings where possible. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE and the guidance on safer singing.

  • Ensure that you follow any specific guidance relevant to your activity. For example, the guidance for places of worship where singing is part of an act of worship. Even when in a COVID-secure venue such as a place of worship, individuals must observe guidance on meeting with others safely and the principles set out in the guidance on safer singing.

3. Managing visitors

In this section:

Under the current national restrictions, no audiences are permitted to attend performing arts performances and non-professional activity cannot currently take place.

This guidance covers all stages of the performing arts roadmap, and is included for information only, to help organisers plan activity when it is permitted.

3.1 Working with the public

There is a legal requirement for certain settings to implement COVID-secure guidelines. This includes ensuring customers adhere to social distancing guidance and legal gathering limits. You can find more information on social distancing in the guidance on stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Clear communication to customers, visitors, guests and audiences is important, to ensure that they take all reasonable measures to comply with social distancing and hygiene measures throughout their visit.

You should also take into account the legal gathering limits that apply, as these may affect the types of activity that can take place, and how many people can gather or mix (particularly for indoor activities).

Social contact rules and gathering limits

You should ensure your facility operates in line with the national restrictions and legal gathering limits.

Outdoors

  • People can meet in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households (or support/childcare bubbles, where eligible).
  • Social distancing must be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.
  • People can meet in all outdoor settings, including private gardens and outdoor sport facilities.
  • Different rules apply when participating in organised sport. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations, and grassroots sport guidance for the public and sport providers.

Indoors:

  • People are not permitted to meet others they do not live with (or share a bubble with).

Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. People should minimise travel and avoid making unnecessary journeys (for example, by combining their trips where possible). Overnight stays are not permitted.

You can find more information in the national restrictions guidance.

Businesses should not intentionally facilitate gatherings that breach legal gathering limits, and you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that customers comply with the limits on gatherings.

You should not take bookings for a greater number of people than is permitted, or allow such groups to enter. You should also ensure that customers are aware of the rules on gathering limits and what this means in your facility. You can find more information on enforcement and fines in the relevant coronavirus regulations.

3.2 Minimising transmission through contact

Where permitted to open to the public, you should minimise the risk of transmission for your customers, guests, visitors or audience members, by minimising contact opportunities.

What you should do:

  • Consider whether you need to take additional steps to make sure your event can take place safely. Take steps to mitigate any high-risk activity, for example, if performers are likely to spit, consider additional mitigations such as the use of face coverings or screens. Remove any high-risk activity that cannot be managed safely.
  • If you are a professional performer working with more than one group or organisation consider how you can minimise risk, such as reducing the number of contacts you are exposed to (by reducing the number/size of groups or locations) or using testing as a supplementary measure. You should maintain strict social distancing and hygiene measures with each group, and minimise contact with participants (for example, avoid demonstrating partnering work in dancing).

When permitted to open to the public:

Consider whether your production, event or performance can take place without an audience. Where audiences are permitted, they can attend provided you comply with restrictions on gathering limits and social distancing. However, increasing the number of people involved increases the risk of transmission, so you should consider whether your performance requires an audience or explore alternative approaches such as virtual or live-streamed events.

  • Consider how you can make any box office or customer interaction areas safer, with increased cleaning, keeping the activity time as short as possible and considering the addition of screens between guests and staff.

  • Minimise contacts around transactions, for example by using online booking and pre-payment and encouraging contactless payments wherever possible.
  • Avoid the use of cloakrooms wherever possible, given the difficulty of operating them safely. If cloakrooms are necessary, consider using no-contact procedures where possible, such as lockers. If this is not possible, take steps to minimise risk such as cleaning cloakrooms frequently, and asking audiences to limit the items they bring to your venue.
  • Avoid customers and audiences needing to raise their voices, which increases transmission risk. Where possible, do not play music or broadcasts, or lower the volume so that it does not make normal conversation difficult.
  • Consider providing programmes and other performance materials in digital format.
  • Check whether face coverings are required in your facility or venue, and ensure this is communicated to visitors, customers, staff and audience members. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE.
  • Check whether there are additional rules for specific areas in your facility (such as retail outlets, restaurants and bars) and ensure you follow the appropriate guidance. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

3.3 Providing and explaining relevant guidance

Where permitted to open to the public, you should provide and explain any relevant guidance to make sure people understand how to use your facility safely.

You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that customers comply with the limits on gatherings. You should not take bookings for a greater number of people than is permitted, or allow such groups to enter. You should also ensure that customers are aware of the rules on gathering limits and what this means in your facility.

You also have a legal duty to remind people to wear face coverings, if this is required in your facility. See the section on face coverings and PPE for more information.

What you should do (where permitted to open):

  1. Consider how you can inform visitors of any relevant guidance and changes to processes in advance of their visit, for example on your website, when booking by phone or email, and in your digital marketing.

  2. Ensure that visitors are aware of the rules on gathering limits, and how this affects your facility and the services you offer. For example, ensuring your website informs customers of any group limits before they book, and that they are made aware of any guidance on how to behave when they arrive.

  3. Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to visitors on arrival, for example through signs and visual aids at entrances. Make sure to consider the needs of people with protected characteristics, for example those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.

  4. Consider other ways you can communicate relevant information to visitors throughout their visit, for example spoken communication from a greeter or reception staff, or designating staff as ‘social distancing champions’ to remind customers to follow relevant guidance.

  5. Inform visitors of the rules on face coverings and how this applies to your facility. See the section on face coverings and PPE for more information.

  6. Consider how you can ensure this information is communicated to all of your customers, for example those who do not speak English as a first language, and those with protected characteristics (e.g. people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired).

3.4 Capacity, queuing and avoiding crowds

Where permitted to open to the public, you should carefully manage the number of visitors in your facility, and their movements, to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and avoid crowding.

What you should do (when permitted to open):

  1. Manage the number of visitors to your facility to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. Some businesses and organisations also have specific capacity limits relevant to their sector.

  2. Enforce capacity limits by managing ticket sales and entry, for example, by implementing timed ticketing or asking customers to book ahead where possible. You must take all reasonable steps to adhere to social contact restrictions when taking a booking and managing entry (and advising groups not to break the rules when on the premises) or you will be breaking the law.

  3. If your facility organises events or activities where large numbers of people attend at the same time, put in place measures to ensure that social distancing can be maintained in queues and within the premises.

  4. Consider the cumulative impact of many venues reopening in the local area. You should think about how to collaborate with local authorities, neighbouring businesses, travel operators and Local Transport Authorities to assess this risk and apply any additional mitigations required.

Additional mitigations could include:

  • further lowering capacity (even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue)
  • staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas
  • arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues
  • advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue

Additional considerations for the performing arts:

  • Consider using outdoor venues (where possible) for performances with a live audience in attendance.

  • Manage capacity limits to allow for the specific nature of your activities or events. For indoor events and activities, you should consider additional limits to capacity or allow for more social distancing if the activities are high-risk (for example, activities requiring a range of movement such as dancing). You should include this in your risk register, and take into account the venue’s ventilation and whether it will deliver a safe environment for all those who will need to attend at any time (for example, during a performance this would need to include performers, producers and support teams as well as the audience).

  • For performances or events where there is no ticketing, consider using other communications approaches, coupled with stewarding, to manage the numbers attending. Free, open, unticketed and unfenced performances or events will need to demonstrate a robust approach to control numbers and manage social distancing, as well as fulfilling requirements to support contact tracing in the event of a subsequent case of COVID-19.

  • Ensure that the audience placement allows for social distancing. Social distancing should be maintained at 2m as far as possible, but this can be reduced to a minimum of 1m where 2m is unviable, and where other mitigations are in place (such as increasing ventilation). When the audience is seated in rows, social distancing should always be observed side-to-side, with space left between groups, households or support bubbles. Social distancing should also be applied nose-to-nose i.e. maintaining 1m between seats in front and behind. The rules on face coverings apply to audiences. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE.

  • Manage performance scheduling so that audiences for different performances are not using the site, premises or venue at the same time in a way that compromises adherence to social distancing, and to allow for adequate cleaning.

  • Consider how audience members are likely to behave, and make sure sufficient controls are in place to maintain social distancing, for example providing clear communication, demarcating spaces, and using sufficient ushers. Avoid events such as performances or screenings that may encourage audience behaviours that increase transmission risk, for example crowding, clustering or physical contact between household groups or support bubbles.

  • Consider how to manage crowding before and after performances. Extra stewarding/marshalling may be needed at key pinch-points, such as entrances, exits and toilet facilities, and care should be taken to remove any barriers at exits that might cause crowding.

  • Limit guest contact with performers and support staff, for example, by discouraging autograph signing/photographs with performers and not permitting visitors backstage. Consider using theatre security to keep stage door areas clear before and after a performance to allow performers and other staff to enter and exit safely.

  • Reconfigure entertainment spaces so that audiences are seated rather than standing where possible. For example, repurposing ticketed standing areas as ticketed seating areas. You can find more information in the section on seating arrangements and use of common areas.

  • Ensure any changes to venues or premises take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, such as disabled customers. This may include entrances and exits, queue management and seating arrangements. Ensure any changes or measures are communicated appropriately before any performance as well as when in the venue or premises.

3.5 Managing audiences (seating arrangements, safety and use of common areas)

When considering social distancing in seating and space for those requiring disabled seating or wheelchair space, you must consider your accessibility responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.

What you should do:

  • Take steps to avoid customers and audiences needing to raise their voices. Increased volume can increase transmission risk. Avoid or discourage audiences cheering, chanting and singing along, and prevent close-contact activities such as communal dancing. Where possible, do not play music or broadcasts (for example, during intervals), or lower the volume so that it does not make normal conversation difficult. Consider asking performers to help organise the audience or reinforce safety messages.

  • Provide allocated seating where possible, and manage seating plans through ticketing systems or manually to ensure social distancing is maintained. If unallocated seating is provided, install seat separation or labelling seats which should not be used, or deploying staff to support the audience in adhering to social distanced seating.

  • Put in place measures to ensure seating and social distancing measures are being observed. This may include staff and ushers supervising the audience or doing regular checks, in particular before and at the end of each performance.

  • Encourage audience members not to bring bags and coats into auditoria where possible, to reduce clutter at seats. However, you should also consider the difficulties in operating cloakrooms safely. You can find more information in the section on minimising contact through transmission.

  • Remind guests who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.

  • Have clearly designated positions from which site, premises or venue staff can provide advice or assistance to guests whilst maintaining social distance.

  • Consider the needs of audience members with disabilities. You should ensure that your facility is accessible (in line with your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010) and that seating for people with disabilities and wheelchair users allows for social distancing, and support from carers. You should also consider how seating arrangements work with any other accessibility services you offer, such as access to captioning or audio description services.

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4. Managing your workforce

In this section:

4.1 Social distancing for staff

You should maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. This means ensuring that all staff adhere to social distancing guidance by maintaining 2 metres distance from others (or where 2m is not possible, at least 1m with additional risk mitigations, such as wearing face coverings or opening windows to increase ventilation).

Social distancing applies to all parts of a premises where business is conducted, not just areas open to the public. This includes work areas where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and other settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing, so you should consider the most appropriate measures for your facility.

Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.

Mitigating actions you could take for higher-risk activity:

  • increasing the frequency of cleaning, including disinfecting of heavy footfall and frequent touch points such as surfaces and door handles, with particular attention to shared showers, changing rooms, and toilets/restrooms
  • encouraging staff to wash hands frequently, and providing hand sanitiser in areas with poor access to hand washing
  • keeping activity time as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to create a physical barrier between individuals or workspaces (particularly where an individual is in contact with a high volume of people, such as reception or ticket office staff)
  • avoiding face-to-face working wherever possible, for example by arranging desks/workspaces so that staff are back-to-back or side-to-side
  • reducing the number of people each individual has contact with, for example by using fixed teams or partnering so that each person works with only a few others

Additional considerations for performing arts professionals:

  • Ensure that your risk assessment carefully considers worker safety, especially for those working closely with a large number of members of the public or audience.

  • Consider reducing contact opportunities where social distancing cannot be maintained. Where social distancing may be impractical due to the degree of proximity required (such as dancing, intimate/fighting scenes in theatre, costume fittings, hair and make-up), you should consider reducing the number of people each individual has contact with. You can do this using fixed teams, groups or partnering, so that each person works with only a few others. You can find more information in the section on shift patterns and working groups.

  • If you are a professional performer working with more than one group or organisation (such as a teacher, freelance musician, freelance audio describer or captioner or choreographer), this approach may not be possible. You should consider alternative steps to minimise risk, such as reducing the number of contacts you are exposed to (by reducing the number/size of groups or locations) or using testing as a supplementary measure. You should maintain strict social distancing and hygiene measures with each group, and minimise contact with participants (for example, avoid demonstrating partnering work in dancing).

  • In non-professional environments, you must adhere to legal gathering limits. Fixed teams are unlikely to be appropriate unless all members of the team are part of the same household or support bubble.

4.2 Communications and training

You should ensure that workers are informed of relevant safety measures implemented or updated.

What you should do:

  1. Engage with workers and worker representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.

  2. Ensure staff returning to the workplace are given any relevant training or updated guidance in advance, particularly where it relates to new procedures for arrival at work. Use remote or visual communication to explain changes where possible, to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

  3. Provide clear, consistent and regular communication of any relevant safety measures or changes to policy/procedure. Use simple messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of those for whom English is not their first language.

  4. Ongoing engagement with workers (including through trades unions or employee representation groups) to monitor implementation of changes to working environments, and understand any unforeseen impacts.

  5. Communicate approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, customers or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience.

  6. Increase awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. This may include sharing guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Additional considerations for performing arts professionals:

  • Ensure that your risk assessment carefully considers worker safety, especially for those working closely with a large number of members of the public or audience.

  • Consider reducing contact opportunities where social distancing cannot be maintained. Where social distancing may be impractical due to the degree of proximity required (such as dancing, intimate/fighting scenes in theatre, costume fittings, hair and make-up), you should consider reducing the number of people each individual has contact with. You can do this using fixed teams, groups or partnering, so that each person works with only a few others. You can find more information in the section on shift patterns and working groups.

  • If you are a professional performer working with more than one group or organisation (such as a teacher, freelance musician, freelance audio describer or captioner or choreographer), this approach may not be possible. You should consider alternative steps to minimise risk, such as reducing the number of contacts you are exposed to (by reducing the number/size of groups or locations) or using testing as a supplementary measure. You should maintain strict social distancing and hygiene measures with each group, and minimise contact with participants (for example, avoid demonstrating partnering work in dancing).

  • In non-professional environments, you must adhere to legal gathering limits. Fixed teams are unlikely to be appropriate unless all members of the team are part of the same household or support bubble.

4.3 Workplaces and workstations

Workstations should be assigned to an individual wherever possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest number of people possible and cleaned frequently.

For people who work in one fixed place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible. If it is not possible for workstations to be sufficiently far apart, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

What you should do:

  1. Review layouts to ensure workspaces are spaced to allow for social distancing. If fixed workspaces cannot be moved, consider leaving empty desks or workspaces between individuals.

  2. Avoid face-to-face working wherever possible, for example by arranging desks/workspaces so that staff are back-to-back or side-to-side.

  3. Consider using screens or barriers to create a physical barrier between individuals or workspaces (particularly where an individual is in contact with a high volume of people, such as reception or ticket office staff).

  4. Reduce the number of people each individual has contact with by using fixed teams or a consistent pairing system, particularly if people have to work in close proximity (such as maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned).

  5. Consider using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people socially distance.

  6. Minimise contacts around transactions, for example by using contactless payments wherever possible.

  7. Ensure that demonstrations or other promotional activities are designed to minimise direct contact and to maintain social distancing.

4.4 Shift patterns and working groups

You should review working patterns to minimise risk to staff by reducing the number of contacts each worker has.

What you should do:

  1. Consider ways to minimise staff contacts and exposure, for example through staggered shifts and assigned staff mealtimes. You should take into account the particular circumstances of those with protected characteristics, including disability, maternity and religion, and how they may be impacted by changes to shift patterns.

  2. Consider revising schedules for planned work and essential services to minimise contact with other staff and customers, for example by carrying out services at night or less busy times of the day.

  3. Where workers are split into teams or shift groups, consider fixing these teams or shift groups so that any unavoidable contact is between the same people.

    How to use fixed teams/groups:

    — Group individuals into fixed teams that work together throughout a production or project, or for specific periods, to minimise the risk of transmission beyond these fixed teams.

    — Keep fixed teams in separate areas or scheduling breaks at different times, to minimise risk during breaks or when moving around a venue.

    — Ensure that there is no swapping between designated fixed teams. This is to reduce the risk of whole-team impact in the event of one member of a team contracting COVID-19.

    — Ensure that support workers for disabled workers or performers are included as a member of the fixed team.

  4. Identify areas where people have to directly pass things to each other (such as equipment and supplies) and finding ways to remove direct contact, for example by using drop-off points or transfer zones.

  5. Assist NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of staff shift patterns for 21 days and providing the data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks (see the section on NHS Test and Trace for more information, or read the guidance on NHS Test and Trace).

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Additional considerations for the performing arts:

  • Manage staff using fixed teams to minimise contact. This approach can be adapted for your production or performance needs. For example, this may mean film or other broadcast crews not mixing with performers in the performance area, unless they are part of a fixed group with the performers.

    How to use fixed teams/groups:

    – Group individuals into fixed teams that work together throughout a production or project, or for specific periods, to minimise the risk of transmission beyond these fixed teams.

    – Ensure that social distancing is maintained within groups (where possible) and minimise interaction between groups.

    – Keep fixed teams in separate areas or scheduling breaks at different times, to minimise risk during breaks or when moving around a venue. Minimise the number of locations used for each group to reduce potential contact.

    – Ensure that there is no swapping between designated fixed teams. This is to reduce the risk of whole-team impact in the event of one member of a team contracting COVID-19.

    – Ensure that support workers for disabled workers or performers are included as a member of the fixed team.

  • Reduce the number of people involved where possible, to minimise exposure and ensure that social distancing can be maintained. This could mean limiting the number of supporting crew, or reducing the size of cast where possible (for example, by reducing numbers of non-essential supernumeraries, or players taking dual roles). Use fixed teams, groups and partnering to limit the number of contacts each person has. Reduce cast, orchestra and other performance group sizes and conduct rehearsals and training in smaller fixed teams, wherever possible. You can find more information in the section on shift patterns and working groups.

  • Create front of house and back of house zones with people operating exclusively within each zone, where possible. Identify any roles that typically operate both front of house and back of house, and minimise these where possible.

  • When permitted to open to the public, minimise staff interactions with audience members, for both front of house and back of house staff. Ensure that front of house teams are particularly careful to maintain social distancing when interacting with audience members and others front of house.

  • When non-professional activity is permitted, people in non-professional performing arts environments must adhere to legal gathering limits. Fixed groups are unlikely to be appropriate unless all members of the groups are part of the same household or support bubble.

4.5 Pre-production and rehearsals

You should take steps to minimise risk during training, rehearsals, pre-production and other performance preparations.

Casting and auditions

  • Use self-taping or online auditions wherever possible to reduce unnecessary contact for those auditioning and workers on-site. A live feed may help reduce numbers of a creative team attending casting and auditions.

  • Where casting and auditions must take place in-person, take steps to minimise risk to those taking part. Remove waiting rooms where it is not possible to facilitate social distancing, asking people not to arrive ahead of their allocated time slot, and providing clear instruction not to congregate in other areas if waiting.

  • Consider how to appropriately protect the workers, such as the crew and creative team. This may involve using screens to create a physical barrier (for example, between the casting team or accompanist and candidates), or increasing ventilation through air-conditioning or propping open doors and windows.

  • Consider the needs of workers and participants with disabilities (such as those who have hearing difficulties) when making adjustments to management of casting and auditions.

Rehearsals and pre-production

  • Design your production to minimise contact wherever possible. Avoiding rehearsing and performing face-to-face wherever possible. Manage call schedules so that only those required are on-site, for example, performers attending rehearsals and performances only when required for their part. Consider using remote options where possible, for example using video-conferencing for auditions and readthroughs.

  • Ensure social distancing can be maintained between performers, production team members and other workers, and audience members. Organise and design repertoire, rehearsals, training and performances to avoid situations where performers cannot socially distance, wherever feasible. Reduce as far as possible any time that individuals are not able to maintain social distancing. Use phones and radios to manage on-site logistics where possible.

  • Review rehearsal logistics and take steps to minimise risk. Map out productions in advance of commencing in-person rehearsals, and give performers time to learn lines or parts in advance to minimise the need to carry scripts. Avoid the unnecessary use of shared items such as scripts, for example by displaying scripts onto screens in rehearsal rooms. Minimise the use of shared items such as props in rehearsals or until necessary. Where it is necessary to use shared items, ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned between users. Where possible, avoid raised voices. Consider reducing the volume of speaking and singing during rehearsals and performances, and use microphones (if available) rather than breath for amplification.

  • Maintain social distancing where possible during training. Avoid any unnecessary training exercises that compromise social distancing guidelines (such as close face-to-face contact). Where it is essential for performers in training to breach social distancing, divide classes and training sessions into small groups and ensure they take place for the minimum possible time.

  • Review rehearsal, pre-production, performance and other spaces and take steps to minimise transmission risk. Work outdoors where possible. Where this is not possible, take steps to mitigate risk in all rehearsal, training and performance areas (such as increasing ventilation and using one-way systems and floor markings to ensure social distancing). Remove or block access to non-essential common areas such as waiting rooms. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

  • Consider whether live performing arts can be managed safely, and take steps to mitigate risk. This could include using screens and barriers to separate performers from the audience (particularly if performers are likely to spit) and using large, well-ventilated spaces. Consider the use of technology solutions to reduce interactions and ensure social distancing (for example for castings, rehearsals, training and performance).

  • Design your production to minimise transmission risk, wherever possible. This could mean avoiding high-risk activities, such as singing, or taking steps to mitigate risk. Singing and shouting increase the risk of transmission, so you should only include singing by performers where necessary, and take the following steps to minimise risk:

    Avoid face-to-face singing and ensure that social distancing is maintained by spacing singers at least 2 metres apart in all directions. If you apply additional measures or controls (such as wearing face coverings, increasing ventilation or performing outdoors) this distance can be reduced, but there should always be at least 1m between people who do not live together or share a support bubble).

    Where possible, reduce the volume of singing during rehearsals and performances, and use microphones (if available) rather than breath for amplification. Singing at a high volume can generate 20-30 times more aerosol than quiet speaking or singing.

    – You can find more information in the guidance on safer singing.<br

  • Ensure that your production, event or performance has adequate infection controls. This could include screening workers and performers before entry into venues through symptom questionnaires or COVID-19 testing, where appropriate and available. Where testing is used, this should be supplementary and does not allow you to relax other control measures such as social distancing, hygiene and cleaning requirements.

  • Ensure you have a clear policy in place for managing reported cases, in line with government guidance and NHS test and trace requirements. You can find more information in the section on COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in the workplace.

4.6 Back of house processes (set design, construction, stage management and backstage)

You should take steps to minimise risk for back of house roles and settings.

Set design and construction:

  • Ensure that crew and creative teams can maintain social distancing. Where this is not possible, use fixed teams to minimise contacts and minimise close proximity during setup and transportation.

  • Consider ways to reduce unnecessary contacts. This could involve using additional trucks for transport of equipment and large items, or increasing the use of mechanical handling equipment such as forklifts to reduce the number of people required to lift heavy cases and scenery.

  • Allocate sufficient time and workspace for any off-set prep work to be carried out safely. Ensure that as much work as possible takes place off-site, such as pre-fabricating the set which is then assembled and painted on the site. You can find more information in the guidance for factories, plants and warehouses.

Stage management and backstage:

  • Restricting the number of people permitted backstage and onstage wherever possible. Consider limiting access to essential workers only.

  • Review the performance staging and redesign where needed, to minimise risk. This could mean limiting the staging of the performance to the performance or stage area only. Remove any higher-risk activities such as close contact between performers and the audience, and remove directions for the performers or crew to move amongst the audience.

  • Consider how to manage attendance so that unnecessary contact is limited. For example, not permitting visitors backstage or at the stage door.

  • Reconfigure staging and backstage areas to minimise contacts. For example, introduce one-way systems and implement schedules for green rooms and crew rooms by fixed teams. Consider how wings can be managed to minimise interaction, such as one-way systems, or allocating dedicated wings for stage managers and dressers.

  • Limit prop handling to the minimum possible number of people and introduce enhanced cleaning. Props should be thoroughly cleaned after every performance, particularly if touched by multiple people. Where possible, clean props that are handled by different people between uses. You could also consider limiting handling of key props on set to a dedicated crew member and relevant cast only.

  • Use clear markings to ensure social distancing on and around the stage. Provide markers onstage for musicians and large/static groups so they can maintain social distancing. Mark out a clear route onto the stage for performers, soloists and conductors entering for a performance.

  • Consider how to manage cover responsibilities to minimise contact. For example, an Assistant Stage Manager covering the book to maintain (where possible) a separation between those operating front of house and back of house.

4.7 Performance settings (sounds, lighting, orchestras and bands)

You should take steps to minimise risk during performances.

Sound and lighting:

  • Consider how best to minimise risk to staff in sound and lighting. This could involve creating a screen around sound and lighting desks to create a barrier which aerosols do not pass through between the sound team and audience or other crew.

  • Take particular care where crew are located near audiences. For example, where the sound desk is positioned close to audience seating, consider leaving empty the closest row of seats.

  • Introduce additional cleaning processes for shared workspaces and equipment. Regularly clean sound and lighting desks, as well as equipment such as mics and battery packs.

Orchestra pits and band areas:

  • Review the musician workspace in your risk assessment, and take steps to manage risk if needed. Orchestra pits and band areas are often small and tight spaces where social distancing may be difficult, so you should take additional steps to ensure the musicians can work as safely as possible.

  • If the space is inadequate, consider reducing the number of musicians using the orchestra pit or band area. You could reduce the size of the orchestra or band, or consider other ways to manage the space. For example, you could relocate some or all of the musicians to a different area of the performance space to enable social distancing.

  • Ensure that social distancing can be maintained wherever possible. Mark up the orchestra pit or band area to enable appropriate social distancing, and ensure all musicians have adequate spacing for their needs. Ensure that there is appropriate distance between musicians and other workers or performers (such as those onstage).

  • Avoid face-to-face positioning where possible. Face-to-face positions increase the risk of transmission, so consider positioning musicians side-by-side or back-to-back where feasible, or using screens and barriers to separate them. If using screens or barriers, you must take into account any health and safety issues that they could cause (such as increased noise exposure).

4.8 Close contact services (costumes, concert dress, hair, makeup)

Costumes and concert dress:

  • Staff providing close contact services (such as hair, makeup and costume fittings) must wear a visor and a specific type of mask. This is a legal requirement while providing close contact services. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services.

  • Complete costume fittings during prep or off-site if possible, to avoid people congregating backstage.

  • Review costume fitting procedures to ensure that social distancing guidelines can be followed wherever possible. Where assistance is necessary (for example, during quick changes in the wings), avoid face-to-face positioning if possible.

  • Where social distancing or face-to-face contact is necessary, consider additional measures to minimise risk. This could involve using screened-off cubicles for cast to receive their costume and dress without assistance, and using fixed teams to minimise the number of people the team and performer are exposed to.

  • Review the guidance for close contact services and follow any measures that will help to mitigate risk in close contact settings.

  • Reduce cross-contamination risk as much as possible. This could include sanitising and ventilating changing cubicles between use, separating cast members’ costumes in plastic covers, hanging cast members’ own clothes in plastic covers, laundering costumes between each use and covering individually in plastic covers after cleaning.

  • Avoid sharing equipment where possible, for example maintaining a dedicated sewing machine for one user.

  • Minimise unnecessary costume changes and clothes storage. Consider working with the stage manager and crew to reduce the number of quick changes or increase time between changes. Where appropriate, you could ask musicians and other performers not in full costume to arrive at the venue in the clothes they will wear for the performance.

Hair and makeup:

  • Staff providing close contact services (such as hair, makeup and costume fittings) must wear a visor and a specific type of mask. This is a legal requirement while providing close contact services. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services.

  • Review hair and makeup procedures to allow for additional safety measures. For example, allowing extra time for processes to limit cross-contamination risk, but limiting the amount of time performers spend in a hair and make-up chair whenever possible.

  • Reconfigure hair and makeup spaces to ensure that social distancing guidelines can be followed wherever possible. Position hair and make-up stations to allow appropriate social distancing, and consider using screens between stations. Avoid face-to-face positioning, wherever possible.

  • Where social distancing or face-to-face contact is necessary, consider additional measures to minimise risk. This could involve using fixed teams to minimise the number of people the team and performer are exposed to. You could also consider asking performers to do their own hair and makeup where this is practical, or requesting cast and supporting artists to remove their own makeup.

  • Review the guidance for close contact services and follow any measures that will help to mitigate risk in close contact settings.

  • Increase equipment and surface hygiene. You should sterilise and disinfect equipment and surfaces after each application. Consider using disposable brushes and applicators, and airborne sanitising sprays if appropriate.

  • Avoid sharing equipment where possible, for example by supplying pins, disposable brushes for lips and glues where possible. Use minimal equipment and disposable brushes and applicators if appropriate. Consider allocating equipment (such as makeup kits, brushes and hair products) to one cast member, and ensure it is not used on other cast members to avoid cross-contamination. Both dedicated and shared equipment should be cleaned regularly, and sterilised daily (particularly if touched by multiple members of the hair and makeup team).

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5. Managing your facility

In this section:

5.1 Reopening after a period of closure

If your site or location has been closed or partially operated during a period of restrictions, you should make sure it is clean and safe before you reopen.

What you should do:

  1. Check whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.

    Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings, or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.

  2. Open windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible.

  3. Consider the risks arising from periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy during a period of restrictions, you should review HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella.

5.2 Keeping the site clean

You should ensure that you keep the workplace clean and safe. This includes minimising potential transmission routes by cleaning surfaces and touchpoints, and minimising use of shared objects.

What you should do:

  1. Frequent cleaning of work areas, equipment, bathrooms and other high-traffic areas, using your usual cleaning products.

  2. Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including door handles, lift buttons and handrails, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.

  3. Clear workspaces and remove waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.

  4. If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should follow the measures set out in the guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

  5. Provide extra waste facilities for staff and visitors to dispose of single-use face coverings and PPE. You should refer to the guidance on disposing of personal or business waste during the coronavirus pandemic for more information.

  6. Maintain good ventilation by opening windows and doors, where possible.

  7. Consider wedging doors open to reduce touchpoints where appropriate. This does not apply to fire doors, which should be kept closed.

Additional considerations for performing arts venues and facilities:

  • Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day, with particular regard to any shared facilities such as audition spaces, rehearsal and backstage areas. Ensure that workspaces are cleared of waste and belongings at the end of a class, rehearsal or performance.

  • Introduce additional cleaning processes for shared workspaces and equipment. Regularly clean sound and lighting desks, as well as equipment such as radios, mics and battery packs. Personal items such as instruments should be kept clean by owners and should not be handled by others, where possible.

  • Frequently clean venues during events, typically between each performance. This is particularly important if audiences attend. Pay particular attention to surfaces that are likely to be touched by audience members and staff, such as doors, seat arms and handrails, and high-traffic areas like toilets and foyers.

  • Schedule performances to allow sufficient time for cleaning before the next audience arrives.

  • You should not introduce cleaning measures which involve spraying people with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber) under any circumstances. You can find more information about these types of measures in the HSE guidance on disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems.

5.3 Hygiene: washing hands, sanitation and toilet facilities

You should take steps to ensure that good levels of hygiene are maintained throughout the facility.

What you should do:

  1. Use signs and posters to build awareness of good hand-washing technique, the need to increase hand-washing frequency, and good hygiene practices like avoiding touching your face and coughing or sneezing into your arm. Considering how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.

  2. Frequently clean toilet facilities. Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing can be maintained, including putting up a visible and up-to-date cleaning schedule. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

  3. Provide hand sanitiser in toilet facilities as well as areas where there may be a higher risk of transmission (such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways and lifts). You should check frequently to ensure you maintain adequate supplies at all times, and ensure that any equipment placed is accessible to, and does not impede, wheelchair users.

  4. Keep the facilities well-ventilated, for example by opening doors and windows where possible.

  5. Increase the number of waste facilities and frequency of rubbish collection.

  6. Use disposable paper towels in hand-washing facilities where possible.

  7. Minimise the use of portable toilets. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

5.3 Hygiene: handwashing, sanitation and toilet facilities

Additional considerations for the performing arts:

  • Minimise unnecessary time spent in high-risk areas like changing rooms by performers and other workers, especially during the changeover of group activity.

  • Consider creating additional dressing rooms where possible to minimise the number of people sharing small indoor spaces. Where dressing rooms are shared, ensure they are well-ventilated and minimise the number and use of shared objects.

5.4 Moving around buildings

You should ensure that social distancing can be maintained wherever possible while people travel to, through, and from the workplace.

Arriving and leaving:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel. Consider ways to help people walk or cycle to work if they can, such as installing bike racks.

  2. Consider staggering arrival and departure times, where appropriate, to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace (making sure to consider the impact on those with protected characteristics).

  3. Take steps to minimise transmission risk when using corporate vehicles such as work minibuses. This could include lowering the number of passengers in the vehicle at one time, and leaving empty seats between passengers.

  4. Reduce congestion around entry and exit points, for example by having more entry points to the workplace if possible, and introducing one-way flow with markings and signage.

  5. Provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser at entry and exit points and ensure it is accessible.

  6. Consider alternatives to touch-based security devices (such as keypads), for example so that staff can show a pass to security personnel from a distance. If touch-based security devices are necessary, adjust processes to reduce the risk of transmission (for example by cleaning pass readers regularly, and asking staff to hold their passes near readers rather than touching them).

    Within the facility:

  7. Reduce movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites, for example by restricting access to some areas, or encouraging use of radios or telephones (note that items shared by staff members will require cleaning between users).

  8. Introduce one-way flow through buildings. Provide floor markings and signage to remind both workers and customers to follow social distancing guidance wherever possible.

  9. Regulate use of high-traffic areas including corridors, lifts, turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.

  10. Provide accessible hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts, and reduce maximum occupancy to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. Encourage the use of stairs instead of lifts wherever possible, but ensure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.

  11. Consider the needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

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5.5 Handling props, musical instruments, technical equipment, and other objects

You should take steps to reduce transmission through contact with objects.

What you should do:

  • Where possible, equipment should not be shared between users. Consider making available extra equipment (such as radios and headsets, or percussion sticks and mallets), so that these can be allocated to a single member of each team for the duration of the production. Use name labels where needed to identify the designated user.

  • Paper items such as music scores, parts and scripts should be allocated to one individual and only handled by them, where possible. You could also consider digital approaches to minimise the number of touchpoints, where this is feasible.

  • If equipment has to be shared, it should be regularly disinfected and cleaned thoroughly between users. For example, packing cases, props, chairs, microphones and music stands which need to be handled or used by multiple crew members must be cleaned between uses. Musical instruments should be cleaned by the musicians playing them, where possible. Audio description headsets must be cleaned between use and after handling by staff.

  • Avoid unnecessary contact opportunities. Create pick-up and drop-off collection points where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and mics hand-to-hand. Do not permit audience members onto the stage, or to touch equipment (such as props, instruments, sets or other objects) used by performers.

  • Consider how best to store instruments and other equipment so that they do not have to be touched by others. For example, using designated storage for large instrument cases, and keeping smaller instrument cases under the relevant musician’s seat.

  • Ask staff to avoid sharing personal items such as phones, chargers, and pens, and to regularly clean or disinfect their own personal equipment.

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6. Face coverings and PPE

In this section:

6.1 Face coverings

Face coverings are required in many public indoor places, as well as settings like public transport. This can apply to both staff and visitors, unless they have a valid reason for not wearing one (such as a medical exemption or other permitted reason). If this applies to your business, you have a legal duty to remind your customers to wear face coverings where it is mandated. You should ensure you are aware of the rules on face coverings and how this applies to your facility.

If face coverings are not required in your facility, you should consider asking or encouraging your customers and visitors to wear them. It is strongly encouraged that everyone wears face masks in enclosed public spaces (even where it is not legally required), particularly where social distancing may be difficult or where people may come into contact with others they do not live with or share a support bubble with.

If staff are not legally required to wear face coverings, you should review the risks in your workplace, and assess the need for face coverings on a case-by-case basis. You may want to encourage staff to wear face coverings in the workplace, particularly if social distancing is difficult in their role, or they are likely to have to interact with people from outside their household or support bubble. You should support your workers if they choose to wear face coverings.

However you should remember that face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and you should not rely on face coverings as a sole form of risk management.

Face coverings for performing arts venues

  • Staff who don’t work in public areas or have close contact with members of the public do not have to wear face coverings. However you should encourage or allow staff to wear face coverings if they choose to, particularly if social distancing is difficult in their role, or they are likely to have to interact with people from outside their household or support bubble.

  • Performers must wear a face covering at all times other than when in the course of their employment or in the course of providing their services. This means that they do not have to wear a face covering during rehearsals and performances, but must wear one at other times.

  • Staff providing close-contact services (such as costume fittings, hair and makeup) are required to wear a visor and a specific type of face mask. You can find more information in the guidance on close contact services.

When permitted to open to the public:

  • Face coverings must be worn by customers in entertainment venues, including theatres, concert halls and grassroots music venues. This is the law, and you have a legal duty to remind your customers to wear face coverings if this applies to your facility.

  • Audiences, visitors and customers must wear face coverings at all times, but they can be removed when eating or drinking, or if asked to do so by staff for identification or age-identification (e.g. when purchasing alcohol).

  • Staff who work in an indoor area that is open to the public and where they’re likely to come into contact with a member of the public must wear a face covering (unless there is a physical barrier, such as a perspex screen, between them and customers).

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the rules on face coverings and how this applies to your facility. Consider whether you should encourage staff or visitors to wear face coverings in areas where it is not legally mandated.

  2. Ensure that face coverings are worn by staff where required. It is against the law to prevent your staff from wearing a face covering where they are required to do so.

  3. Provide face coverings to staff, if they are required. Where staff need to wear face coverings for their work, you should provide these (as it is a health and safety requirement), but allow staff to use their own face coverings if they choose to.

  4. Take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors are informed of the rules on face coverings, for example through notices at the entrance and in-store communications. You may also want to inform visitors that they should be prepared to remove face coverings if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification (for example, if your business sells age-restricted products).

  5. Consider the impact on people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound, and ways to mitigate this (such as giving staff training on safe or alternative means of communication).

You can find further detail on when and where to wear face coverings (as well as the enforcement measures which can be taken if you do not comply with the law) in the guidance on face coverings.

6.2 Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. This does not include face coverings, which are covered in the section on face coverings.

Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

Where you do not use PPE in your usual work activity, you should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19. PPE is only recommended in certain scenarios such as clinical settings, or for people responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

What you should do:

  1. Review the need for PPE in your risk assessment. Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

  2. If your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

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Additional considerations for performing arts:

  • Check the guidance for specific professions or settings, and ensure PPE is worn where required. For example, those who work in close contact services (such as hair and makeup, or costume fittings in some circumstances) are required to wear visors and a specific type of face covering. You can find out more in the section on back of house processes and the guidance for close contact services.

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7. Travel and transport

In this section:

7.1 Work-related travel

You should avoid unnecessary work travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.

What you should do:

  1. Minimise non-essential travel – consider remote options first.

  2. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel. This means walking or cycling where possible, though when not possible, people can use public transport or drive.

  3. Minimise the use of shared vehicles for people from different households or support bubbles (where it is permitted) by using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation by opening windows, and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  4. Minimise transmission risk when using corporate vehicles such as work minibuses. This could include lowering the number of passengers in the vehicle at one time, and leaving empty seats between passengers.

  5. Ensure shared vehicles are cleaned between shifts or on handover.

  6. Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally log the stay and make sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

For more information about work-related travel to make deliveries to other sites, see the section on deliveries and handling goods.

Further considerations for the performing arts:

  • Consider a flexible call schedule so that people can avoid travel at peak times.

7.2 Deliveries to other sites

You should ensure that workers delivering to other sites (such as factories, logistics sites or customers’ premises) can maintain social distancing and hygiene practices.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel.

  2. Minimise the use of shared vehicles by using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation by opening windows, and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  3. Ensure shared vehicles are cleaned between shifts or on handover.

  4. Put in place procedures to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries to other sites.

  5. Use solo workers to make deliveries and load or unload vehicles, where it is possible and safe. Where two-person deliveries are required, maintain consistent pairing where possible to minimise transmission risk.

  6. Minimise contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

  7. Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally logging the stay and making sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

7.3 Inbound and outbound goods

You should ensure that on-site and visiting workers maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel.

  2. Review pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings, and consider ways to minimise transmission risk.

  3. Minimise unnecessary contact at delivery points such as security checkpoints, delivery yards and warehouses. For example, consider implementing non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for use of electronic pre-booking.

  4. Consider methods to reduce the frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.

  5. Use solo workers to make deliveries and load or unload vehicles, where it is possible and safe. Where two-person deliveries are required, maintain consistent pairing where possible to minimise transmission risk.

  6. Encourage drivers to stay in their vehicleswhere this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing drive-aways. However you should ensure drivers have to access welfare facilities when required.

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Additional considerations for the performing arts:

  • Ensure that crew and creative teams can maintain social distancing. Where this is not possible, use fixed teams to minimise contacts and minimise close proximity during setup and transportation.

  • Consider ways to reduce unnecessary contacts. This could involve using additional trucks for transport of equipment and large items, or increasing the use of mechanical handling equipment such as forklifts to reduce the number of people required to lift heavy cases and scenery.

  • Allocate sufficient time and workspace for any off-set prep work to be carried out safely. Ensure that as much work as possible takes place off-site, such as pre-fabricating the set which is then assembled and painted on the site. You can find more information in the guidance for factories, plants and warehouses.

  • When hiring equipment, consider limiting the number of suppliers you work with to minimise contacts. You should clean hire equipment, tools or other equipment on arrival and before first use. The responsibility for cleaning hired instruments should be discussed with the suppliers. If you receive deliveries in advance, store in a clean location and clean them before the first use.

  • Minimise the need for people to work in close proximity where possible, for example by using more trucks or deliveries when transporting goods. However you must ensure that people are not put at risk when handling heavy equipment.

Consider how best to manage this on your site. For example, by using mechanical handling equipment (such as forklifts) to reduce the need for workers to be in close proximity when lifting heavy cases and scenery. Where activities cannot be redesigned (such as lifting or maintenance activities that require two people), use workforce management strategies like consistent pairing systems or fixed teams. You can find more information in the section on shift patterns and working groups. $CTA

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Where to find more information

In this section:

Guidance for your sector

Music production guidance (UK Music)

Film guidance (British Film Commission)

TV production guidance (BBC)

Outdoor events and festivals guidance (Events Industry Forum)

Government guidance for construction and other outdoor work, and factories, plants and warehouses

Government guidance for places of worship HSE guidance on disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems

Resources

How to find your local PHE health protection team

The COVID-secure notice you can display in your workplace if you follow this guidance

Health and Safety Executive guidance on COVID-19 risk assessments, social distancing to make your workplace COVID-secure, ventilation and air conditioning and general advice on managing risk

Register and order COVID-19 tests for your employees

Support for businesses and employers during coronavirus (COVID-19)

General guidance for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for employers and employees on statutory sick pay due to coronavirus.

Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

Coronavirus guidance and support

COVID-19: What you need to do

Guidance on the current restrictions and what you can and cannot do

Guidance on education, universities and childcare, and advice for schools and out-of-school settings

Guidance on accessing green spaces

Guidance on face coverings

Guidance on NHS Test and Trace and self-isolation

Guidance on NHS COVID-19 testing

Guidance on safer travel

Guidance on social distancing

Guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals

Guidance on who is at higher risk from coronavirus, and for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

What to do if you or someone in your household has symptoms or tests positive.

What to do if you have close contact with someone outside your household who has symptoms or tests positive

Guidance for workplace settings

Guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings

HSE guidance on the risk of legionella

Guidance on disposing of personal or business waste during the coronavirus pandemic

Working safely in close contact services (including hairdressers and beauty facilities)

Working safely in factories, plants and warehouses

Working safely in heritage locations

Working safely in hotels and guest accommodation

Working safely in indoor and outdoor sport facilities (including gyms, saunas and steam rooms)

Guidance for outdoor gyms and playgrounds, and soft play areas

Working safely in the performing arts

Working safely in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway service

Working safely in retail shops, stores and branches

Working safely in visitor economy settings (including business events, large events, attractions and leisure events)

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