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1.0 Introduction

This document aims to help employers, employees, and the self-employed working in the culture and heritage sectors in Wales to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is imperative that the coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance is referred to for the latest information on the current alert level and any transitional restrictions that are in place, including which restrictions have been eased and which establishments need to remain closed, as the situation changes frequently. The most up to date information is available on the coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance. Coronavirus legislation: related legislation guidance is published to support any amendments.

This guidance offers high-level advice for culture and heritage destinations and venues that are open to the public. These include museums, art galleries, libraries, archives, historic buildings, historic gardens, ancient monuments, cinemas and arts venues, including concert halls and theatres.

To support businesses to operate safely, the Welsh Government has adopted five key principles to Keep Wales Safe – at work:

  • Care: our health and well-being comes first
  • Comply: the laws that keep us safe must be obeyed
  • Involve: we will share responsibility for safe work
  • Adapt: we all need to change how we work
  • Communicate: we must all understand what to do

Further guidance on the key principles is available on the Welsh Government website.

Those managing tourist attractions should read Keep Wales Safe: guidance for tourism and hospitality, which provides comprehensive advice for the whole sector.

2.0 Legal requirement

The Coronavirus Regulations require that all those responsible for “regulated premises” (as defined in regulation 15) that are open to the public, or where work takes place, take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on the premises, and to reduce the risk of those who have been on the premises spreading the virus.

The Coronavirus Regulations enable the Welsh Government to issue guidance notes on what is expected of all those responsible for premises that are open to the public, or where work takes place. You must take into account the following guidance notes which have been issued under the regulations:

You must also comply with the Coronavirus Regulations on the following areas which may impact on how you operate your culture or heritage business and accept visitors. The law in Wales may differ to the law applicable in other parts of the UK and note that changes are made regularly.

  • Restrictions on gatherings and whether or not extended households can be formed are confirmed in each alert level from 1 to 4.  Whilst these duties are imposed on the general public they are likely to impact on your booking and operating arrangements.
  • Restrictions on travel to and from Wales are confirmed in each alert level from 1 to 4.
  • Restrictions on hospitality premises are confirmed in each alert level from 1 to 4 covering restrictions including around the sale or supply of alcohol, closure times and table service rules in such premises where they apply.

2.1 Reviews of the law

The Welsh Government has published an update to the Coronavirus Control Plan, which builds on the traffic-light framework of restrictions originally put in place in May 2020. 

This updated Coronavirus Control Plan, which takes account of vaccination and the dominant Kent variant, sets out how we will move through the alert levels and how we can help people and businesses plan for the future, as we continue our careful approach to unlocking the current restrictions.

The four alert levels are:

  • Alert level 1 (low risk): This represents the level of restrictions closest to normality, which are possible while infection rates are low and other preventative measures, such as social distancing and working from home, remain in place.
  • Alert level 2 (medium risk): This includes additional controls to limit the spread of coronavirus. These may be complemented by more targeted local actions to manage specific incidents or outbreaks. 
  • Alert level 3 (high risk): These represent the strictest restrictions short of a firebreak or lockdown. These respond to higher or rising level of infections where local actions are no longer effective in containing the growth of the virus.
  • Alert level 4 (very high risk): Restrictions at this level would be equivalent to the firebreak regulations or lockdown.

See also Coronavirus control plan: revised alert levels in Wales (March 2021).  Information on the current Alert Levels and any transitional arrangements in place (including what is permitted) should be checked regularly for updates and can be found here.

The Welsh Government reviews the Coronavirus Regulations at least every three weeks. These reviews provide an opportunity to assess the effectiveness and consequences of the provisions and may result in revocations of or amendments to the regulations. It is important to note that if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases, new rules may be introduced to reduce the spread of the virus and protect public health outside of the standard three week review period.

In addition, an increase in the transmission of COVID-19, either across Wales or in a specific locality, might affect what is considered a “reasonable measure”. What might be regarded as reasonable when the prevalence of the virus is low may be different to when the prevalence is high. In these circumstances, there may also be more activities where the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is such that the only means of minimising the risk is not to do it or even to close premises or parts of premises. It is therefore important to draw up and regularly revisit a COVID-19 risk assessment to ensure that the actions you are taking are in line with the most recent regulations and alert level and the circumstances as they apply at a given time.

3.0 How to use this guidance

The purpose of this guidance is to set out practical considerations for managing culture and heritage destinations and venues. It will help you to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, and to identify actions and reasonable measures you can take to improve the safety of your staff, volunteers, and the visiting public: Your responsibilities as an employer: coronavirus.

The main section provides general guidance but you should also review the annexes to this guidance that address your particular area of work.

In responding to this information, your plans should be proportionate. How you handle the process of managing your venue is up to you, but you must work within the requirements of the COVID-19 regulations and clearly demonstrate a proactive approach to infection control.

This guidance does not supersede or replace any legal obligations including health and safety, employment or equalities, and it is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics.

4.0 Guidance for managing and opening of culture and heritage destinations and venues

The managing and opening of culture and heritage destinations and venues can only be possible within the current COVID-19 regulations whilst giving appropriate consideration to all relevant guidance.

This guidance should also be considered in the context of regulations and guidance in other areas of life where there are key interdependencies that will affect the way we move forward. These include the requirement for individuals and households with possible or confirmed coronavirus to self-isolate and stay at home. Guidance on protecting people who were previously “shielding” (ie, those defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19) and those in the increased risk group, and also advice provided to older members of society to be particularly stringent in following physical distancing measures, will also have an impact on how organisations are able to address opening.

Organisations should focus on creating agile solutions that can be paused or rapidly reversed in the event of further changes to COVID-19 rates either nationally or within their local areas and measures introduced by the Welsh Government to respond accordingly.

4.1 General considerations

Regulation 16 of the Coronavirus regulations require regulated premises (any place which is open to the public or where work is carried out) to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, this includes the need to:

  1. undertake a specific assessment of the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the premises and in doing so consult persons working on the premises or representatives of those persons;
  2. ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between people on the premises;
  3. ensure where people are required to wait to enter the premises, that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between them
  4. take any other reasonable measures for that purpose, to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the premises, for example, measures which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene such as:
    1. changing the layout of premises including the location of furniture and workstations;
    2. controlling use of entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts;
    3. controlling use of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens;
    4. controlling the use of, or access to, any other part of the premises;
    5. installing barriers or screens;
    6. providing or requiring use of personal protective equipment; and
    7. providing information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Other reasonable measures may include:

  1. not carrying out certain activities;
  2. closing a part of the premises;
  3. allowing staff to isolate due to having symptoms of COVID-19, testing positive for the virus, or having had close contact with somebody who has tested positive; and
  4. collecting contact information from those on the premises (staff, visitors and members of the public), taking reasonable measures to ensure that it is correct, and retaining it for 21 days.

The risk assessment must be done in consultation with staff and representatives (recognised trade union or a representative chosen by workers) and be made available to staff. Employees should be encouraged to identify, speak up and feedback on risks and control measures, so they can be adapted. Be proactive about telling your workforce how they can raise a health and safety concern, and draft a protocol for how these issues can be resolved.HSE (Health & Safety Executive) provides useful templates to help you undertake a specific COVID-19 risk assessment.

Risk assessments must reflect the requirements of the current Welsh Government legislation and guidance.

When thinking about COVID-19 related risk, issues to consider include:

  • keeping risk assessments as ‘live’ documents that are regularly reviewed;
  • possible harms to both the physical and mental health of staff, volunteers and visitors;
  • the age and clinical vulnerability of people in your workforce;
  • the location of all touch points and whether they can be removed, protected or incorporated in an enhanced cleaning regime;
  • minimum safe levels of staffing — for example to maintain the specific COVID-19 protocols, or in the event of a member of staff or volunteer becoming unwell, or needing to self-isolate repeatedly (this may affect visitor capacity on site);
  • postponement of work tasks with a higher risk of injury in order to minimise the need for first aid involvement and reduce the strain on the NHS;
  • arrangements on staffed sites in the event of someone becoming unwell or injured whilst on the premises — including first aid arrangements (see also section 4.2 below);
  • minimising the need for work-related journeys and face-to-face contact;
  • recognising that communication, training, and appropriate equipment are significant factors in helping to reduce risk.
Planning and preparing premises for opening
  • Plans should be proportionate, should be reviewed regularly, and must offer a careful, phased approach to reopening.
  • To 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. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers. 
  • Deep clean public and workforce areas prior to reopening and implement revised and enhanced cleaning regimes. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms/toilet facilities, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells, light switches and door handles. Some useful guidance is available here.
  • Carry out statutory health and safety checks on buildings prior to opening for staff or visitors. Local authorities’ environmental health officers will be able to give valuable advice on what checks are required prior to reopening.
On-site bars, restaurants and catering
Retail

There are different requirements for those sites that sell retail goods. The Welsh Government has issued guidance COVID-19 Keep Wales Safe: in retail, which must be followed.

Water supplies

If buildings have been closed or had reduced occupancy water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires disease. HSE guidance covering water management and legionella is available here.

Where mains water has been turned off when the premises has been closed, it will need running through when it is reconnected to flush away any microbiological or chemical residues built up while the water supply was disconnected, and also check water temperature.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate, who are the Regulators and technical experts in England and Wales, has produced this advice on maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak

Air conditioning and ventilation

Those in control of a premises have a legal duty to ensure effective ventilation. Further advice on air conditioning and ventilation is available from the HSE here

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated and expanded its advice to help employers provide adequate ventilation in their workplaces and premises during the pandemic. The guidance builds on helping you to identify and take action in poorly ventilated areas. It also provides guidance on other factors to consider when assessing the risk from aerosol transmission, and determining whether adequate ventilation is being provided to reduce this risk.

You should be maximising the fresh air in a space and this can be done by:

  • natural ventilation
  • mechanical ventilation
  • a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation, for example where mechanical ventilation relies on natural ventilation to maximise fresh air

Read the updated guidance on air conditioning and ventilation and find out how you can provide adequate ventilation in your workplace, helping to protect workers and other people from transmission of coronavirus.

There is also advice available for building services, particularly around ventilation of buildings, both in use and when returning to buildings which have been closed from the following:

Ventilation and the new variants (technical details for those with mechanical systems)

Ventilation is a key mitigation measure to control the far-field (more than 2m) transmission of COVID-19 by aerosols between people who share the same indoor space. Ventilation is not likely to have significant impacts on close range transmission by droplets and aerosols (within 1m to 2m) or transmission via contact with surfaces (high confidence).

Higher viral load associated with people who have the new variant could have significant implications for transmission via the air, as previous scientific modelling suggests that viral load is a major determinant of airborne transmission risks. SAGE before the introduction of the new variant stated that for most workplaces and public environments adequate ventilation equates to a flow rate of 8-10 l/s/person based on design occupancy, although guidance for some environments allows for lower flow rates of 5 l/s/person. Since the introduction of the new variant, SAGE has recommended where possible, increasing ventilation flow rates mentioned above by a factor of 1.7 (70%) to account for the increase in transmissibility.

For some existing and older buildings, ventilation systems may not have been designed to meet current standards and additional mitigations may be needed. As a precautionary measure it is recommended that ventilation is included as part of any workplace or public indoor environment COVID secure risk assessment, and the necessary mitigation measures are adopted.

Ensuring good ventilation is a key objective:

  • Those in control of premises retain a legal duty (see https://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/l24.pdf - Regulation 6 covers ventilation) to ensure effective ventilation.
  • Employers are required to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air through natural or mechanical ventilation. In some cases, general ventilation can be improved by opening doors or windows.
  • 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.
  • For fully mechanical centralised air-conditioning systems, which both deliver and extract air from multiple rooms it is best practice to avoid recirculation of air. All centralised mechanical ventilation systems should have the facility to turn off recirculation and use only a fresh air supply.
  • For mechanical systems in individual rooms, where recirculation modes enable higher rates of supply of fresh air to be provided to a space, for example by the prevention of cold draughts, then these devices should be allowed to operate.
  • Fans would recirculate the current air, so would not  be advised.
  • Check 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.
  • Museum and archive stores with no permanent occupancy may allow for more tailored ventilation levels.
  • Consider whether staff work stations located close to ventilation points need to be moved so that they aren’t exposed to additional risks.
  • There is advice available for building services, particularly around ventilation of buildings, both in use and when returning to buildings which have been closed. It can be accessed from the Health and Safety Executive, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, The Building Engineers Services Association, and REHVA.
Test, Trace, Protect
  • There is a requirement for regulated premises, to collect contact information from each person on the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure that such contact information is correct, and to retain it for 21 days.
  • Collecting contact information will assist the Test, Trace, Protect service  to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic (i.e. are not yet displaying symptoms) in the event of a positive case having been at a particular location.
  • The Welsh Government has published guidance on employers' responsibilities to help with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. Guidance has also been published on keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect.
  • Ensure members of staff are made fully aware of their employer’s compliance with the Test, Trace, Protect process and the potential need for their employer to release their personal contact details to the enquiry team in the event of a case arising at, or involving, their place of work.
  • An employee must be allowed to self-isolate if they have symptoms, have tested positive or live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive, or has been told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect  because they have been identified as a contact of a person that has tested positive.
  • If multiple cases of COVID-19 appear in the setting or workplace, an outbreak control team from either the Local Authority or Public Health Wales will, if necessary, be assigned to help you as an employer to manage the outbreak. Employers should seek advice from their local authority.
Equality and diversity
  • Consider the rights of those with protected characteristics under equality legislation and how they will be able to continue to access your venue / services safely (e.g. whether there is a need to make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities).
  • Consider how you will continue to comply with Welsh language standards when implementing any changes in your activities / services.
  • Remember that some people do not have internet access or find it difficult or impossible to use the internet. You should make provision for them to be able to make bookings / enquiries offline.
Security and emergency preparedness
  • Consider the security implications of any changes you make to your ways of working. Be mindful of any new vulnerabilities you might inadvertently create when implementing new ways of working. Do not remove any security features without considering protective security in the round.
  • Make sure that any COVID-19 adaptations support your emergency preparedness. Issues could include your fire alarm muster stations, access for emergency response teams, dealing with violent or aggressive people and other life-threatening situations. Check that trained first aiders are still willing to undertake those roles and update any first aid training to include COVID-19 protocols.
  • There is separate guidance for first responders, including first aiders. You may wish to consider the use of FP2/FP3 facemasks as good practice when physical distancing cannot be achieved during the administration of first aid.
Review
  • Ensure that all policies and measures are reviewed regularly (at least weekly), particularly in light of changes to legislation, government guidance, lessons learned and any other examples of best practice elsewhere.

What to do if a visitor, or member of staff, or member of the public becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19

  • It is essential to maintain current knowledge and information on COVID-19 symptoms, which can be seen here
  • Arrangements should be made for the unwell individual to return home immediately. If at all possible public transport should be avoided. If it is necessary to use public transport the guidance on travelling safely during a coronavirus pandemic must be adhered to. 
  • The person should be removed to an area away from other people. If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door. As far as possible all other staff, members of the public and visitors should avoid direct or close contact with the individual. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation. Unless they are experiencing significant symptoms or have complications NHS 111 should not be called. If the individuals is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk call 999 as an emergency.
  • The individual should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag and then in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
  • All waste that has been in contact with a possible COVID-19 case, including used tissues, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag, tied, and disposed of in the general waste after 72 hours.
  • The premises must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, following COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings guidance which is available on GOV.UK. Further guidance on cleaning is available in Cleaning and hygiene arrangements.

4.2 Employees and protecting people at work

All reasonable steps must be taken in order to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The Welsh Government has issued guidance on taking all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public and the need to maintain physical distancing, and also guidance for employers and employees on keeping safe in the workplace.  

You should also consider:

Training and information
  • appropriate training, briefing or recorded re-induction of staff and volunteers in the context of the new COVID-19 related roles and responsibilities;
  • providing pre-return to work information so that staff understand logistical changes before they arrive back at the workplace.
Employee health and well-being
  • whose presence is essential on the premises — who should be at work and who should work from home;
  • consideration of arrangements for those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable (previously “shielding”), and also those individuals in the increased risk group;
  • minimising staff interaction — for example, through shift patterns, flexible working, staggered breaks and use of welfare facilities;
  • reducing opportunities for person-to-person contact by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ or ‘buddying’/group arrangements (so each person works with only a few others);
  • employee well-being and health, for example, ability to carry out a particular role or how worried staff may feel about coming back into the building/site;
  • keeping lines of communication open with staff who may still be at home, and involving them in planning for the reopening and future changes;
  • providing support to staff returning to work following traumatic events, such as the death or illness of a loved one, or financial difficulty.
  • ensuring that employees are aware that if they have symptoms, test positive for COVID-19 or live with someone who has symptoms or tests positive they must self-isolate at home and arrange to have a test. Additionally, if they have been identified via the NHS Test Trace Protect system as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or test positive themselves, they are required by law to self-isolate.
Human resources
  • updating human resources policies and procedures to take account of COVID-19-related matters (such as those relating to sickness, absence, well-being, mental health, remote/flexible working and training — remember to address new reasons for absence including close contact isolation or requiring time off work to take care of a dependant) and clearly communicating the changes to staff. If applicable, trades unions or other staff representative groups will need to be involved in these discussions;
  • reviewing sickness absence processes so that workers are not penalised or disciplined for needing to self-isolate;
  • the possibility of increased levels of absence affecting critical activities and how this could be prevented (for example, consider training several members of staff to cover different roles).
Your site and its operation
  • reviewing how to conduct meetings on, and off, site, including remote working;
  • reducing unnecessary movement around buildings;
  • controlling how staff enter and leave the workplace;
  • implementing additional specialised safe working practices that may be relevant to your setting — in consultation with staff, staff representatives and volunteers;
  • introducing protocols for back-of-house access including handling deliveries, visiting contractors, and other official visitors;
  • the management of cash handling and opening post;
  • providing guidance to staff on staff catering facilities, use of kitchen equipment and staff bringing food to site — for example, cleaning of microwaves, fridges, eating areas etc;
  • introducing a staggered or extended break rota to avoid crowding in staff rooms;
  • requiring the wearing of face coverings in indoor public places or in other indoor areas not accessible to the public where 2m distancing cannot be maintained; providing spaces to store bags / clothes / tools / equipment away from others;
  • the need for more regular cleaning of staff facilities and toilets (see section 3.5 below);
  • minimising the sharing of workstations as much as possible — if they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people and thoroughly cleaned after each individual;
  • cleaning and clearing workspaces, in particular where they are shared, and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.
Transportation
  • the crucial role that public transport will play in ensuring staff can return to work. In some areas this may mean that start and finish times may need to have a degree of flexibility, especially for staff with no access to private transport. The requirement for face coverings to be worn on public transport;
  • parking arrangements for staff cars / bicycles, including provision of additional parking for employees who may be avoiding the use of public transport.

The guidance on protecting people at work applies equally to volunteers and paid employees.

Many cultural venues open to the public have small teams of staff and rely on volunteers or family members. Some of these are older and/or have been shielding  or are in the increased risk group, and therefore may not feel comfortable about continuing their involvement under the current conditions. Organisations will need to consider how they stay in touch with these people.

Organisations may need to look for ways of bringing new volunteers into their teams. This could help increase supervision at a time when many organisations will have lost some of their volunteer workforce.

When using this guidance, organisations need to be aware of the requirement to treat everyone in the workplace equally, and be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals. It is illegal to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex, disability, race or religion.

4.3 Managing visitors

The measures that need to be implemented for managing visitors need to be proportionate, and will depend on the nature and size of the site. Some suggestions are set out below.

Issues relating to the safe management of visitors should be identified in risk assessments. It may also be possible to consider approaches adopted by other cultural and heritage venues that are open in your local area. This would ensure a consistency of approach, identify any potential for partnership working, and could build greater confidence amongst visitors.

Face coverings

It is mandatory for face coverings to be worn in all indoor public places that are open to the public (whether entry is paid for or free). Face coverings are to be worn by staff, visitors and members of the public unless they have a reasonable excuse not to do so, which includesexemptions for those under the age of 11 and for people who cannot wear face coverings due to health conditions or disability. Those individuals with exemptions from wearing face coverings should be treated sensitively and all staff should be made aware that they may remove their face coverings temporarily whilst maintaining a distance of 2m to assist people who are reliant on lip reading to communicate.

Welsh Government has published Face Coverings: guidance on measures to be taken by employers and managers of premises.

Indoor spaces

You should consider:

Capacity and circulation

  • assessing spaces to evaluate how many people can occupy particular spaces while safely observing 2m physical distancing;
  • introducing timed slots for entry which are available to book online, or accepting visitors by appointment only (remembering to set up alternative provision for those without internet access);
  • restricting capacity to a level that you know the site and staff can comfortably accommodate while observing physical distancing measures, and regularly reviewing the capacity restrictions;
  • provide hand sanitisation products or hand washing facilities for people when they enter and leave the premises, as well as in high traffic/customer interaction areas.
  • arrangements for maintaining physical distancing — for example, developing a one-way system, with appropriate signage, or identifying key pinch and gathering points and how these can be managed. You may need to be quite radical in changing the way visitors have previously moved around your buildings;
  • ensuring any changes to entries, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled customers;
  • limiting access and entry points, to improve the management of the flow of visitors. Where possible, you should have clearly marked “entrance and exit” points throughout the site;
  • leaving internal doors open where it is safe to do so (for example, subject to fire safety arrangements), so that visitors can see others at all times. This would have the added benefit of removing the need for multiple visitors to touch the same door handles, but it may not be possible if temperature / environmental conditions need control in delicate museum collections;
  • limiting the use of lifts — for example, to those with push chairs or to people with mobility / health issues. Where a lift is used, consider setting a new maximum capacity — for instance, one person, or two if a carer is required — and placing markers on the floor to indicate best physical distancing practice in the confined space;
  • using signage, barriers and floor markings to assist adherence to the physical distancing, including at customer service desks, ticketing desks, shops and in galleries, etc.;
  • considering what alternative arrangements need to be put in place for those with sight problems who may not be able to judge physical distance or see signage very well / at all;
  • introducing ‘stop and wait’ signs where appropriate;
  • placing staff close to key pinch and gathering points to oversee the movement of visitors through these areas (e.g. narrow stairways / passageways which need to be used in both directions) — giving special consideration to those with disabilities including visual impairment. If it is not possible to maintain the required physical distancing then consider closing off areas;
  • managing outdoor queues, if necessary, to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers. This may include using outside premises for queuing where available and safe, for example some car parks. Have contingency plans in place for periods of poor weather.
Visitor management
  • introducing public information and signage that encourages visitors to take notice of instructions from venue staff — such as ‘help us to help you’ signage;
  • displaying signage information that makes visitors/members of the public aware that they should not be attempting to enter venues when they are required to self-isolate at home.
  • displaying signage confirming all visitors must wear face coverings at all times in indoor public places unless they have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering)
  • using posters and announcements to remind visitors to take individual responsibility to physically distance and to wash their hands often or to use hand sanitiser.;
  • installing hand-sanitising stations and introducing new cleaning protocols;
  • in keeping with GDPR, ensuring all visitors are made aware of the requirement on the venue and organisation to comply with the NHS Test, Trace, Protect system in relation to the collecting and retaining of personal information of visiting members of the public. Additionally making visitors aware that their personal contact information may be made available to the TTP tracing team in the event of there being a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the venue.
  • considering what alternative arrangements need to be put in place for those with sight problems who may not be able to judge physical distance or see signage at all/ very well;
  • introducing barriers or Perspex screens at visitor reception areas, payment counters and in other areas of the building where appropriate;
  • introducing contactless payment at till points, or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash;
  • limiting visitor seating, while recognising that some visitors have mobility needs and may need to rest;
  • reminding visitors who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times;
  • removing any interactive objects or placing a sign to prohibit use
  • cleaning audio guides thoroughly between users — they should be wiped down and cleaned with a wet wipe containing disinfectant. Staff handling the equipment will need to be appropriately protected;
  • removing paper marketing material and other paper resources such as colouring-in pages and pencils to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Groups and gatherings

Venues will need to be aware of and observe the different rules that may be in place as to how many people can meet, where, and for what purpose and also the rules on the ages of individuals who meet. 

Restrictions on gatherings and whether or not extended households can be formed are confirmed in each alert level from 1 to 4. Whilst these duties are imposed on the general public they are likely to impact on your booking and operating arrangements. Further information is contained in the Guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses: coronavirus.

Educational visits

The Operational guidance for schools and settings contains the latest Welsh Government guidance on educational visits.

Outdoor spaces

You should consider:

  • car parking arrangements — for example, the management of potential queues;
  • working with your local authority on the impact of queueing and car parking on the local area;
  • minimising risk at car park pay points — for example by the use of clear signage, using pay by mobile phone, and/or the use of hand sanitising stations. Greater space may be needed between cars and for pedestrians as they move to and from car parks;
  • spacing of outdoor benches / picnic tables to allow a buffer between edges of tables / benches to allow for physical distancing, and frequent cleaning of surfaces when benches / tables are vacated;
  • outdoor playgrounds are allowed to open where safety checks are in place and where COVID-19 hygiene measures are implemented. You may also wish to consider managing the number of playground users at any given time;
  • providing more waste facilities and more regular collection and also factoring in disposal of single use face coverings by members of the public and handling of that waste.
  • increasing the widths of pathways and developing one-way systems where possible.

4.4 Cleaning and hygiene arrangements

Introduce cleaning / hygiene protocols that are easily understood by all staff and contractors. There is useful guidance available on cleaning and hygiene in non-healthcare settings.

You should consider:

  • increasing cleaning at touch points, such as handrails, gates, doorknobs, light switches, door plates, lift buttons, parking meters, equipment provided to visitors, etc. and equipment that employees need to share;
  • providing hand sanitiser at the entry and exit points to the site/building and where regular, unavoidable and multiple touch points exist;
  • ensuring the availability of, and access to, handwashing facilities with automatic soap dispensers and supplies of paper towels where at all possible;
  • increasing frequency of the cleaning of work areas and surfaces, using your usual cleaning products;
  • self-service photocopiers, scanners and printers should be cleaned between users and, if possible, should be restricted to staff use to limit the number of people touching the control pad. This equipment should be cleaned regularly by staff in line with risk assessments;
  • providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection; factoring in disposal of single use face coverings by members of the public and handling of that waste;
  • installing hand sanitiser for use by staff and volunteers before they enter kitchen facilities;
  • reinforcing essential hygiene messages about frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitiser, the need to avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into your arm or into a tissue which should be binned safely;
  • restricting the sharing of communal facilities, for example, removing water fountains.

4.5 Toilet facilities

With specific regard to toilet facilities, consideration should be given to:

  • enhancing and increasing frequency of cleaning regimes;
  • introducing signage and floor markers to support physical distancing, including when queuing;
  • whether people should queue outside the toilet building rather than through the door and into it - people queueing are often in very close proximity to those washing their hands and this should be avoided;
  • cordoning off every other urinal unit;
  • introducing no-touch soap dispensers if possible;
  • introducing more regular checks of soap / paper towel dispensers, in the expectation that greater use will be made of these;
  • using signs and posters to build awareness of good hand washing technique;
  • providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms;
  • minimising the use of portable toilets;
  • increasing the frequency of cleaning of baby changing facilities.

Separate guidance has been issued for the safe management of toilets used by the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Monitoring and evaluation

You should systematically monitor and evaluate the procedures and plans that have been put in place. You should consider:

  • whether safety measures and controls to protect workers and the visiting public are working effectively;
  • how the work is being done; and
  • the behaviours of workers and other people in the workplace.

Further useful guidance is available from the British Standards Institute.

The exception is between members of the same household or between a carer and the person cared for.

Useful links

5.0 Communications

Good communication will be a critical factor in rebuilding public confidence. The COVID regulations require premises to provide information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.  In addition, this information should include any new opening times and any changes to how people can safely access their venue. It is also important to review internal and external communications frequently to ensure that they are effective and appropriate.

For internal communications, you could consider:

  • engaging with employees directly and also through trades unions to develop and agree any changes in working arrangements;
  • introducing re-induction sessions for employees and developing tool box talks (short documented talks with staff on any changes to work process);
  • providing clear and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of how and why new ways of working are being applied;
  • providing training materials on new procedures (consider how these materials are delivered, including online to maintain physical distancing between workers);
  • focusing on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty;
  • how new safety guidance will be communicated to delivery workers, contractors and other site visitors.

For visitors, service users and audiences, you could consider:

  • emphasising that visitor and staff safety is the priority;
  • communicating through social media, websites and email to help them prepare for their visit — providing information about what to expect, what health precautions and physical distancing measures have been put in place, what is open and closed, queuing, reduced capacity, and the changed visitor experience, e.g. no interactive interpretations;
  • promoting pre-booking requirements, entry systems or online free tickets or ticket purchases (including offline options for those with no internet access);
  • informing visitors of any changes to booking procedures for a clinically extremely vulnerable (formerly shielding) person, those at increased risk or those with protected characteristics (how you will assist disabled people, the elderly and pregnant women so that they can continue to access venues in a safe way, for example, avoiding the need for them to queue);
  • providing additional information to visually impaired visitors in advance of visits regarding changed access to buildings or sites and new and more complex visitor routes;
  • the use of simple, clear and accessible messaging to explain guidelines, with consideration of groups whose first language may not be Welsh or English or where alternative formats may be required.

For local communities, you could consider:

  • finding out whether your local community is apprehensive about venues or visitor attractions reopening and the associated increase in the number of people travelling to the area;
  • working closely with your local community to develop a strategy to not only inform the community of your plans to reopen, but to provide reassurance that additional precautions are being taken and vigorously monitored;
  • explaining what arrangements are in place for managing visitor numbers and behaviours and what arrangements are in place for closing again if necessary;
  • working collaboratively with other culture and heritage destinations in your area to send out coordinated communications. Ensuring that the same or similar messages are being used could provide reassurance.

Museums and art galleries

This guidance applies to museums, galleries and other visual arts venues, and any other organisation or venue operating as exhibitors and collectors. The Welsh Government recognises that museums and galleries across Wales vary significantly in size and operation and this will contribute to decisions on when it is appropriate to reopen or resume some activities.

The general principles outlined in the sections above apply to this sector.  It is worth noting that theatres and concert halls are still required to be closed, except where requested or authorised by the Welsh Ministers or a local authority; or the premises is used to broadcast without an audience or to rehearse for such a broadcast.

Larger museums may find it easier to open and are actively encouraged to support small independent organisations by sharing best practice and learning.

Planning for reopening

Museums and galleries face a variety of challenges to reopen safely for the workforce and the public. Most, if not all, will have to make significant physical and operational changes. This will change how museums and galleries provide entry and how visitors move around buildings and external grounds in order to meet the guidance on physical distancing. These changes may include limiting entry, perhaps using timed, bookable slots, and ensuring that visitors move through galleries following clearly determined routes. It may mean that some exhibition areas will need to remain closed where safe physical distancing cannot be implemented and the risk sufficiently mitigated.

Reopening will require changes to previous ways of working, and every organisation must develop specific reopening plans.

Special considerations

In addition to the list of considerations provided in sections 3 and 4, there are some specific considerations relevant to the museum and galleries sector.

Managing galleries and visitor access. Issues to consider include:

  • how your workforce can actively support visitor experiences within physical distancing guidelines;
  • planning entry welcome points so visit information is easily accessible for visitors;
  • where possible, planning workforce location points for clear sight lines and supporting visitor movement around the galleries;
  • planning for managing visitors in wet weather or if there is potential for queuing;
  • preparing galleries by removing or limiting access to manual interactives and interactive displays, and reviewing other high ‘touch point’ areas;
  • minimising or suspending public handling of collections, and continuing to assess and revise your approach as restrictions ease;
  • for museums offering audio tours, consider enhanced cleaning regimes or quarantine periods for hand-held devices, or whether it is possible to make the audio tour available to download on personal devices; if hand-held devices are used they should be thoroughly wiped down and cleaned with a wet wipe containing disinfectant;
  • can cloakroom facilities be operated safely? Decisions on closing cloakrooms should consider whether visitors carrying bags, coats, buggies and prams around the museum / gallery increases the risk of transmission;
  • taking care with cleaning regimes where there may be objects on open display;
  • if there are historic surfaces on your visitor route (e.g. floors, carpets, railings, etc.) consider the sensitivity of these surfaces. Seek conservation advice if you are considering changing your pre-lockdown cleaning routine;
  • if you have historic floors within your building, seek conservation advice to  avoid any damage that could be caused by marking physical distancing;
  • if implementing new visitor routes around your premises, consider if there may be additional wear to any historic surfaces as a result and what you can do to mitigate damage;
  • ventilation as a measure to control the spread of viruses should be considered against potential risks to collections such as increased pollution and changes to environmental conditions. Increased environmental monitoring and visual checks can mitigate potential adverse affects on exhibits from changes in ventilation;
  • guides and interpreters may cause visitors to gather in a group and undermine physical distancing measures; consider ways to address this risk and adapt as necessary;
  • exploring ways of encouraging a positive experience for visitors, so that you do not lose opportunities or the ethos of positive engagement despite the restrictions;
  • you will need to apply all of the above to any behind the scenes visitor offer.

Public programmes and activities. Issues to consider include:

  • When to reintroduce learning opportunities including school programmes, facilitated and self-led visits. This will require working closely with schools and education services and must always be in line with the Welsh Government guidelines. Museums may continue to work with schools and community groups on-line.
  • When to reintroduce events and exhibitions as the restrictions in the COVID- 19 regulations are eased. Think about your loan schedules — are they still viable? Do you need to develop alternative options? If you have items in your museum / gallery covered by the Government Indemnity Scheme, you will need to ensure you are complying with the latest guidance.
  • When to restart activities that involve larger gatherings. This will need to be assessed in line with any restrictions on larger gatherings and guidance on physical distancing. Consideration could be given to offering different experiences digitally until this is feasible.
  • When to restart venue hire and other commercial activity. In each case this would need to be assessed and comply with COVID-19 regulations and associated guidance.

Working with collections and objects

Museums and galleries will need to review how they can safely manage, move and display collections both within their own museums and between museums. These protocols should be reviewed regularly as the situation eases to allow a return to more access to objects and increased handling when it is safe to do so. There will also be a need to train staff on the new safety procedures for working with collections and archives to minimise touch transmission. Each museum should review and update their emergency preparedness plan to reflect the COVID-19 pandemic.

When handling collection items and their packaging, you will need to consider:

  • physical distancing and hand washing arrangements before and after handling collections;
  • use of disposable plastic gloves;
  • use of appropriate specialist face mask or face covering to avoid contamination when dealing with collection items;
  • removing and disposing of PPE in accordance with the organisation’s protocols;
  • ensuring that maintenance checks and enhanced cleaning are up to date for any equipment you use to work with collections;
  • when working with large collections, ensuring that you have considered physical distancing when developing manual handling protocol.
  • ventilation as a measure to control the spread of viruses should be considered against potential risks to collections such as increased pollution and changes to environmental conditions. Increased environmental monitoring and visual checks will mitigate risk to exhibits.

Where possible, workflows should be adjusted to ensure that that the number of separate individuals handling collections is kept to a minimum. Where this is not possible, a quarantine procedure should be implemented for the item / collection to minimise the risk of transmission.

Develop safe handling protocols for items that need to be handled that protect the user and the artefact, e.g. consider how increased use of hand sanitiser may impact historic surfaces, such as paper, if residues are left through handling.

The virus survives for longer on metal and hard, smooth surfaces, such as glazed ceramics and plastics, than on porous surfaces, like paper and textiles. There is a greater risk of transfer from smooth surfaces than highly textured surfaces, such as textiles, but textured surfaces are harder to clean.

Cleaning or treatment of objects should only be undertaken after seeking advice from a conservator. Consider how a quarantine protocol could help in this area. Quarantine periods will differ across a range of materials and should be kept under review and determined by the latest scientific evidence and advice relating to the virulence of the virus on surfaces. Some evidence suggests that the virus will persist longer at temperatures below room temperature and where humidity levels are low. However, in normal humidity and temperature ranges (40 – 60%RH; 16 – 22°C), a quarantine period of 72 hours is recommended.

Non-heritage surfaces in collections or other spaces that are used to work on collections can be cleaned using disinfection methods that can be well controlled, e.g. disinfectant wipes. This approach should also be adopted with non-heritage doorknobs, handrails, etc. within the same spaces. Handling equipment (e.g. trolleys) can also be cleaned in this way.

Other useful guidance on collections care factors are covered in The Institute of Conservation’s guidance ‘Waking up collections: a post-lockdown guide’.

In historic and listed buildings, follow the guidelines in Annex C for heritage surfaces such as period door fittings, bannisters and furniture.

Receiving collections, archives and donations

Museums and galleries may also have to adapt how they collect and process new material, which should include safety guidance for quarantining objects being donated and / or moved. Advice suggests a quarantine period of at least 72 hours for collections and archives received — see link provided above. In cool, dry museum and archive stores (less than 30%RH; less than 6°C) extend the quarantine period to at least one week. Materials should be clearly date marked and stored in a separate location or in sealed containers.

When receiving collections, consideration should be given to the following:

  • From organisations: COVID-19-secure protocols and risk assessment for handling and dispatching collections;
  • From individuals: it is recommended that items received from individuals should be quarantined (see above);
  • From transport companies: COVID-19-secure protocols and risk assessment for handling and dispatching collections;
  • Transport companies will only work with organisations that have COVID-19-secure risk assessments for handling and dispatching collections;
  • Photo-capture to record deliveries/collection of material;
  • Electronic exchange and signature of essential paperwork if not available digitally;
  • Disinfection of packing crates/boxes with tissue and alcohol or disinfectant wipes;
  • Disinfection of handling equipment such as trollies with disinfectant wipes;
  • Quarantine (see above);
  • Safe storage or disposal of packing material — if quarantined (see above), these materials will not require any further cleaning.

Museums receiving archives should also refer to Local archive services.

Museums holding events such as concerts or plays should also refer to Arts venues, including concert halls and theatres.

Historic buildings and historic gardens also includes guidance that organisations may find useful.

Useful links

These links are provided as useful information only, and may refer to guidance produced outside Wales. You should always consider any information contained in these links within the context of Welsh Government legislation, which must take precedence.

Historic and ancient monuments, listed buildings and historic houses

The general principles in Introduction, How to use this guidance, Guidance for reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues and Communications apply to this sector, although it is recognised that there are some specific issues to consider when planning for reopening. In particular, common to all historic buildings, ancient monuments and historic places of worship is the likelihood that the majority will enjoy some form of statutory protection – either as listed buildings or scheduled monuments.

Where physical alterations to a listed building or scheduled monument are necessary, listed building consent (LBC) or scheduled monument consent (SMC) is likely to be required. However, it may be possible to allow heritage sites to function safely in response to COVID-19 in ways that will not require consent.

The Welsh Government encourages local planning authorities, and religious denominations that are exempt from the requirement to obtain listed building consent, to take a pragmatic approach when sympathetic temporary alterations are proposed to listed buildings in response to COVID-19. We recognise the need to protect against alterations that cause permanent harm, but such temporary measures will not have the same degree of permanence as more lasting works. They will usually be easily reversible and will often be sympathetically designed so as not to affect the building’s character as one of special architectural or historic interest. This means that listed building consent may not actually be required for such temporary works. In such circumstances, we recommend that local planning authorities and exempt denominations agree the methodology for undertaking such work in order to protect against any misunderstanding. Exempt denominations should use their internal systems of control to determine whether they need formal clearance for any temporary works. We would also recommend that, where possible, local planning authorities and exempt denominations prioritise those applications and proposals that are submitted in response to COVID-19.

If you are in any doubt about the need for consent or permission, you are strongly advised to discuss the situation with the local planning authority, or with Cadw in relation to SMCs.  

Owners of conditionally exempt buildings and chattels in Wales will wish to know how their obligations to provide public access are affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. HMRC has issued a statement to confirm it understands that it may not be possible for some owners of properties or assets in the Conditional Exemption Scheme to meet all of their undertakings this year.

Planning for opening

The challenges of managing a site will vary according to the nature of the site and its operation. For example, it would normally be easier to comply with regulations in open, outdoor spaces, as opposed to indoor spaces. However, even here, consideration will need to be given to how visitor numbers are managed, and to the way visitors move through the site.

Many houses and historic places of worship open to the public have small teams of staff and rely on volunteers (or in the case of privately owned property, on family members). Many of these individuals may be older and/or may have previously been “shielding” or may be in the increased risk group, and may not feel comfortable about continuing their involvement with the site at this time.

Larger properties or those which are not also in use as private homes may find it easier to open and may be able to support small independent organisations by sharing best practice and learning.

All destinations will need to consider how best to communicate operational changes to visitors and alert them of any health protection requirements that are in place and that some facilities or elements of the experience will not be open. Where possible, destinations should take the opportunity to communicate with visitors prior to their visit and to reinforce messaging on arrival and on site (see also section 4). 

Special considerations

In many cases it will be possible to find ways in which the safe movement of staff and visitors in historic places can be achieved without compromising their safety or damaging historic fabric, so avoiding the need for listed building consent. This may mean requiring different routes around sites, the erection of temporary barriers and regular, very visible, signs or other reminders.

Historic buildings, including historic places of worship or ruined structures are more likely to have constrained spaces such as small rooms, narrow staircases and limited entrance or exit points. A particular challenge may be the number of spaces that can only be accessed using steep, narrow and uneven stairs, and often require handrails or ropes that cannot be cleaned on a regular basis.

When adapting buildings that are protected, there is a need to consider:

  • installing signage, screens and barriers in a sensitive way which does not cause damage to a historic building or an archaeological site;
  • ensuring that markings are done in a way which does not cause lasting damage to a historic building or an archaeological site;
  • avoiding attaching any signage to historic wall coverings, textiles or furnishings;
  • taking care with cleaning regimes and avoiding any changes to them without first seeking conservation advice. Fixtures and fittings such as door furniture, staircase handrails, panelling and floors are vulnerable to damage through inappropriate cleaning (such as bleach), and where they have a protective coating, such as varnish or wax, this surface may be damaged by alcohol-based sanitizers. A dilute solution of non-ionic, conservation-grade detergent in distilled water applied for at least 20 seconds then rinsed and dried immediately is recommended by Historic England for some surfaces (see guide in useful links);
  • using temporary non-damaging covers that can be put over sensitive surfaces which can then be subject to standard cleaning regimes;
  • liaising with the local planning authority or Cadw as to whether LBC or SMC is required.

1. Historic and ancient monuments

In many cases, it will be possible to find ways in which the safe movement of staff and visitors in historic and ancient monuments can be achieved without compromising their safety or damaging historic fabric or below ground archaeology — and so avoiding the need for scheduled monument or listed building consent.

Responses need to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 regulations and should be proportionate to the type of site, the likely number of visitors and the nature of the likely risks; an isolated archaeological site or remote historic structure is unlikely to need any specific signage or other measures.

When dealing with historic and ancient monuments that are protected, there is a need to consider:

  • installing signage, screens and barriers in a sensitive way which does not cause damage to a historic building or below ground archaeology;  
  • ensuring that markings are done in a way which does not cause lasting damage to a historic building or archaeological site;
  • limiting the number of people entering some narrow or small spaces by staggering entrance and exit times, especially where there is plenty of space for physically distanced queues to be created;
  • planning for managing visitors in wet weather;
  • closing off areas of the monument that can only be accessed by narrow passages or stairways — in particular those that require the use of handrails and ropes that will be challenging to keep clean.

Some of the above will require scheduled monument consent (SMC), and therefore advice from Cadw should be sought at an early stage in the planning phase.

In some cases historic monuments also host museums — such as Cardiff Castle and Caernarfon Castle — in which case there will be a need to consider the specific guidance included in Annex A.

Sites holding events such as concerts or plays should also refer to Annex G.

2. Historic houses

Opening historic houses to the public is likely to entail significant operational changes and new ways of working.

  • Arrangements for houses that are part occupied or used as private residences:  

The issues may be different for houses (such as those in the care of the National Trust) where visitors do not have access to parts of the property that are also occupied and for private houses which have traditionally allowed access to parts of the property that remain in daily use. Individual circumstances will vary, but it is likely that, particularly for some privately owned houses, reopening may not be possible or desirable for some time.

  • Arrangements for visitor access and movement around the property:

See section 3.4. This might be particularly challenging for some historic houses. The introduction of new visitor routes may result in additional wear to historic surfaces and care will be needed to avoid or mitigate damage.

Considerations:

  • Greater use of advance booking and admission by appointment, making it easier to manage visitor numbers.
  • Limiting the number of people entering some narrow or small spaces by staggering entrance and exit times, especially where there is plenty of space for physically distanced queues to be created.
  • Closing off areas of the building that can only be accessed by narrow passages or stairways — in particular those that require the use of handrails and ropes that will be challenging to keep clean.
  • Opening for large events is unlikely to be possible until a much later stage of emerging from lockdown. Guidance to local authorities, approved premises and places of worship on marriages and civil partnerships and guidance on worship, funerals and bereavement has been issued by Welsh Government. Organisations will need to check this guidance prior to agreeing to any bookings. Please also check guidance on places of worship and wedding receptions.
  • You will also need to consider how the public can safely access toilet facilities, and the provision of sufficient and appropriate hand washing facilities / hand sanitiser, maintaining physical distancing within such facilities and regular effective cleaning of such facilities (see section 3.6).
  • Factoring in signage for requirement to wear face coverings and to consider disposal of single use face coverings by members of the public and handling of that waste.

In many cases historic houses will have collections of objects and furniture that will require specific consideration - in particular handling by both employees and by visitors. For handling collections / working with objects in a historic houses context, you should refer to guidance in Annex A.

3. Historic places of worship

This section is specifically concerned with those places of worship which welcome visitors. Separate guidance is available for reopening places of worship. The major faith groups in Wales have also prepared their own guidelines.

Many places of worship are important heritage attractions due to their historical, architectural and art historical interest. They are mostly supported by a large force of volunteers who undertake essential cleaning, maintenance, repair, security administration and visitor welcome duties.

Reopening should be seen as an opportunity to engage visitors in the longer-term future of these buildings. Research shows that people have become much more conscious of the value of their local heritage during the lockdown and every opportunity should be used to build on this as we welcome people back. Notices welcoming visitors should be positive and engaging, and should explain the additional steps being taken to ensure the historic place of worship is a safe environment which has appropriate cleaning and hygiene protocols in place.

In addition to the list of considerations provided in sections 3 and 4, there are some specific considerations relevant to those who manage historic places of worship.

These include:

  • volunteering arrangements — helping volunteers feel safe and comfortable with the new arrangements, including making allowances for individuals who have been advised to shield but who choose to continue their volunteering duties;
  • the need for specific training to support staff and volunteers;
  • organisations may need to consider ways of bringing new volunteers into their teams. Perhaps there are people who are deferring their university places who need work experience; or young people who have finished their school year early; or people on furlough who would like to be able to volunteer. Such new recruits could help increase supervision at a time when many organisations will have lost much of their volunteer workforce;
  • historic places of worship often employ key-holder arrangements if visitors need to obtain a key to gain access. Arrangements for the safe handover and return of the key will need to comply with physical distancing requirements. Quarantine or cleaning regimes may also be needed to ensure there is no risk of viral transfer on the key.

If organisations also hold events such as concerts or plays they should also refer to Annex G.

Useful links

These links are being provided as useful information only, and may refer to guidance produced outside Wales. You should always consider any information contained in these links within the context of Welsh Government legislation and guidance.

Historic parks and gardens

For historic parks and gardens that are open to the public, many of the issues associated with opening will be similar to those of other organisations which manage open spaces that are used by the public for outdoor exercise and recreation. Natural Resources Wales has prepared guidance for managers of outdoor natural and cultural sites for outdoor recreation.

A number of the measures detailed in section 3 should be considered prior to opening gardens such as introducing a booking system to manage numbers and one-way systems — in particular those measures in section 3.4 associated with outdoor spaces.

Specific consideration needs to be given to any proposed physical interventions given that the majority of sites are on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and may contain scheduled and / or listed structures and features and special consent and / or planning permission may be required.  

Some specific issues to consider when opening historic gardens include:

  • creating new visitor routes and one-way systems to aid physical distancing.  Ideally these should be temporary and fully reversible, such as creating new mown paths in grassland. Note however that one-way systems cannot be introduced on existing rights of way;
  • designing routes carefully to avoid going over archaeological features or earthworks, or damaging garden planting or features;
  • if temporary visitor seating is needed next to these new routes, then these should also be placed carefully in relation to garden or archaeological features but taking account of requirements for physical distancing also;
  • monitoring the use of new routes — closing them off and creating new ones if visitor erosion becomes a problem;
  • requiring face coverings outdoors where it is not possible to maintain 2m physical distancing;
  • planning for managing visitors in wet weather, including how sheltered areas  will be managed in relation to face covering and physical distancing requirements.

Libraries

This additional guidance applies to public libraries, and could be applied to private libraries that are open to the public. The general principles in sections 1 to 4 in this document apply to this sector, although there are also some specific issues that need to be considered.

Planning for opening

The work to develop specific guidance for the library sector in Wales will be kept under review, updated and adapted to reflect the varied approach to opening libraries throughout Wales. This guidance has been developed in collaboration with library services of local authorities and trusts in order to assist libraries in the gradual resumption of library activities.

Each library service will need to adapt this guidance into specific actions depending on the local context and in consultation at a local authority level recognising that the priorities and practicalities regarding processes will differ for each library service. Individual local authorities and trusts will need to control the process of restoring services according to their capacity to manage them and should consider delivering a click and collect service in the first instance.

It is expected that restoring library services will be a phased process and planning should allow for the possibility of closing libraries again should public health and government guidance require it.

Libraries are valuable community resources particularly for those who may be disadvantaged. It is a positive step for library services to prepare and plan to reopen. However, it is also recognised that staff and public health and well-being should be the primary consideration in the provision of any service.

Library services in Wales should also take note of the guidance provided by Libraries Connected.

Special considerations

In addition to the list of considerations provided in sections 3 and 4, further guidance on library services can be found in the guidance from Libraries Connected. Here are some specific considerations relevant to public libraries.

Cleaning and hygiene arrangements
  • We recommend a quarantine period of 72 hours for physical items (books, DVDs etc.) returned to the library.
  • It is recommended that returned materials should be stored in appropriate containers, such as cardboard boxes, date marked and, where possible, stored in a separate area of the library.
  • Additional emphasis should be placed on disinfecting computers after each use. Consideration should be given to placing hand sanitiser next to PCs. It may also be necessary to move PCs to comply with physical distancing. The guidance on cleaning and hygiene arrangements given above (section 3.5) should be considered in detail. Guidance on toilet facilities has been provided earlier in this document (section 3.6) and it should also be considered in detail. It will be essential to ensure risk assessments are in place, alongside guidelines for new procedures (for staff and the public) and planning any training required.
Staffing
  • Safe staffing levels will need to be considered in light of the requirement to take all reasonable measures to ensure a distance of 2m is maintained between persons in line with the Welsh Government guidance.
  • Consider altering shift patterns to reduce the number of staff in the library.
  • Ensure that staff have the equipment and training necessary to maintain health and safety in libraries, e.g. access to face coverings, hand washing facilities.
  • Libraries should take note of the Welsh Government guidance for employers and businesses.
Access to library stock
  • Decide how long it will take to fulfil an order, and how many collection / return slots could be offered per week to ensure physical distancing and staff safety. Increasing borrowing limits should be considered.
  • Continue to promote online services to limit the number of visitors to the library building.
  • It may be necessary to rearrange furniture or equipment to ensure physical distancing measures are complied with. You should take note of guidance taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace and guidance on measures to be taken on face coverings for employers and managers of premises.
  • Areas/furniture that cannot be removed and where physical distancing would be challenging should be blocked off with caution tape or by other means.
  • Where possible, users should be encouraged to continue to use the electronic resources that libraries have offered whilst library buildings have been closed.
Mobile Library Services

Welsh Government guidance relating to working in or from a vehicle should be followed.

Information in the Libraries Connected Guidance should be noted when undertaking library delivery services.

Browsing

Prior to opening library buildings for browsing, face covering requirements and physical distancing measures, hygiene protocols and other reasonable mitigating measures must be in place.  Local authority endorsement is also an essential requirement to opening public libraries.

The following should be considered by libraries

  • Consider closing certain areas of the library, adopting a one-way system and having alternative entry and exit arrangements.
  • A maximum number of users in the Library at any one time. Alternatively only allowing users in on an appointment basis only.
  • Asking users, as a condition of entry to use a hand sanitiser.
  • Collecting of personal contact details of all library users for TTP purposes
  • Ensure face coverings are worn at all times by library users (unless they have an exemption).
  • Considerations should be given to a 15-20 minute time limit in the Library building
  • Procedures for staff monitoring and enforcing physical distancing
  • Perspex screens at points where face to face contact might occur
  • Avoiding face to face contact or mandate the wearing of face coverings where 2 metre distancing cannot be maintained
  • Cashless payment is preferable for any services requiring payment
  • Consideration of existing policies supporting vulnerable populations’ use of library services (membership policy, longer loan periods, no overdue fines).

The system introduced under lockdown for collecting pre-ordered books can remain in place according to the needs of users.

Public programmes and activities

The resumption of physical events and activities should be undertaken in line with Welsh Government guidance.  Issues to consider include:

  • Welsh Government guidance on gatherings
  • The organisers will be responsible for taking all reasonable measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus at the premises or the spread of coronavirus by those who have been at the premises.
  • Singing, chanting, shouting or the use of wind instruments are considered to be high risk activities and should generally be avoided, especially indoors, even where physical distancing and face coverings are used.
Effective communications
  • Revised guidance, opening hours and services will need to be communicated to the public. During the gradual resumption of service, it will be essential that key messages are coordinated on a national and a local authority basis to explain the reopening process, its limitations and how people will be expected to use libraries, in line with the current COVID-19 regulations and guidance in place.
  • If possible, organisations should publish an action plan detailing their plans to open safely and the steps they are taking to avoid confusion. Options to consider include: websites; social media; online catalogue; posters with rules of behaviours and hygiene.
Useful links

Local archive services

This additional guidance applies to local archive services. The general principles in sections 1 to 4 in this document apply to this sector, although it is recognised that there are some specific issues that need to be considered by those responsible for running archive services.

Planning for reopening

Local archive services hold documents and manuscripts comprising the official record of their parent local authority, locally generated public records, and archives generated by local families, individuals, businesses and institutions, which together provide a unique and invaluable source of evidence for our local and national history. These record offices have traditionally welcomed the public and professional researchers to visit and engage with the wide range of records in their care.

As with other organisations in the culture and heritage sector, local archives should be planning a gradual and phased approach to reopening, one which conforms to the COVID-19 regulations in Wales.

Local archive services fulfil an important public as well as statutory function in collecting and caring for the documentary memory of the county. Initially, priority should be given to ensuring that they are able to deal with official / legal enquiries as soon as possible, and then moving to providing a service for researchers as the next phase. Any resumption of cataloguing and conservation functions would need to be undertaken with the appropriate safeguarding measures in place. There will also be a need to train staff on new safety procedures for working with collections and archives to minimise touch transmission.

The National Archives, which has statutory oversight of public records provision in Wales and fulfils a professional leadership role for the archive sector, has developed a comprehensive guide for archive services as part of their planning for reopening. The guidance includes some useful principles and operational factors which would support the reopening of local archive services in Wales.

Special considerations

In addition to the list of considerations provided in sections 3 and 4, there are some specific considerations relevant to the provision of archive services.

Particular consideration needs to be given to:

  • while some collections are available on line, on a day-to-day basis members of staff would normally interact with and provide professional support for the public as part of the archive’s services;
  • arrangements for educational visits, events, and research services, which all require face-to-face interaction with people;
  • develop safe handling protocols for items that need to be handled that protect the user and the artefact, e.g. consider how increased use of hand sanitiser may impact historic surfaces, such as paper, if residues are left through handling;
  • receiving and managing collections and conservation work — which require staff to be handling potentially contaminated materials. For receiving and handling collections / working with objects, you should refer to guidance in Annex A.

Useful links

These links are being provided as useful information only, and may refer to guidance produced outside Wales. You should always consider any information contained in these links within the context of Welsh Government legislation, which must take precedence.

Cinemas

This additional guidance applies to all cinemas operating in Wales. In some cases cinemas are located within mixed arts venues, in which case there will be a need to consider some of the measures suggested in Arts venues, including concert halls and theatres relating to arts venues. There may also be additional requirements for cinemas located in retail centres, and organisations will need to work with others to ensure a consistent approach to public safety.

The general principles and guidance detailed in sections 1 to 4 are relevant to the sector, but it is recognised that there are a number of specific issues that need to be considered. 

Planning

Each venue will need to undertake its own assessment of how to implement and respond to the COVID-19 regulations, noting that, while social/physical distancing measures are in place, there will inevitably be a significant reduction to seating capacity.

Comprehensive guidelines have been developed by the UK Cinema Association (see links below), and cinema settings in Wales should refer to these whilst always complying with the broader regulations and guidance in Wales relating to COVID-19. The guidelines recognise the broad range of different site layouts and business models which exist in cinemas in Wales.

Each cinema should consider not just its own building but its supply chain and the local environment when reviewing its safeguarding strategy. Protocols will need to be developed at each venue for handling deliveries safely and for working with external contractors.

Special considerations

In addition to the guidance provided in Guidance for reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues, there are a number of specific considerations that apply to cinema settings.

Staff

  • flexible training will need to be put in place to bring staff up to speed on all new ways of working, and organisations will need to arrange training in a way which does not expose staff to high-risk environments.;
  • minimum safe staffing levels will need to be considered against a new backdrop of potential levels of infection and repeated isolation requirements as a result of Test, Trace, Protect activity in Wales. 

Bookings

  • managing audience numbers will be critical in supporting physical distancing and understanding potential pressure points in advance. 
  • you also need to be mindful of the rules on max numbers allowed in groups for bookings.
  • cinemas should implement ways of working which allow them to plan for physical distancing. Those who are not currently supported by automated on-line booking systems should consider implementing telephone or email bookings.
  • the COVID regulations require regulated premises to collect contact information from each person on the premises, taking reasonable measures to ensure that such contact information is correct and retain it for 21 days.
  • working differently by considering creative approaches to screening could help with commercial viability.
  • customers should be provided with information in advance of booking in relation to the measures in place and the compliance required whilst on the premises. This should include the requirement for wearing of face coverings (unless exempt); physical distancing and seating arrangements; additional hygiene arrangements.

Managing queues and moving around the building

  • you must consider the need for physical adaptations to your building, and how these adaptations could successfully support your workforce, contractors and the public. Perspex screens, one-way routes, signage for physical distancing, equipment, ways of leaving and entering the building and managing potential queues internally and externally will be important aspects of your planning.

Refreshments and catering

  • the sale of food and drink for consumption indoors should follow the relevant guidance for indoor hospitality for their refreshment and catering points. The workplace guidance and UKH reopening guidance for hospitality in Wales will also be relevant as will the guidance on the COVID-19 regulations in Wales. The regulations covers, amongst other things, permissible group numbers for bookings, compliance with the TTP system in securing personal contact information and the requirement to wear face coverings at all times except when seated to eat and drink in the designated eating/drinking areas.
  • customers may remove face coverings only when seated in the auditorium. They must wear face coverings at all other times (including when in reception areas, buying tickets and food, using toilet facilities, and when moving around in the auditorium).

Supply chains

  • cinemas should consider and implement appropriate handling protocols for deliveries and for working with any on-site contractors.

Cleaning and hygiene regimes

In addition to the measures suggested in Guidance for reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues consider:

  • Implementing increased cleaning regimes throughout the building, with a particular focus on preventing transmission via contaminated surfaces. Consider objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as counters, doorplates, handrails, ticket ATMs, cash registers, handheld devices etc. Implement enhanced cleaning for busy areas.
  • Scheduling screenings to allow staff time to undertake necessary cleaning before the next audience arrives.
  • Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards, comply with social/physical distancing requirements and ensure face coverings are worn at all times.
  • Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms. If possible, provide hand sanitiser outside and encourage the public to use it before entering the building.

Cinemas which operate as part of arts venues should also refer to Arts venues, including concert halls and theatres relating to arts venues.  

Cinemas with protected historic interiors should follow the guidance in Historic buildings and historic gardens.

Useful links

These links are being provided as useful information only, and may refer to guidance produced outside Wales. You should always consider any information contained in these links within the context of Welsh Government legislation, which must take precedence. 
 

Arts venues, including concert halls and theatres

The Welsh Government recognises that arts venues, concert halls and theatres vary significantly in nature, size and operation.

Additional guidance on Rehearsing, performing and taking part in the performing arts: guidance for a phased return has been published.

The general principles in sections 1 to 5 in this guidance apply to this sector, although it is recognised that there are some issues specific to arts venues that are considered here. 

Planning for reopening

The road back to opening  arts venues will be enormously challenging. Theatres and concert halls are still required to be closed, except where requested or authorised by the Welsh Ministers or a local authority; or the premises is used to broadcast without an audience or to rehearse for such a broadcast.

When planning for reopening, arts venues will need to be proactive about working differently. Each venue will need to undertake its own assessment of how to implement the COVID-19 regulations noting that there will inevitably be a significant reduction to seating capacity. Most, if not all, will have to make significant physical and operational changes to the way that they provide access and manage how visitors move around their buildings whilst meeting physical distancing requirements.

Many producers have already had to cancel or postpone work. None are yet in a position to confidently re book their future tours, and it is likely to take several months once restrictions are eased before touring productions or orchestras will be seen live on stage. Without a full programme of performances and full auditoriums, some venues might conclude that it is not economically viable to open. 

The timely resumption of production and performance will depend on the individual artists and freelancers who sustain the arts in Wales. Most have had 100% of their work cancelled. Some will have been forced to seek other employment outside the creative industries. Re-engaging freelancers quickly – and in sufficient numbers – could therefore present an additional challenge.

Re-introducing school programmes and visits will require working closely with schools and education services and must be in line with COVID-19 regulations. 

Special considerations

In addition to the list of considerations provided in 'Guidance for reopening of culture and heritage destinations and venues' and 'Communications', there are some specific considerations relevant to those who manage arts venues including:

Fabric of buildings:

  • many arts venues are historic listed assets or are of such a scale that they require regular and costly specialised care. Early discussions with the local planning authority on the need for listed building consent will be needed if physical changes are required to the building to accommodate social/physical distancing (see Historic buildings and historic gardens). A prolonged period of hibernation risks business critical deterioration of the fabric of buildings, the extent of which will only be realised as they reopen. There will be significant pressure on those providing equipment hire and contractor services. Theatres and concert halls are also subject to mandated safety checks. These issues must be factored into any plans for a safe reopening. 
  • it will be necessary to ensure that any work equipment that was due to be inspected during the shutdown has been inspected, and that building and facilities maintenance is up to date.

Cleaning and hygiene regimes:

  • increased cleaning regimes should be implemented throughout the building, with a particular focus on preventing transmission via contaminated surfaces. Think about objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as counters, doorplates, handrails, ticket ATMs, cash registers, handheld devices etc. Implement enhanced cleaning for busy areas. Section 4.5 above provides high level considerations for cleaning and hygiene arrangements. 
    schedule performances to allow staff time to undertake necessary cleaning before the next audience arrives.
    provide regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards, comply with social/physical distancing requirements, and ensure face coverings are worn at all times.
    provide hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms. If possible, provide hand sanitiser outside and encourage the public to use it before entering the building.
    provision of sufficient waste bins and taking account of visitors’ disposal of single use face coverings and how such waste should be handled.
    providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms. If possible, provide hand sanitiser outside and encourage the public to use it before entering the building.

Physical distancing

  • the implications of physical distancing will be most venues’ principal concern. Implementing physical distancing will affect venues’ business models. This loss will be further exacerbated by lower merchandise sales. It is accepted that there is clearly a capacity below which it will be uneconomic for venues to reopen, and it will therefore be for each venue to decide when reopening becomes commercially viable.
  • the behaviour of audiences once at a venue will need to be considered. When programming and curating an exhibition, consider how long it takes an audience member to circulate, what is the dwell time for an area, how areas of higher interest are managed and how to distribute audience circulation and viewing times.
  • you must consider the need for physical adaptations to your building, and how these adaptations could successfully safeguard your workforce, contractors and the public. Perspex screens, one way routes, signage for face coverings and physical distancing, equipment, ways of leaving and entering the building and managing potential queues internally and externally will be important aspects of your planning.
  • careful attention should be given to managing “touch” exhibits,
    • headphones in sound installations: it might be necessary to offer bluetooth enabled or downloadable touring guides. Any headphones provided for attendees would need to be thoroughly cleaned after every use with a wet wipe containing disinfectant.
    • Children’s interaction areas: consider seating areas e.g. benches, cushions etc, and/or encourage people to bring folding chairs.

Programming, production and facilities

  • matching the programme of activity to the particular requirements of each venue will need a bespoke approach. A key question will be the extent to which the risk of COVID-19 transmission risks can be removed or mitigated.
  • consider working co-operatively with other organisations and traditional competitors to mitigate the cost of producing work.
  • consider the staging of work outdoors or in alternative spaces, if this can be made to work on a financially viable basis.
  • touring events and companies will need to comply with the venue’s COVID-19 policies, and they should be made aware of these policies before their arrival at your venue.
  • consider putting in place alternative strategies that avoid the need for walk-throughs, such as CAD drawings and technical specifications with images etc
  • ensure project delivery dates have sufficient contingency factored in as supply chains are likely to face disruption.
  • consider the scale of the set or art installation, ensuring that production schedules take account of cleaning, staff orientation, and pre-event safety inspections. 

Bookings and cancellations

  • customers should be provided with information in advance of booking in relation to the measures in place and the compliance required whilst on the premises. This should include the requirement for wearing of face coverings (unless exempt); physical distancing and seating arrangements; additional hygiene arrangements.
  • you also need to be mindful of the rules on max numbers allowed in groups for bookings.
  • organisations will want to consider whether they need alternative programming arrangements in place, in the event of elements of the planned programme falling through.
  • plans and protocols will need to be in place in case events need to be cancelled or postponed. You should clarify the cancellation elements of your contracts.
  • update ticketing information with terms and conditions for show cancellation and refund policy.
  • revise venue rental contracts to consider cancellation policy. 
  • support and sustain existing links within the community. Consider how you can create accessibility for COVID-19 vulnerable groups.
  • to support the NHS Test Trace Protect system regulated premises must collect contact information from each person on the premises, take reasonable measure to ensure that such contact information is correct and retain it for 21 days.

Flexible training will need to be put in place to bring staff up to speed on all these new ways of working, and organisations will need to arrange training in a way which does not expose staff to high risk environments.

Arts venues which operate as art galleries should also refer to Museums and art galleries

Arts venues which operate as cinemas should also refer to Cinemas.

Useful links

These links are being provided as useful information only, and may refer to guidance produced outside Wales. You should always consider any information contained in these links within the context of Welsh Government legislation, which must take precedence.
    
Theatre Forum: Reopening arts centres guidelines

GOV.UK: Information for DCMS sectors in response to coronavirus.

Welsh Government: Rehearsing, performing and taking part in the performing arts: guidance for a phased return.

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