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)

Please read the priority actions and full guidance below.

Priority actions to take - what businesses need to do to protect staff and customers

Seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a 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.

  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.

  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.

  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.

  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers and audience members for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.

  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 be isolating.

Five more things you need to be aware of if you are a performing arts venue:

  • Take proactive steps to encourage audiences to support the safety of the event. Discourage activities which can create aerosol (such as shouting, chanting and singing along), seat individuals rather than allowing them to stand to help maintain social distancing, clearly communicate that individuals who should be isolating should not attend, and provide information on how the event will run.
  • Limit the number of audience members so that capacity is at a level that allows social distancing to be maintained. From 14 September venues will need to ensure that groups of up to 6 in the audience are kept separate from one another to ensure they do not mix and do not exceed the new legal limits.
  • Limit the number of performers as far as possible and use teams, groups or partnering to reduce the number of people individuals have contact with, for example, where social distancing may be impractical (such as intimate or fighting scenes in theatre, dancing, costume fitting, hair and make-up).
  • Limit the duration of opportunities for social interaction as far as possible, including rehearsals and performances.
  • Encourage working outdoors and refer to outdoor events guidance if you’re organising outdoor activities.

These are the priority actions to make your business safe during coronavirus. You should also read the full version of the guidance below.

Introduction

Latest updates

We have updated this guidance as follows:

  • Updated relevant sections to reflect that from 14 September it is against the law for gatherings of more than six people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces)

  • Confirmed that professional activity in line with Stage 4 of the performing arts roadmap can continue as it has done previously

  • Confirmed that organised dance activities are included in the exemption for organised sport or exercises classes or licensed outdoor physical activity

  • Confirmed that the limit on gatherings does not apply to professionals taking place in performing arts activity. The Cabinet Office has published guidance confirming the exceptions here, which include workplace settings

  • Confirmed that from 14 September non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that employers, employees, the self-employed, volunteers and non-professionals take steps to keep everyone safe. This document is to help performing arts organisations, venue operators and participants including those who are employers, employees and self-employed, volunteers and non-professionals in the UK understand how to work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping as many people as possible 2m apart from those they do not live with.

This document includes guidance for a return to training and rehearsal, and managing audiences and venues or premises, in line with the law and current social distancing advice. We understand how important it is that you can work safely and support your employees’ and customers’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus. Evidence on the most effective steps that can be taken to limit the transmission of the virus continues to be regularly reviewed. This guidance may be updated in the future in response to changing scientific understanding.

We have developed a five-stage roadmap to bring our performing arts back safely. These five stages of the phased return to performing arts are as follows:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)
  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes
  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience
  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)
  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

This guidance sets out how performing arts organisations can prepare for and deliver their activities at each of these five stages. This means that not all the guidance set out here will be relevant immediately; organisations should adopt the guidelines insofar as the government permits activities to proceed. Where a premises or venue delivers a mix of services, only those services that are permitted to be open should be available.

As of 15 August we are now at Stage Four of the roadmap. This means that socially distanced indoor and outdoor performances can take place in line with this guidance, though we encourage organisations to continue to work outdoors wherever possible. In addition, musicians, dancers and actors, and the technical and operational teams that support performing arts production, can resume training, rehearsals and recorded performances where organisations wish and are able to. Dance studios are also open and should follow guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities. As set out in more detail in the government’s roadmap for recovery any further steps to continue to open up the economy will be dependent on the state of the epidemic at the time and the trajectory of cases being stable or remaining in decline.

As of 14 September activity in line with Stage 4 of the performing arts roadmap can continue. Venues such as theatres, concert halls and other entertainment venues that are already able to host larger numbers, and are COVID-secure in line with the relevant guidance, will continue to be able to do so - as long as groups of more than one household are limited to six and social distancing is maintained between them.

Both professionals and non-professionals (meaning those participating in performing arts other than for work purposes), or groups which include non-professionals, should refer to this guidance for their activities. Organisations have a duty of care to volunteers and non-professionals to ensure as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. This guidance around working safely during COVID-19 should ensure that volunteers and non-professionals are afforded the same level of protection to their health and safety as employees and the self-employed. This guidance also sets out how organisations will want to think about managing audiences.

Additional mitigations, such as extended social distancing, were previously required for singing, wind and brass given concerns that these were potentially higher risk activities. DCMS commissioned further scientific studies to be carried out to develop the scientific evidence on these activities, which has allowed us to reconsider appropriate mitigations. Both professionals and non-professionals can now engage in singing, wind and brass in line with this guidance. People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Venues, performers and audiences should ensure 2m distancing applies wherever possible.

However, these studies have indicated that it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that is likely to create risk. We are continuing to develop more detailed understanding of how to mitigate this potential aggregate risk, but in that context, organisations should therefore consider:

  • Maintaining social distancing wherever possible. Non-professionals should not engage in activities that may lead to social distancing being compromised.

  • Ensuring activity takes place outside wherever possible, including performance

  • Limiting the number of performers as far as possible (with non-professionals being restricted by rules on meeting with others safely

  • Limiting the number of audience members, noting that capacity should be maintained at a level that allows social distancing to be maintained

  • Limiting the duration of social interaction opportunities ie rehearsals or performances as far as possible

  • Taking steps to improve ventilation as far as possible and whenever possible, both through the use of mechanical systems and opening windows and doors

  • Taking steps to encourage audiences to support the overall safety of the event, including discouraging activities which can create aerosol (such as shouting, chanting and singing along), seating individuals rather than allowing them to stand (to help maintain social distancing) and the other mitigations outlined in this guidance

  • Continue to take the other vital steps outlined in this guidance, including preventing unwell people from attending, maintaining cleanliness, supporting contact tracing and other mitigating measures.

By considering and adopting these measures cumulatively, the overall risk of the event will be reduced.

Organisations must ensure an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment is carried out and that the numbers of individuals involved are able to be socially distanced at all times. Organisations and venues will want to minimise the risk as far as possible and this guidance sets out a number of mitigations that should be considered when doing so. See the bullets above and section 3 for further details.

We hope this guidance gives you freedom within a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations and activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand how important it is to work safely and support your workers’, volunteers’ and participants’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace and the health and safety of workers and participants, and public health, should not be put at risk.

This document has been prepared by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in consultation with representatives of the performing arts sector, Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For advice to organisations in other parts of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government. While this guidance applies to England, you should always consider whether there are local restrictions in place in your area. If you live or work in an area that is experiencing a local COVID-19 outbreak and where local restrictions have been imposed, different guidance and legislation will apply. Please consult the local restrictions pages to see if any restrictions are in place in your area.

Following the implementation of pilots of socially distanced indoor performances in July, this guidance has been updated with additional measures and clarifications arising from how these performances were managed. We expect that this document will continue to be updated over time. Readers should take particular note of changes in relation to track and trace, face coverings and managing audiences.

If you have any feedback for us, please email performingartsguidancereview@dcms.gov.uk.

How to use this guidance

This document sets out guidance on how to train, rehearse, perform and manage audiences safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. It gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in performing arts workplaces and environments. This guidance only relates to activities permitted by government regulation.

Each organisation, self-employed person or participant will need to translate this guidance into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their business or activity, including the size and type of organisation, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.

This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that as an organisation or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors, volunteers, participants and other people, as well as your employees. 

To help you decide which actions to take, you need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. As part of this risk assessment, you should understand and take into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers. 

What do we mean by ‘performing arts returning to training, rehearsal and performance’?

This guidance applies to those who engage in activities in the performing arts including but not limited to performers (actors, singers, dancers, musicians, other performers), coaches, support workers, choreographers, costume designers, set builders, accompanists, directors, stage managers and other creative, technical and operational production team members; and to the premises and venues in which performing arts activities take place. It applies to training, rehearsal and pre-production activities, and performances which take place with or without a live audience, wherever these activities occur.

This guidance is likely to be relevant and should be considered in a wide range of circumstances including but not limited to: music production, film, advertising, television production, places of worship, outdoor events and festivals, indoor unseated music venues, bars and restaurants. Where relevant, it should be read alongside the specific guidance relevant to particular settings. In particular, learning professionals in the performing arts should look at guidance for schools and out-of-school settings.

The guidance contains information that is relevant both for those working in the professional performing arts, those who participate in the performing arts on a non-professional basis, and for the owners, operators and users or hirers of premises or venues when they are used for performing arts. Recognising that within the performing arts it is common practice to operate both in your own and in third parties’ premises or venues, and to hire equipment from third parties, collaboration between groups, organisations and businesses will likely be needed to give proper effect to this guidance.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the latest government guidance. It will be updated regularly as government advice changes, so please ensure you are working from the latest version.

Social distancing in performing arts environments

Professionals operating under the performing arts guidance

You must maintain social distancing in the performing arts environment wherever possible. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular professional activity, organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff, workers, participants and audiences. Mitigating actions include:

  • Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.

  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.

  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.

  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by considering the use of ‘fixed teams, groups or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others). For example, where social distancing may be impractical due to the degree of proximity required (such as intimate/fighting scenes in theatre, dancing, costume fitting, hair and make-up), fixed teams could be operated as follows:

    • Grouping 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

    • Minimising transmission risk between fixed teams when they mix outside their team during a rehearsal or performance and during breaks or moving around a premises or venue

    • Ensuring that there is no swapping between designated fixed teams. This is to reduce the risk of whole team impact in the event of a worker contracting COVID-19

    • Including any support workers for disabled workers or performers as a member of the fixed team

    • Note that it is unlikely that this fixed team approach will be possible in non-professional environments or where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously

  • Using screens where feasible to separate individuals or fixed teams from each other where they cannot achieve social distancing

Social distancing applies to all parts of a premises or venue, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, dressing rooms, canteens, foyers and bars, and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing. Assessing the capacity of any space to be used and appropriately managing this to maintain social distancing.

Non-professionals operating under the performing arts guidance

Non-professional activities should not take place that require social distancing to be compromised.

Non-professionals are restricted by rules on meeting with others safely. This means that non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

1. Thinking about risk

In this section

Objective: That all employers and organisation carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment.

You must make sure that the risk assessment for your organisation and the places where you operate addresses the risks of COVID-19, using this guidance to inform your decisions and control measures, and taking account of the needs of those with protected characteristics. You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place, as any revisions could present new or altered security risks that may require mitigation. A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your environment. If you have fewer than five workers or participants, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. The Health and Safety Executive has guidance for business on how to manage risk and risk assessment at work along with specific advice to help control the risk of coronavirus in workplaces.

Employers and organisations have a duty to consult their people on health and safety. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work and how you will manage risks from COVID-19. The people who do the work or activity are often the best people to understand the risks in that environment and will have a view on how to work safely. Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously. You must consult with 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.

At its most effective, full involvement of your workers or participants creates a culture where relationships between employers/organisations and workers/participants are based on collaboration, trust and joint problem solving. As is normal practice, workers and participants should be involved in assessing workplace risks and the development and review of health and safety policies in partnership with the employer or organisation.

Employers or organisations and their workers or participants should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, see below for further steps you can take.

Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or your local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance, where possible. The actions the HSE can take include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements.

Additional mitigations, such as extended social distancing, were previously required for singing, wind and brass given concerns that these were potentially higher risk activities. DCMS commissioned further scientific studies to develop the scientific evidence on these activities, which has allowed us to reconsider these additional mitigations. Both professionals and non-professionals can now engage in singing, wind and brass in line with this guidance. People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Venues, performers and audiences should ensure 2m distancing applies wherever possible.

However, these studies have indicated that it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that is likely to create risk. We are continuing to develop more detailed understanding of how to mitigate this potential aggregate risk, but in that context, organisations should therefore consider:

  • Maintaining social distancing wherever possible. Non-professionals should not engage in activities that may lead to social distancing being compromised.
  • Ensuring activity takes place outside wherever possible, including performance
  • Limiting the number of performers as far as possible with non-professionals being restricted by rules on meeting with others safely guidance. This means that non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.
  • Limiting the number of audience members, noting that capacity should be maintained at a level that allows social distancing to be maintained
  • Limiting the duration of social interaction opportunities ie rehearsals or performances as far as possible
  • Taking steps to improve ventilation as far as possible and whenever possible, both through the use of mechanical systems and opening windows and doors
  • Taking steps to encourage audiences to support the overall safety of the event, including discouraging activities which can create aerosol (such as shouting, chanting and singing along), seating individuals rather than allowing them to stand (to help maintain social distancing) and the other mitigations outlined in this guidance.
  • Continue to take the other vital steps outlined in this guidance, including preventing unwell people from attending, maintaining cleanliness, supporting contact tracing and other mitigating measures.

How to raise a concern if you are an employee:

First, speak to your employer.

  • contact your employee representative, if your workplace has one
  • contact your trade union if you have one
  • contact HSE at:

HSE COVID-19 enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm)
Online: working safely enquiry form

1.1 Managing risk

Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority.

Employers or organisations have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. Employers or organisations must work with any other employers, organisations or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected. In the context of COVID-19 this means protecting the health and safety of your workers, participants and any audience by working through these steps in order:

  1. 2 metres, wherever possible, or 1 metre with robust risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable), are acceptable. You should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment. (Mitigation does not include basic measures such as good hand and respiratory hygiene, the compliance with which should be universal and is assumed).

  2. Businesses and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to ensure their employees can work safely. From 1 August 2020, this may be working from home, or within the workplace if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. When in the workplace, everyone should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).

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

  4. Further mitigating actions include:

    – increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning, including disinfection of high footfall areas or common touchpoints with particular attention to toilets/restrooms.
    – keeping the activity time of any activity where social distancing cannot be maintained as short as possible
    – using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
    – using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
    – reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

Consider the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations. Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe environment.

In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people undertaking the activity are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

The recommendations in the rest of this document are ones you must consider as you go through this process. You could also consider any advice that has been produced specifically for your sector, for example by trade associations or trades unions.

If you have not already done so, you should carry out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace or environment as soon as possible. If you are currently operating, you are likely to have gone through a lot of this thinking already. We recommend that you use this document to identify any further improvements you should make.

Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or your local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing, where possible.

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law. The actions the enforcing authority can take include the provision of specific advice to employers to support them to achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to two years. There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.

Employers are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities. The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK’s fight against COVID-19 by working with the Government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public. However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

Please remember that when a building or space is repurposed - when there is any change in use or type or use or other circumstance - there needs to be a fire risk assessment.

1.2 Sharing the results of your risk assessment

You must share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 workers to do so).

We would expect all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and customers that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this. You should do this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business and on your website, if you have one.

Below you will find a notice you should display in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.

There may also be other industry standards or marks that you can use to demonstrate to any visitors, guests and customers that you have thought carefully about risk.

1.3 Test and trace

Follow the guidance on supporting NHS Test and Trace. Venues may also record where audience members are seated to aid the process.

2. Who should return to training, rehearsal and performance

In this section

Objective: Employers should ensure workplaces are safe whilst also enabling working from home.

In order to keep the virus under control, it is important that people work safely. Working from home remains one way to do this. However, the risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Employers should consult with their employees to determine who, from the 1 August 2020, can come into the workplace safely taking account of a person’s journey, childcare responsibilities, protected characteristics, and other individual circumstances. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk. Businesses should consider the impact of workplace reopening on local transport, and take appropriate mitigating actions (e.g. staggered start and finish times for staff). When it is decided that workers can come into their place of work then this will need to be reflected in the COVID-19 risk assessment and actions taken to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance. It is vital employers engage with workers to ensure they feel safe returning to work, and they should not force anyone into an unsafe workplace.

Steps that will usually be needed:

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

  2. Planning for a phased return to work for people safely and effectively.

  3. Monitoring the wellbeing of people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.

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

  5. Providing equipment for people to work at home safely and effectively, for example, remote access to work systems.

  6. Where not meeting for work purposes, people should continue to follow guidance on [meeting with others safely]https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing).

2.1 Protecting people who are at higher risk

Objective: To protect clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

From 1 August, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can return to their workplace providing COVID-secure guidelines are in place but should work from home wherever possible. You should follow the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

As for any workplace risk you must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers who are, as always, entitled to suspension on full pay if suitable roles cannot be found. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Steps that will usually be needed:

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

  2. See current guidance for advice on who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups.

  3. Ensuring higher risk individuals take particular care if attending performing arts activities in person and for professional purposes and, where possible are within only their normal household group or support bubble and appropriately distanced from other individuals on entry to, during and following participation.

2.2 People who need to self-isolate

Objective: To make sure individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance do not physically come to work or participate in activities in person. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government’s test and trace service.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19—a high temperature, new and persistent cough or anosmia, however mild, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started OR if you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken.

If you have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, you should restart the 10 day isolation period from the day you develop symptoms.

This only applies to those who begin their self-isolation on or after 30 July.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Enabling workers and participants to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.

  2. Communicating clearly that individuals self-isolating should not come to, or near to, performing arts activities. If feasible, providing alternative means such as video link for them to participate.

  3. Asking audience members to confirm they are not experiencing symptoms prior to an event.

  4. See current guidance for employees and employers relating to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.

  5. See current guidance for people who have symptoms and those who live or are in a support bubble with others who have symptoms.

  6. If one member of a ‘fixed team’ (see Section 3 on keeping those in performing arts environments safe) displays symptoms, follow the test and trace guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection who do not live with the person.

2.3 Equality in the workplace

Objective: To make sure that nobody is discriminated against.

  • In applying this guidance, employers and organisers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.
  • It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability.
  • Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.
  • Covid-19 workplace risk assessments are required to cover the whole of the workforce. This should therefore already include BAME workers and those with other risk factors including age, obesity and underlying health conditions.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Understanding and taking into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

  2. Involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either be associated with a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

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

  4. Making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.

  5. Making 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.

3 Managing performances

In this section

Objective: To minimise transmission and maintain social distancing before, during and after live performances.

3.1 Manage capacity and overcrowding

Objective: To ensure social distancing is possible by limiting the number of people able to access the premises or venue.

Maximum capacity should consider appropriate social distancing given the nature of activities (i.e. if the activity is static vs. requiring a range of movement) and equipment layout and the configuration of space.

Particular attention should be given to ventilation and sufficient circulation space especially around equipment and between groups and any classes and coaches or teachers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Conducting a specific risk assessment for each premises or venue and the proposed activities to identify:

    – The likely numbers of people that will be in the venue or on the premises at different times of its use
    – The number of people that can reasonably follow social distancing within the venue or premises, taking into account total space, equipment as well as likely constraints (toilets and washrooms) and pinch points
    – The ventilation rates that can be applied to the premises or venue and whether this can be adjusted sufficiently to deliver a safe environment for all those due to attend at any time (performers, producers, support teams and audience combined)
    – Which activities can be undertaken and which spaces can be used with specific measures to ensure social distancing and maintain cleaning

  2. Limiting the number of people in the venue or on the premises, overall and in any particular congestion areas, for example doorways between outside and inside spaces

  3. Enabling a booking system or other approaches to manage demand of spaces, so that no more than the desired number of people are in the building at any one time and records of those attending, including seating position, can be provided for contact tracing purposes in the event of a case of Covid-19 in a participant.

  4. Managing occupancy levels and changeover by reducing class, rehearsal group or audience sizes and amending timetabling

  5. Allowing a sufficient break time between sessions or performances held to prevent waiting in groups.

  6. Where possible, operating on a book-in-advance basis for any spaces available to hire, preferably online or over the phone.

3.2 Staging and capacity

Objective: To ensure that the size of audience, the arrangements and performances staged are consistent with ensuring social distancing.

Risk assessments should specifically consider the maximum capacity for a given performance, the ventilation that can be delivered for that capacity and the ability to manage audience behaviour to avoid compromising social distancing.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reducing site, premises or venue capacity and limiting ticket sales to a volume which ensures social distancing can be maintained.

  2. For performances or events where there is no ticketing, considering 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 reasonable approach to control numbers if too many people begin to arrive and to encourage social distancing, as well as fulfilling requirements to support contact tracing in the event of a subsequent case of Covid-19.

  3. Managing 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.

  4. Reconfiguring entertainment spaces to enable audience to be seated rather than standing. For example, repurposing ticketed standing areas as ticketed seating areas.

  5. Considering using available spaces outdoors for performances with a live audience in attendance.

  6. Considering the expected interactions amongst audience members and making sure sufficient controls are in place to maintain social distancing, for example providing clear communication, demarcating spaces, using sufficient ushers.

  7. Making sure risk assessments carefully consider worker safety, especially of those working closely with a large number of members of the public or audience.

  8. Discouraging or avoiding gatherings such as performances or screenings that may encourage audience behaviours that increase transmission risk, for example crowding, clustering or physical contact outside of household groups or support bubbles.

  9. Considering where crowding could take place such as at points of ingress and egress, car parking, handwashing and toilet facilities, waiting areas, bars and restaurants and areas in proximity to performance area.

  10. Considering the particular needs of disabled audiences when making adjustments to venues or premises, and communicating these appropriately before any performance as well as when in the venue or premises.

  11. Consulting with relevant authorities and specialist advice to best evaluate impact, develop mitigating strategies and coordinate relevant external agencies if required.

3.3 Managing audiences

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible in performing arts environments.

People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. From 14 September, by law social interactions should be limited to a group of no more than 6 people.

Households and groups up to a maximum of 6 people should always remain socially distanced from each other (your support bubble counts as one household). See guidance on making a support bubble with another household. From 14 September it is against the law for gatherings of more than 6 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces).

Organisations and venues must ensure an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment is carried out and that individuals are socially distanced at all times. Organisations and venues will want to minimise the risk as far as possible and this section of the guidance sets out a number of mitigations that should be considered when doing so.

In particular, those operating venues or running events following COVID-19 Secure guidelines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent large gatherings or mass events from taking place. Venues should take account of this guidance and the outdoor events guidance in organising outdoor performances. Individual businesses or venues should consider the cumulative impact of many venues re-opening in a small area. This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations. These 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.

Local authorities should avoid issuing licenses for events that could lead to larger gatherings forming and provide advice to businesses on how to manage events of this type. If appropriate, the government has powers under Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place.

When members of the public are attending performances, organisers should ensure that steps are taken to avoid audiences needing to unduly raise their voices to each other, such as shouting, chanting and singing along. This is because increased volume can increase aerosol transmission.

This includes, but is not limited to, discouraging singing along to music or cheering, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult, for example during performance intervals. Organisers can ask performers to help encourage the audience to support the overall safety of the event. You should take similar steps to prevent close contact activities - such as communal dancing in audiences.

This is important to mitigate the potential for increased risk of transmission - particularly from droplets and aerosol transmission. We will develop further guidance, based on scientific evidence, to enable these activities as soon as possible.

3.4 Outdoor performances

Organisers of outdoor performances should give particular consideration to:

  • The guidance on delivering outdoor events, particularly where such performances are not typical to their operations.

  • In the case of drive-in performances, only allowing cars to park sufficiently far apart to ensure social distancing is maintained, for example by clearly marking available parking spaces.

  • Ingress and egress management, car parking, public transport, hand washing facilities and areas such as arenas, stages or concessions points where crowding could take place. Requirements for permanent structures will differ from green field sites.

  • Consulting with the relevant authorities and seeking specialist advice to best evaluate impact, developing mitigating strategies and coordinating relevant external agencies if required.

  • Managing family groups who may wish to remain closer than the required social distance but who, in doing so, may encourage others to cluster in a similar manner. Communication is key to this.

  • Where items are offered for customer use, so for example a picnic blanket or seating, this should be done only where they can be collected from an appropriate distance and with hygiene measures in place (for example, through the availability of hand sanitiser). Such items should be thoroughly cleaned before being offered for re-use.

  • Planning car parking to allow sufficient spacing for the social distancing of occupants. This will be particularly important at events where attendees may gather around their vehicles during an event or make frequent visits to their vehicles to collect chairs, coats, drinks etc.

  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been advised to self-isolate following contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19, should be asked not to attend.

  • The expected interactions among participants occurring during the event and implementing sufficient controls to ensure social distancing is maintained.

  • Discouraging or avoiding activities or features that are likely to encourage audience behaviours increasing transmission risk, such as crowding, clustering, communal dancing and physical contact outside of household groups or support bubbles.

3.5 Coming to and leaving premises or venues

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to enable handwashing upon arrival.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Walk and cycle if you can. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive. If using public transport is necessary, wearing a face covering is mandatory, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons.

  2. Staggering arrival and departure times to reduce crowding into and out of the premises or venue, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.

  3. Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle where possible.

  4. Considering a flexible call schedule so that people can avoid travel at peak times.

  5. Limiting passengers in shared vehicles, for example, minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty and sticking to households or constant fixed working bubbles.

  6. Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points in larger premises or venues.

  7. Using markings and introducing an accessible one-way flow at entry and exit points, and considering how social distancing markers can be made as accessible as reasonably practicable.

  8. Providing handwashing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points.

  9. Providing alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads.

  10. Defining process alternatives for entry/exit points where appropriate, for example, deactivating pass readers at turnstiles in favour of showing a pass to security personnel at a distance.

  11. Communicating ahead of arrival and on arrival the guidance about who should self-isolate (set out in Section 2.2), for example to attendees at castings, workshops and rehearsals.

  12. Maintaining use of security access devices, such as keypads or passes, and adjusting processes at entry/exit points to reduce risk of transmission. For example, cleaning pass readers regularly and asking staff to hold their passes next to pass readers rather than touching them.

  13. Ensure any changes to entries, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled individuals, including those with sensory disabilities. For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled customers or workers and communicating arrangements effectively.

3.6 Moving around buildings

Objective: To maintain social distancing as far as possible while people travel through premises or venues.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reducing movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites, for example, restricting access to some areas, encouraging use of radios or telephones, where permitted. These items require cleaning between users if multi-use.

  2. Introducing more one-way flow through buildings. Providing floor markings and signage should remind workers, participants and visitors to follow to social distancing wherever possible.

  3. Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging use of stairs wherever possible.

  4. Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.

  5. Regulating use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts, turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.

3.7 Managing front of house and back of house during a performance

Objective:To maintain social distancing as far as possible between front of house and back of house teams during live performances, and between performers, crew members and audience members.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Creating front of house and back of house zones with people operating exclusively within each zone, where possible.

  2. Ensuring that members of fixed teams are particularly careful to maintain social distancing when interacting with audience members and others front of house and minimise time spent doing so.

  3. Identifying any roles that typically operate both front of house and back of house, and minimising these where possible.

  4. Identifying any roles that interact with audiences and manage transmission risk appropriately.

  5. Minimising interaction of back of house staff with the audience.

3.8 Ticketing and payments

Objective: To maintain social distancing when managing ticketing and payments.

Ticket sales should be limited to a volume which allows for social distancing to be achieved, both in auditoria and other parts of the site, premises or venue. Organisers should ensure that audience members are provided with suitable communication prior to the events, setting out the safety procedures in place and how they can support these. This should include advising that people with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been advised to self-isolate following contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Where possible, encouraging guests to purchase tickets online and to use e-ticketing. Where this is not the case, encouraging contactless payment.

  2. Allowing for contactless payment and other technology solutions on all purchases made in the premises or venue or on-site.

  3. Frequent cleaning of any payment points or ticketing equipment that are touched regularly.

  4. Maintaining social distancing as far as possible when checking tickets.

3.9 Cloakrooms

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in the operation of cloakrooms.

Performance venues and premises and events will need to review whether and how they operate cloakrooms, in particular:

  • Closing cloakrooms wherever possible given the challenges in operating them safely.

  • Cleaning them very frequently.

  • Considering using no contact procedures where applicable, such as lockers.

  • Suggesting to audience they limit items carried to the site, premises or venue.

3.10 Managing food, drink and retail purchases, and food and drink consumption

Objective: To risk assess and manage food, drink and other retail purchases and consumption to maintain social distancing.

Risk assessment of the preparation, handling, purchase and consumption of all food and drink, and other retail purchases such as programmes and merchandise should be undertaken to identify the need for any necessary changes to procedures. Please refer to the guidance for Restaurants and Bars, and for Shops and Branches published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy for further guidance and considerations for the operation of retail areas, food and drink concessions.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Considering allowing guests to pre-order and collect refreshments and other retail merchandise at designated points throughout the site, premises or venue to maximise social distancing and reduce pinch points. For example, avoid selling programmes or ice-cream inside or outside the auditoria, or at points of site of ingress or egress where crowds and queues may form and make social distancing harder to observe.

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

  3. Using screens to create a physical barrier between staff and customers at concessions points.

  4. Considering adopting seat service at intervals in order to reduce pinch points at bars.

  5. Considering providing programmes and other performance materials in digital format.

  6. All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid customers needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes - but is not limited to - refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission - particularly from aerosol and droplet transmission.

3.11 Entrances, exits and managing people flow

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible when people move around the site, premises or venue during performances.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Adapting performance scheduling to support social distancing and good hygiene. For example, scheduling sufficient time between performances to reduce the possibility of different audiences coming into close proximity and to allow time for cleaning.

  2. Using space outside the site, premises or venue for queuing where available and safe. Outside queues should be managed to make sure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks, for example by introducing queuing systems, having staff direct visitors or audience, and protecting queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or putting up barriers.

  3. Working with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, for example queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks.

  4. Reducing instances where people might be required to queue. For example, at:

    – Entrances and exits to the building
    – Escalators, stairs and lifts
    – Ticket and concessions kiosks and ticket validation points
    – Entrances and exits to auditoria, and
    – Toilets and washrooms.

  5. Where possible, designating staff to manage queues and regulate guest access between areas.

  6. Encouraging visitors to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the site, premises or venue.

  7. Using queue management and marking out one-way flow systems through the site, premises or venue to reduce contact points. For example, introduce one-way systems through the common areas, using auditorium fire exits as the standard so that guests are not required to pass each other when entering and exiting these spaces.

  8. Helping visitors maintain social distancing by placing clearly visible markers along the ground, floor or walls, advising on appropriate spacing.

  9. Considering how social distancing markers can be made as accessible as reasonably practicable.

  10. Ensuring any changes to entry, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled visitors. For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled customers.

  11. Extra stewarding/marshalling may be needed at key pinch points and care should be taken to remove any barriers at exits that might cause crowding. This should be considered as part of the event’s crowd management plan, in consultation with those responsible for managing security and marshalling etc.

  12. Management of crowd density points, such as where people stop to watch displays, must be considered as part of this planning to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

  13. Limiting the potential for guest contact with performers and support staff by, for example:

    – 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
    – Not permitting visitors backstage
    – Not permitting autograph signing or photographs with performers

3.12 Seating arrangements and use of common areas

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible when audience use common areas and the performance area or auditorium.

Each auditorium or performance site, premises or venue should be managed to ensure the maintenance of social distancing. Key principles to follow for seating include:

  • Audiences should be seated as individuals or groups of no more than 6 (with groups following guidance on meeting with others safely

  • These individuals and groups should maintain social distancing

  • Seating and space for those requiring disabled seating or wheelchair space should be considered within the social distancing arrangements with due regard to accessibility responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing seating in a way which ensures social distancing between individuals or groups of no more than 6 (with groups following guidance on meeting with others safely. You should consider measures such as:

    – Providing allocated seating and managing seating plans through ticketing systems or manually to ensure social distancing is maintained
    – If unallocated seating is provided, installing seat separation or labelling seats which should not be used, or deploying staff to support the audience in adhering to social distanced seating
    – It is expected that guests will take responsibility for their own and others’ welfare and abide by social distancing in the auditorium. Staff should nevertheless be deployed to ensure that these measures are being observed. This may include increased checks and supervision, in particular before and at the end of each performance.

  2. Encouraging audience members not to bring bags and coats into auditoria where possible to reduce clutter at seats.

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

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

  5. Considering the needs of disabled audience members, for example access to captioning or audio description services, when managing seating.

  6. Cleaning auditoria very frequently and scheduling performances to allow sufficient time to undertake necessary cleaning before the next audience arrives.

3.13 Toilets

Objective: To ensure that toilets are kept open and to ensure/promote good hygiene, social distancing, and cleanliness in toilet facilities.

Public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency and to avoid touching your face, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

  2. Consider the use of social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach e.g one in one out, and reducing the number of facilities available (whilst avoiding the creation of additional bottlenecks).

  3. To enable good hand hygiene consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical, and ensure suitable handwashing facilities including running water and liquid soap and suitable options for drying (either paper towels or hand driers) are available.

  4. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets, with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage. Use normal cleaning products, paying attention to frequently hand touched surfaces, and consider use of disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces.

  5. Keep the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where appropriate.

  6. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

  7. Putting up a visible cleaning schedule can keep it up to date and visible.

  8. Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

  9. Considering the likely patterns of use during a performance, for example during intervals, and modifying any requirements or restrictions to reduce likelihood of these areas becoming pinch points.

3.14 Providing and explaining available guidance

Objective: To minimise the contact resulting from visits to performance sites, premises or venues by providing adequate guidance.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to visitors before arrival, for example by email when purchasing tickets, and on any digital marketing and websites.

  2. Providing written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to both workers and customers inside and outside the venue, including clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival and throughout the site, premises or venue, for example, signage and visual aids. You should display posters or information setting out how audience members should behave at your venue to keep everyone safe and consider accessible ways of communicating information.

  3. Reviewing external messaging to visitors and audience to make sure it does not provide information that may present a security risk, such as the location of queues or the number of people permitted in a queue.

  4. Considering the equalities impacts of the changes made and what advice or guidance you will need to provide for users who might be adversely impacted.

3.15 Managing broadcast performance without a live audience

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst broadcasting performances without a live audience in attendance at the premises or venue.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Film or other broadcast crews not mixing with performers in the performance area if to do so would breach social distancing, unless they are part of a fixed group with the performers.

  2. Following the guidance on broadcast, film, and music production where relevant.

4. Keeping those involved in the performing arts safe

In this section

This Section covers management of workers or participants and their activities, including those who operate on a peripatetic basis. It includes a range of non-exhaustive activities undertaken in the performing arts with guidance on how to adapt activities to reduce transmission and maintain social distancing. When following this Section, legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities, and particular duties towards vulnerable people continue to apply. Section 3 provides further guidance on managing audiences and premises or venues when audience members are in attendance.

4.1 General guidance during rehearsals, training, pre-production and performance

Objective: To maintain social distancing between individuals during training, rehearsals, pre-production and performance.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing space for performers and other attendees to be socially distanced from each other and from any audience, production team members or other individuals, wherever possible during training, rehearsal, pre-production, performance and any other form of performing arts activity.

  2. Working outdoors where possible. Where this is not possible, ensuring all rehearsal, training and performance areas, with particular regard to indoor and covered areas, have maximum ventilation whenever staff or audiences are present.

  3. Organising and designing repertoire, rehearsals, training and performance to avoid situations where performers cannot socially distance, wherever feasible.

  4. Reducing as far as possible any time that individuals are not able to maintain social distancing.

  5. Reducing group and cast sizes where possible to maintain social distancing. Conducting rehearsals and training in smaller fixed teams wherever possible.

  6. Adapting live performing arts to ensure they are safe. If that is not possible, consider the use of technology solutions to reduce interactions and ensure social distancing (for example for castings, rehearsals, training and performance).

  7. Removing non-essential common areas such as waiting rooms.

  8. Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people maintain social distance, where possible.

  9. Positioning side-to-side or back-to-back and avoiding working face-to-face wherever possible.

  10. Screening of anyone prior to entry into venues, which may include, but not be limited to, a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire.

  11. Ensuring there is a clear policy in place for managing a COVID-19 positive individual, and abiding by government and PHE guidelines and reporting requirements.

  12. Considering using booths, barriers or screens between performers and any audience, noting that:

    – The effectiveness of the booth, barrier or screen varies substantially depending on the type of booth, barrier or screen used
    – Only some types of booth, barrier or screen will be effective enough to be viable for use in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained
    – Comprehensive risk assessments will be needed whenever using booths, barriers or screens to ensure that transmission risk is appropriately contained and that other health and safety risks such as noise exposure are managed, particularly when using booths, barriers or screens in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained

Rehearsals and performance

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst rehearsing and performing.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reducing cast, orchestra and other performance group sizes wherever possible to enable social distancing to be maintained.

  2. Taking steps to improve ventilation as far as possible, both through the use of mechanical systems and opening windows and doors.

  3. If working indoors, limiting the numbers to safely match the available ventilation of the space and the ability to observe social distancing.

  4. Maintaining social distancing wherever possible in rehearsals and performance. If close contact is absolutely essential, minimising this and using fixed teams where possible.

  5. Mapping out productions in advance of commencing in-person rehearsals.

  6. Learning lines or parts in advance to avoid carrying scripts in rehearsal.

  7. If performers are likely to spit during their performance, organisers should consider additional mitigations such the use of face coverings or screens.

  8. Displaying scripts onto screens in rehearsal rooms to reduce contact requirements and to support accessibility.

  9. Increasing use of technology in rehearsals such as to complete read-throughs, and in performance where feasible.

  10. Avoiding rehearsing and performing face-to-face wherever possible.

  11. Performers attending rehearsals and performances only when required for their part.

  12. Changing the call schedules so that only those required are on-site.

  13. Detailing rotating of cast when entering and exiting the stage trying to minimise the number of people working in the same area at the same time.

  14. Using radio, phone and video links where possible to avoid face-to-face contact.

4.2 Workstation-based environments

Objective: To maintain social distancing between individuals when they are at their workstations.

For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people, and cleaned between use.

If it is not possible to keep workstations apart to allow social distancing then organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the organisations to operate, and if so, take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

Further guidance can be found in the working in offices and contact centres guidance and the working in factories or similar environments guidance.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reviewing layouts to allow workers to work further apart from each other.

  2. Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep the social distance.

  3. Avoiding people working face-to-face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other.

  4. Using screens to create a physical barrier between people.

  5. Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity. For example, maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned.

4.3 Meetings

Objective: To reduce transmission due to face-to-face meetings and maintain social distancing in meetings.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Taking steps to improve ventilation as far as possible, both through the use of mechanical systems and opening windows and doors.

  2. Using remote working tools to avoid in person meetings.

  3. Only absolutely necessary participants should physically attend meetings and should maintain social distancing (2m, or 1m with robust risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).

  4. Avoiding transmission during meetings, for example avoiding sharing pens and other objects.

  5. Providing hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.

  6. Holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.

  7. For areas where regular meetings take place, use floor signage to help people maintain social distancing.

4.4 Common Areas

Objective: To maintain social distancing while using common areas.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the staff break rooms or places to eat.

  2. Using safe outside areas for breaks.

  3. Creating additional space by using other parts of the premises, venue, workshop or location that have been freed up by remote working.

  4. Installing screens to protect workers in receptions or similar areas.

  5. Providing packaged meals or similar to avoid fully opening staff canteens.

  6. Reconfiguring seating and tables to optimise spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.

  7. Encouraging workers or participants to remain on-site during breaks and, when not possible, maintaining social distancing while off-site.

  8. Considering use of social distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, showers, lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.

  9. Encouraging workers or participants to bring as few personal items with them as possible.

4.5 Changing rooms and showers

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Where shower and changing facilities are essential, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing can be achieved as much as possible.

  2. Introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.

  3. Where showers are shared, consider cleaning more frequently.

  4. For additional reassurance, providing cleaning materials and hand sanitiser for use at touch points.

  5. Providing additional signposting in these areas to maintain social distancing.

  6. Considering changes in policies to ensure limited time is taken in changing areas, especially during the changeover of group activity to maintain social distancing.

  7. Permitting use of lockers provided social distancing can be maintained.

  8. Consider creating additional dressing rooms in order to minimise contact between performers.

  9. Where dressing rooms are shared, minimise the number of objects in the room that could be shared between performers.

4.6 Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents.

In an emergency, for example, an accident, provision of first aid, fire or break-in, people do not have to social distance if it would be unsafe.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reviewing your incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect and enable the social distancing principles as far as possible.

  2. Considering the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.

  3. Considering whether you have enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe. For example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security.

  4. For organisations who conduct physical searches of people, considering how to ensure safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards, following government guidance on managing security risks.

4.7 Playing music

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission playing in music groups

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Observing social distancing at all times whilst playing.

  2. For professionals (i.e. for work purposes) where social distancing is not possible, using fixed teams which are positioned socially distanced from any other fixed team or anyone else.

    – Note that this fixed team approach is not recommended in non-professional environments unless all the members of the fixed team are part of the same household or support bubble.
    – It is also unlikely that this fixed team approach will be feasible where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously.

  3. Using back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.

  4. Playing outdoors wherever possible.

  5. If playing indoors, limiting the numbers to account for ventilation of the space and the ability to social distance.

  6. Considering regular private testing (noting that this will not allow any relaxation of other control measures) with an accredited provider, particularly for those who play with more than one group at a time such as deputising musicians and teachers.

  7. Considering using screens or barriers in addition to social distancing.

4.8 Shift patterns and working groups

Objective: To change the way work is organised to create distinct groups and reduce the number of contacts each worker or participant has.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. As far as possible, where workers or participants are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups so that, where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.

  2. Members of fixed teams observing social distancing amongst themselves, and between fixed teams.

  3. You should assist the Test and Trace service by keeping a temporary record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

  4. Identifying areas where people have to directly pass things to each other and finding ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones.

  5. Creating zones in a venue or premises to separate groups, for example those who work front of house (such as sound operators) from other production team members and performers.

  6. Where an individual is operating on a peripatetic basis, such as a teacher, freelance musician, freelance audio describer or captioner or choreographer, and operating across multiple groups or individuals:

    –Maintaining distancing requirement with each group
    – Avoiding situations where distancing requirement is broken, for example demonstrating partnering work in dancing
    – Making efforts to reduce the number of groups interacted with and locations worked in, to reduce the number of contacts made
    – Considering a regular private testing programme with an accredited provider, noting that this will not allow any relaxation of other control measures.

4.9 Casting and auditions

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst casting and auditioning.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Self-taping or online auditions to reduce numbers on-site. A live feed may help reduce numbers of a creative team attending casting and auditions.

  2. Removing 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.

  3. Using screens to create a physical barrier between people, for example between casting team or accompanist and candidates.

  4. Considering how to appropriately protect any supporting creative team, for example by using screens or ensuring social distancing can be maintained.

  5. Considering the needs of disabled and deaf workers and participants in making adjustments to casting and auditions management.

  6. Reducing size of cast where possible to reduce the number of contact points, for example by reducing numbers of non-essential supernumeraries, players taking dual roles.

4.10 Training

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst training.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Avoiding any training exercises that compromise the social distancing guidelines set out in the introduction.

  2. Where it is essential for performers in training to breach social distancing, keeping them in place for the minimum possible time.

  3. Avoiding face-to-face positions where possible.

  4. Dividing classes and training sessions into small groups.

4.11 Set design and construction

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst designing and constructing the set.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. To maintain social distancing or, where not possible, to minimise close proximity during setup and transportation, consider:

    – Using additional trucks for transport of equipment and large items
    – Increasing the use of mechanical handling equipment such as forklifts to reduce the number of people required to lift heavy cases and scenery.

  2. Allocating sufficient time and workspace for any off-set prep work to be carried out safely.

  3. Pre-fabricating as much set as possible off-site, only assembling and painting on site, following as necessary any additional published guidance such as operating in factories.

4.12 Sound and lighting

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst managing sound and lighting.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. 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.

  2. Where the sound desk is positioned close to audience seating, consider leaving empty the closest row of seats.

  3. Regularly cleaning desks, for example, sound, lighting, mics and battery packs.

4.13 Stage management and back-stage

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst managing the stage and back-stage.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Restricting workers allowed back-stage and on-stage to those who are essential.

  2. Not permitting visitors back-stage or at stage door.

  3. Considering how wings can be used to allow for the minimum possible interaction between people, for example one-way systems, dedicated wings for stage managers and dressers.

  4. Reconfiguring back-stage to introduce one-way systems and use of green rooms and crew rooms by fixed teams.

  5. Limiting prop handling to the minimum possible number of people and clean after every performance, and where possible between uses if handled by different people.

  6. Limiting handling of key props on set to a dedicated crew member and relevant cast.

  7. Providing markers on-stage for music groups to adhere to social distancing.

  8. Marking out a clear route onto the stage for soloists and conductors entering for a performance.

  9. Limiting the staging of the performance to the performance or stage area only and excluding directions for the performers or crew to exit the stage area and move amongst the audience.

  10. Considering cover responsibilities, such as Assistant Stage Manager covering the book, maintaining where possible a separation between those operating front of house and back of house.

4.14 Orchestra pits and band areas

Objective: To reduce risk of working in orchestra pits.

Orchestra pits and band areas are often small and tight spaces where social distancing may be difficult. Particular attention needs to be paid to risk management in these environments.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Considering reducing the number of musicians using the orchestra pit or band area, for example by moving them to other locations within the performance space to enable social distancing to be possible.

  2. Marking up the orchestra pit or band area so that all musicians are clear about their spacing and social distancing.

  3. Positioning musicians side-by-side or back-to-back where feasible and avoiding face-to-face.

  4. Considering using screens or barriers, especially where musicians are facing each other, whilst taking account of health and safety requirements regarding noise exposure.

  5. Maintaining the appropriate distance between players in the orchestra pit or band area and anyone on stage.

  6. Forming fixed teams of regular musicians as permitted by this guidance.

4.15 Costumes and concert dress

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst managing costumes and concert dress.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff, workers, participants and audiences.

  2. Some productions may require costume fitting where social distancing and avoidance of intimate face-to-face contact is impractical. In these instances, consider:

    – Using screened-off cubicles for cast to receive their costume and dress without assistance where possible. Where assistance is unavoidable (for example for quick changes in the wings), where possible avoid face-to-face positioning during fittings
    – Where face-to-face positioning during fittings is unavoidable, following the government guidance on working in close contact settings where relevant
    – Using fixed teams and only where essential and unavoidable. It is unlikely that this fixed team approach will be possible in non-professional environments or where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously

  3. Reducing cross-contamination risk by where possible:

    – Sanitising and ventilating changing cubicles between use
    – Separating individual cast members’ costumes in plastic bag
    – Hanging cast members’ own clothes inside a clean plastic cover
    – Laundering costumes between each use and covering individually in plastic covers after cleaning

  4. Avoiding sharing equipment, for example maintaining a dedicated sewing machine for one user.

  5. Completing costume fittings as far as possible during prep or off-site to avoid people congregating back-stage.

  6. Reducing the number of quick changes or increasing time between changes.

  7. Musicians arriving at a performance venue or premises in the clothes they will wear for the performance.

4.16 Hair and make-up

Objective: To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst managing hair and make-up.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Some productions may require hair and make-up where social distancing and avoidance of intimate face-to-face contact is impractical. In these instances, consider:

    – In the first instance asking performers to do their own hair and make-up where appropriate. Request cast and supporting artists remove their own make-up where possible
    – Where it is not possible for someone to do their own hair or makeup, following the government guidance on working in close contact settings where relevant
    – Using fixed teams as outlined. It is unlikely that this fixed team approach will be possible in non-professional environments or where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously.

  2. Positioning hair and make-up stations to allow appropriate social distancing or using screens between stations.

  3. Limiting the time spent in a hair and make-up chair whenever possible.

  4. Allowing extra time for processes to limit cross-contamination risk, for example:

    – Allocating own makeup kit, brushes, hair products and equipment to each cast member, to be sterilised each day and only used on them.
    – Supplying pins, disposable brushes for lips and glues where possible.

  5. Increasing equipment and surface hygiene. For example, use air borne sanitising sprays, maintain minimum equipment, sterilise and disinfect equipment and surfaces after each application, use disposable brushes and applicators.

4.17 Travel

Objective: To avoid unnecessary work and other non-essential travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Avoiding using public transport, and aiming to walk, cycle, or drive instead. If using public transport is necessary, wearing a face covering is mandatory, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons.

  2. Minimising non-essential travel – consider remote options first.

  3. Minimising the number of people outside of your household or support bubble travelling together in any one vehicle, using fixed partners, increasing ventilation when possible and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  4. If you normally share a vehicle with people from other households or support bubbles for essential journeys, we recommend you find a different way to travel so that you can maintain social distancing. See also guidance on car sharing.

  5. Cleaning shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.

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

4.18 Communications and training

Objective: To make sure all workers and participants understand COVID-19 related safety procedures and are kept up to date with how safety measures are being implemented or updated.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing clear, consistent and regular communication, and in accessible formats, to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working.

  2. Engaging with workers, worker representatives and participants through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements. Developing communication and training materials for workers and participants prior to returning to site, especially around new procedures for arrival.

  3. Ongoing engagement with workers and participants (including through trade unions or employee representative groups) to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments.

  4. Awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. The government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  5. Using simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of groups for which English may not be their first language, and addressing the needs of those with protected characteristics.

  6. Using visual communications, for example whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to production schedules, breakdowns or materials shortages to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

  7. Communicating approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, visitors or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience.

  8. Considering the equalities impacts of the changes made and what advice or guidance you will need to provide for users who might be adversely impacted.

5. Cleaning objects, equipment and environments

In this section

5.1 Before reopening

Objective: To make sure that any premises, venue or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart, including:

– An assessment for all or parts of premises or venues that have been closed, before reopening or resuming activity
–Cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser, before reopening or resuming activity

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Establishing new cleaning regimes for the premises or venue and determining how they will be delivered effectively with the planned hours of operation, for example on a daily basis, with some surfaces cleaned regularly throughout the day.

  2. Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.

  3. 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.

  4. Using any natural ventilation systems such as doors (except fire doors) and windows where feasible to ventilate enclosed space.

5.2 Keeping the environment clean

Objective: To keep the environment clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces. Venues should not spray people with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber) under any circumstances (see guidance).

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Frequent cleaning during events, particularly of touchpoints like door handles and areas which are likely to be used extensively, such as toilets.

  2. Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between use, using your usual cleaning products.

  3. Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly such as coffee or vending machines or staff handheld devices, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.

  4. Extra, frequent deep cleaning of shared spaces such as audition spaces, rehearsal and backstage areas.

  5. Owners keeping instruments and other personal kit clean, and not sharing these items with others.

  6. Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a class, rehearsal or performance.

  7. If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific guidance.

  8. Maintaining good ventilation in the work environment. For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.’

5.3 Hygiene – handwashing, sanitation facilities and staff or visitor toilets

Objective: To help everyone keep good hygiene at all times

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

  2. Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.

  3. Providing hand sanitiser in multiple accessible locations in addition to washrooms, and considering the needs of wheelchair users in where these are placed.

  4. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.

  5. Enhancing cleaning for busy areas.

  6. Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

  7. Providing hand drying facilities, either paper towels or electrical dryers.

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

Objective: To reduce transmission through contact with objects.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.

  2. Avoiding sharing personal items such as phones, chargers, pens, and owners take responsibility for regularly disinfecting their own personal equipment.

  3. Using designated storage for large instrument cases; musicians with smaller instruments keep cases under their seat.

  4. Avoiding sharing professional equipment wherever possible and place name labels on equipment to help identify the designated user, for example cameras, percussionists maintaining their own sticks and mallets.

  5. Handling of music scores, parts and scripts to be limited to the individual using them.

  6. Making available extra radios and headsets or earpieces, dedicating a member of each team to be responsible for them for the duration of the production, and making sure these are appropriately cleaned if not single use.

  7. If equipment has to be shared, regularly disinfecting it (including any packing cases, handles, props, chairs, microphones and music stands) and always between users, following UK Government guidance.

  8. Consider limiting number of suppliers when hiring equipment. Responsibility of cleaning hired instruments should be discussed with the suppliers.

  9. Transporting equipment in accordance with Government guidance for vehicles.

  10. Cleaning hire equipment, tools or other equipment on arrival and before first use. If receiving deliveries in advance of when required, store in a clean location and clean before first use.

  11. Cleaning of musical instruments by musicians playing them, where possible.

  12. Cleaning of audio description headsets between use and after handling by staff.

  13. Creating picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and mics hand-to-hand.

  14. Not permitting audience onto the stage or to touch equipment, props, instruments, set or other objects used by performers.

  15. Taking precautions when handling heavy equipment, including:

    – Re-evaluating spaces to avoid people working in close proximity (e.g. using more trucks for transport of goods)
    – Increasing the use of mechanical handling equipment (such as forklifts) to reduce large numbers of workers working in close proximity (e.g. lifting heavy cases and scenery)
    – Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity, for example, during two-person working, lifting or maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned
    – Reducing job and equipment rotation
    – Cleaning procedures for the parts of shared equipment you touch after each use, thinking about equipment, tools and vehicles

5.5 Cleaning auditoria

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in auditoria.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Cleaning auditoria very frequently, typically between each performance, with particular attention paid to surfaces that hands of audience and staff are likely to come into contact with such as doors, seat arms and handrails.

  2. Scheduling performance to allow sufficient time to undertake necessary cleaning before the next audience arrives.

6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

In this section

6.1 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

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. It also includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks.

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

At the start of this document we described the steps you should take to manage COVID-19 risk in the workplace. This includes working from home and staying at the recommended distance away from each other in the workplace if at all possible. When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because 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.

The exception is clinical settings, like a hospital, or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health England advises use of PPE, for example, first responders and immigration enforcement officers. If you are in one of these groups you should refer to the advice at:

Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

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. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you should provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided should fit properly. Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

6.2 Face Coverings

In England, you must wear a face covering in entertainment venues, including theatres and concert halls. You should follow government guidance on face coverings, including:

You must wear a face covering by law in some public places unless you have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one or you are not able to wear one, for example, because of your age or a health condition.

You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

Where to obtain further guidance

Appendix

Definitions

Term Definition
Common areas Refers to areas and amenities which are provided for the common use of more than one person including canteens, reception areas, meeting rooms, areas of worship, toilets, gardens, fire escapes, kitchens, fitness facilities, store rooms, laundry facilities.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people Refers to people who have specific underlying health conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to severe illness if they contract COVID-19. Clinically extremely vulnerable people will have received a letter telling them they are in this group, or will have been told by their GP. Who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’?
Clinically vulnerable people Refers to people who may be at increased risk from COVID-19, including those aged 70 or over and those with some underlying health conditions. Who is ‘clinically vulnerable’?