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Contents

1.0 Introduction

We are proud to be a nation that values the arts.  Large numbers of people enjoy and take part in creative activities of all sort, as professional and non‑professionals.  The arts illuminate and give life to the wide range of strategies that underpin public life. From arts and health to cultural tourism, public art to town centre re‑generation, the arts bring meaning, authenticity, and enjoyment to our everyday lives. They create and sustain jobs, enrich education services, and bring people together. The arts improve our quality of life and the nation’s well‑being. 

The public health crisis associated with the Coronavirus pandemic has, therefore, created unprecedented challenges.  All public activities have been suspended and lockdown measures have been in place since March.  This has prevented most forms of public arts activity.

The Welsh Government’s ‘Unlocking our Society and Economy’ roadmap, published on 15 May 2020, outlines a phased return to public engagement with the arts.  The roadmap indicates that some forms of activity could happen in the ‘amber’ phase of the roadmap (for example, some types of gallery‑based activity).  However, most of the activity, especially where it involves larger gatherings of people, is only likely to be able to be possible later in the ‘green’ phase.  

As the restrictions in Wales start to ease, opportunities to enjoy and take part in the arts will increase.  Freelance arts workers and arts organisations want to return to work and will be hoping to do so as soon as possible.  But progress must be carefully coordinated, with the health of our people the primary consideration. This is a process, not an event. 

At present Theatres and Concert halls are unable to open, this guidance has been developed to set out principles you should consider in order to support the return to work.

It contains high-level guidance for organisations and individuals in the performing arts in Wales who rehearse, present, or take part in arts activity.  It is additional to guidance already published by the Welsh Government to assist those managing theatres, arts centres, galleries, and other venues where the arts activity takes place.

Wales, in common with the rest of the UK, is currently experiencing a public health emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wales introduced strict stay-at-home and social distancing and business and premises closure regulations at the end of March 2020.

The Welsh Government reviews the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (as amended) (“COVID-19 regulations”) every 21 days and, on the basis of the latest available medical and scientific evidence, considers whether they need to stay in place or whether they can be eased. Guidance and a set of frequently asked questions are published to support any amendments.

Emerging successfully from lockdown will depend on finding solutions that control and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as part of a collective effort towards managing risk. As the First Minister of Wales stated in Leading Wales out of the coronavirus pandemic – a framework for recovery, relaxing the lockdown should not cause further harm.

A key part of this is the Test, Trace, Protect strategy.  This exists to enhance health surveillance in the community.  By undertaking effective and extensive contact tracing, it will support people to secure a test and to self-isolate where required to do so.

This guidance provides a framework for decision‑making rather than a set of rules to follow. You must take the initiative in considering and implementing measures that will help to protect workers, volunteers, visitors, and local communities.  Employers must ensure that employees, the self‑employed, volunteers and non-professionals are kept safe.  They must consult with workers and trade unions on appropriate working conditions.  Equally, audiences visiting your venue will also need to be aware of their responsibilities to you, your workers, and performers.  These responsibilities will need to be explained as part of your overall communications strategy.  

The Welsh Government recognises that the measures adopted by performing groups will need to be appropriate, scalable and take into consideration the nature of the planned activity. You should take into account the views of the local community in which your activity takes place. Good communication and links with local communities will be key to increasing confidence and reassuring residents that reasonable measures have been taken to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Public confidence will be key in supporting a successful and commercially viable return to business. People may feel anxious for some time yet about public gatherings, especially those that take place indoors. Protecting visitors and workers will be a clear and continuing responsibility. 

It will be important to judge the financial consequences of resuming activity, in whole or in part, because some of the adjustments that you might be obliged to make could have financial implications.

We understand how keen you are to resume activity. But it is important to work safely. We will continue to work with stakeholders to identify where additional guidance may be helpful, especially with the phased easing of the restrictions as and when they come. You can therefore expect further updates to this guidance.

This guidance is the result of a continuing conversation between the Welsh Government and the arts and culture sector. It should be considered as live guidance which will be regularly updated as circumstances change. It is a conversation that will ask searching questions about how, in the future, the sector operates and who it is for.  The guidance will limit the operations of the sector and may need to be sustained for an unspecified period of time, and may also be retracted if a further set of restrictions was indicated due to increased circulation of the virus

Despite the immediate emergency, there is an opportunity to think imaginatively and bravely about a different sort of future.  An inclusive, fair‑minded and generous society is instinctively inclusive and strives for a whole society’s right to share and participate in the fruits of its cultural riches, especially when they are largely funded by the taxpayer. 

Wales has enshrined in law its commitment to the well‑being of all its citizens.  And if we want Wales post‑Covid‑19 to be fair, prosperous and confident, improving the quality of life of people in all the country’s communities, then the cultural sector must now play its part in making the choices that will enable this to happen as activity resumes.

2.0 How to use this guidance

This guidance sets out advice on how to rehearse, train, perform and manage performers, audiences, and participants safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. It offers practical advice on how this can be applied in performing arts workplaces and environments. This guidance only relates to activities permitted by government regulations. Find more about these regulations.

Each organisation, worker, self-employed person or participant will need to translate this guidance into specific action.  What precisely you do will depend on the nature of your activity, and the size and type of your organisation, and how it is organised, operated, managed, and regulated.

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

When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, freelancers, contractors, volunteers, participants, and other people, as well as your employees. Also, ensure that nothing you are proposing to do is discriminatory or risks reinforcing inequality.  The Welsh Government has published guidance to help employers understand their responsibilities and to allow workplaces to operate as safely as possible. In addition, all workplaces and premises that are open to the public must take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.

Everyone agrees that the timing of when activity can resume will vary.  This applies equally to the reopening of rehearsal and performance spaces, which will vary be reviewed as we progress through the phases for moving out of lockdown. Due to the limitations posed by social distancing requirements, some activities will lend themselves to the resumption of business earlier than others.

In responding to this guidance, your plans should be proportionate and manageable within whatever financial constraints you are having to manage. You should review your plans regularly, and adopt a careful, phased approach to resuming activity. How you do this is up to you, but you must work within the COVID-19 regulations and clearly demonstrate a proactive approach to promoting safe working.

2.1 Definitions

This guidance applies to those who engage in activities in the performing arts including, but not limited to, performers (actors, singers, dancers, musicians, other performers), coaches, choreographers, costume designers, set builders, accompanists, directors, stage managers and other creative, technical and operational production team members. 

It also applies to the premises and venues in which performing arts activities take place (whether new or established, traditional or non‑traditional).

It applies to training, rehearsal and pre-production activities, and performances which take place with or without a live audience, wherever these activities occur.  They include opera, musical theatre, choirs, brass and silver bands, comedy and other performing ensembles in music, dance, and theatre.

We recognise within the performing arts that it is common practice to operate in your own and in third parties’ premises or venues (indoors and outdoors).  You might also hire equipment from third parties. Collaboration between groups, organisations and businesses is likely to be needed to ensure a joined‑up approach to the management of risk and to safe working. 

This guidance should be considered where it is relevant to music production, television production, places of worship, outdoor events and festivals, indoor unseated music venues, bars and restaurants including those within community halls, schools, colleges, or universities. 

2.2 Resuming activity

Resuming activity can only be possible within the context of the COVID‑19 regulations that apply at the time. These will be updated as and when the Welsh Government makes further announcements on phased re‑opening.  (This usually happens every 21 days in an update from the Welsh Government’s First Minister.)

The First Minister announced on 22 August 2020 the trialling of pilot events to test the mitigation and measures being developed in this guidance, the pilot events will provide vital feedback in the development of this guidance and the consideration of further pilots.

You should also take account of the regulations and guidance in other areas of life where these affect the way that we move forward.

These include the need to:

You will need to take account of advice given to people at increased risk and extremely vulnerable members of society who have previously been advised on medical grounds to shield because of a serious underlying health issue(s).   You will need to reflect the fact that these groups are amongst those in society who need to observe particularly strict social distancing measures.

Organisations should consider a wide range of contingencies as part of your planning.  This includes trying, wherever possible, to create flexible, safe, and workable solutions that can be paused or rapidly reversed in the event of further COVID-19 outbreaks.

2.3 Getting the basics right

It is impossible to be definitive about the exact steps you will need to take before activity can be resumed.  This reinforces the importance of detailed risk assessment. There is no single answer to the relative risks involved in every type of activity and the Welsh Government cannot approve any single approach. Responsibility, ultimately, must rest with you and your organisation. You will therefore be expected to demonstrate that you have thoroughly examined the risks and taken appropriate action to mitigate those risks. 

You can find more information on general considerations by referring to previously published advice.

You will find hyperlinked information on the following topics:

2.4 Equality in the workplace and in seeking work

The suspension of live performance and public cultural activity has been one of the most comprehensive shocks to society’s sense of well‑being, as well as to the arts economy.   However, public health crises are not equal opportunities events: the poorest, most marginalised and disabled are generally the worst affected, while the wealthy, connected and healthy are usually better able to weather the storm.

As activity resumes and opportunities for work present themselves, a key point of principle is treating everyone equally, both at work and in the pursuit of work.  No community – especially Disabled/Deaf artists – should be deemed too much of a “risk” in any risk assessment process.  Such processes must factor in disability access at all levels.

In applying this guidance, employers and organisers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.

  • It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability.
  • Employers have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.
  • Employers and organisers should be alert to the fact that those who may be seeking work/are undergoing casting and recruitment have the same rights to protection from discrimination under statute.

You will therefore usually be expected to take the following steps:

  • Understand and consider the circumstances of those with different protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.
  • Involve and communicate appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might expose them to a different degree of risk of exposure to the virus.  Consult with them about any steps you are thinking about to check that they are neither inappropriate nor challenging for them.
  • Check whether you need to put in place any measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the Equalities legislation.
  • Make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage.  Assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • Make sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.
  • Make a positive commitment to communications that enable all people to fully engage in activities, including high visibility signage, appropriate seating allocations, access to hand washing and respiratory hygiene facilities and to safe, secure toilet facilities reserved exclusively for the use of disabled people.

2.5 Symptoms of COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

After 10 days, if you still have a temperature you must continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to continue to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

If you live with others, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period.

If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for at least 10 days. All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

If you have symptoms, you should stay as far away from other members of your household as possible. It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is at risk or extremely vulnerable (shielding) with whom you share a household.

Reduce the spread of infection in your home by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser, and cover coughs and sneezes.

Following a positive test result, you will be contacted by a contact tracer on behalf of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. You will only be contacted after you have had a positive test.

If you develop symptoms again at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self or household) then you must follow the same guidance on self-isolation again. Full guidance on self-isolation.

3.0 Managing those involved in the performing arts

This section looks at the management and organisation of workers or participants and their activities, including those who operate on a mobile, peripatetic basis. When considering this advice, legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities (and particularly duties towards vulnerable people) continue to apply.

Some restrictions might have practical implications for how the different types of activity are organised, presented and experienced.  However, activities must only take place if they comply with the current advice and regulations. Most of the guidance relies on a common‑sense approach to risk and a willingness to follow guidance accurately and diligently. 

Bringing performers and audiences together has obvious risks, especially as it is very difficult to detect who might be unwell and a risk to other people. If you manage a venue, temperature checks using a no‑touch forehead thermometer on entry can be a visible sign to visitors and staff that a number of active approaches are being taken to establishing a COVID safe environment.  No performer, member of staff or audience member should attend if they exhibit any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been advised by Track, Trace and Protect that they are a contact or have recently returned from a country that requires quarantine should not be attending the venue.

In responding to the guidance and advice in this section, you should:

  • make sure that you understand the Welsh Government’s COVID‑19 regulations and guidance
  • have a plan that explains the approach that you intend to take as you resume activity
  • test the practicality of these plans through a thorough risk assessment process
  • consult the website of specialist trade and technical associations
  • communicate your plans and intentions to those who you will be working and connecting with, or sharing facilities
  • have a clear understanding of what the social and physical distancing requirements mean for the activities that you are planning
  • ensure that all necessary training is provided to those who will be leading and/or co‑ordinating activity
  • designate someone with sufficient seniority in your organisation to hold specific responsibility for ensuring that all necessary COVID-safe actions are taken.  That person should be known to all other workers as the “COVID officer”.

3.1 Safe working: the basics

Resuming activity

  • you should only return to work if you are feeling completely well with no symptoms of illness
  • temperature checks using a no‑touch forehead thermometer must be conducted every time an individual enters (and re-enters) their place of work or rehearsal

Social (physical) distancing

  • social distancing (2 metres) should be maintained as far as it is practical – plan your programme of activity with the current guidelines in mind
  • if your activity requires close physical contact (for example dance), ensure mitigating measures are in place, such as PPE.   Where PPE or other measures  cannot be used, the performance should be adapted to avoid close contact or work within the discrete clusters.
  • use the stairs, wherever practical, and avoid the lifts. If you must use a lift, agree the occupancy limit, and explain this with appropriate signs.
  • institute a one-way system to maintain social distancing when moving around the building or rehearsal space.
  • ensure that clear signage and floor markings are placed in high traffic areas
  • make sure that the needs of disabled people are properly provided for  

Cleaning regimes and hygiene

  • ensure additional cleaning of hard and regularly touched surfaces, (for example hand‑rails, door handles.
  • consider antibacterial fogging in working areas, taking into account all health and safety aspects.
  • you need to be prepared with the appropriate PPE supplies and staffing for multiple cleanings per day of common spaces
  • cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer must be sufficient to maintain a safe working environment with cleanings multiple times a day

Infection prevention in studios and rehearsal rooms

  • all physical therapy equipment must be disinfected between uses.  Performers should not congregate in physical therapy spaces and gyms
  • adequate time should be allotted for full cleaning of multiple use areas. 
  • high-touch areas need to be specifically cleaned thoroughly and regularly such as barres, elevator buttons, door handles, ballet barres, copy and fax machines, stair railings, and bathrooms/dressing room areas.

Handwashing and respiratory hygiene

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such a COVID-19, including:

  • washing your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Ensure that:

  • washrooms have both disposable hand towels and air driers available.
  • hand sanitiser stations should be placed at strategic points in the building, including entrances to the building and again to the Stage area.
  • hygiene facilities must be accessible to disabled people

3.2 Ventilation

Scientific understanding of how COVID-19 virus is transmitted is developing and improving every day. It is known that COVID-19 can be spread by droplets produced by talking, singing, coughing and other vocalisation.  Some of these droplets are relatively large and fall to the ground at a distance of 1-2 metres. Some, however, are much smaller. These aerosol particles remain in the air until blown away.  Good ventilation is therefore a pre‑requisite in any environment where people are being brought together.

Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus, so it will be important to focus on improving general ventilation, preferably through fresh air or mechanical systems.

Where possible, you can consider ways of maintaining and increasing the supply of fresh air, for example, by opening windows and doors (unless fire doors). 

According to the advice of the Health and Safety Executive, the risk of air conditioning spreading COVID-19 in the workplace is extremely low as long as there is an adequate supply of fresh air and ventilation. 

Advice on safely re-occupying buildings is available from the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

3.3 Protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been designed to help protect a person against health or safety risks and to prevent the spread of infection from person to person. 

It includes a wide range of items, including safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment.  PPE, however, is the last resort after all other measures to control risk have been taken and should not be the first and only measure.

The Welsh Government has published guidance on the Coronavirus and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  This guidance should be followed and will be updated regularly.  The Welsh Government has also published guidance on face coverings and Coronavirus. This covers how and when you should wear a face covering to protect those around you.

3.4 Casting and auditions

Conscious effort will be needed to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to reduce transmission and maintain physical distancing whilst casting and auditioning. 

This will require the following steps to be taken:

  • self-taping or online auditions to reduce numbers on-site. A live feed may help reduce numbers of creative team attending casting and auditions.
  • being aware that the sole use of self-taping or online auditions may be an obstacle to those that do not own the equipment, know how to use it, or have a good enough broadband package. A blended approach to this part of the process may be necessary to ensure that access issues are not an impediment.
  • closing waiting rooms where it is not possible to facilitate social distancing, asking people not to arrive ahead of their allocated time slot, and providing clear instruction not to congregate in other areas if waiting and applying management systems to prevent this.
  • preparing for the potential absence of performers due to sickness, for example by increasing number of understudies. Where possible these understudies should not already be in the cast to reduce the number of contact points.
  • making adjustment to meet the needs of deaf and disabled deaf workers
  • using screens to create a physical barrier between people, for example between casting team or accompanist and candidates.
  • considering how to appropriately protect any supporting creative team such as musical accompanists, for example by using screens or ensuring social distancing can be maintained.
  • reducing size of cast where possible to reduce the number of contact points, for example by reducing numbers of non-essential supernumeraries, players taking dual roles.

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

To maintain 2m physical distancing between individuals during training, rehearsals, pre‑production and performance, different strategies can be considered. 

There is no single ‘right’ answer, but your assessment of what is needed will need to cover at least the following:

  • providing visual reminders of the importance of regular hand washing, with hand sanitiser stations throughout the building.  Basic signage: Safety and physical distancing signs for employers: coronavirus.
  • providing space for performers and other attendees to be physically distanced from each other and from any audience, production team members or other individuals.  This should be addressed, wherever possible, during training, rehearsal, pre-production, performance, and any other form of performing arts activity. Guidance on: Taking all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public.
  • working outdoors might, on occasions, offer an alternative. Where this is not possible, you should ensure that all rehearsal, training and performance areas have adequate ventilation (with particular regard to indoor and covered areas).  See 3.2 above.
  • if necessary, organising and changing repertoire, rehearsals, training and performance to avoid situations where performers cannot physically distance.  In some cases, this will be challenging. Taking special action could have additional financial costs.  These are factors that will have to be considered when deciding whether it is financially viable to resume certain types of activity.
  • reducing as far as possible any time that individuals will not be able to maintain physical distancing (we recognise that this could have implications for the choice of repertoire or type of activity, especially where close physical contact is an integral part of the artform).
  • reducing group and cast sizes where possible to maintain 2m physical distancing in accordance with room capacity and any upper limit on numbers of people who may gather indoors.
  • if live performance is not possible, consider the use of technology solutions to reduce interactions and ensure adherence to social distancing rules (for example for castings, rehearsals, training and performance).
  • closing (or re-purposing) non-essential common areas such as waiting rooms unless they are part of a regular and appropriate cleaning schedule. Some small rural venues have very limited common areas, often forcing people into corridors, and there should be management systems in place to prevent congregation of people in enclosed spaces.
  • using floor tape or paint or other barrier systems to mark areas to help people maintain required social distancing regulations and move around safely where possible.

3.6 Rehearsals and performance

Reducing transmission will depend on maintaining physical distancing during rehearsal and training.  This will require the following steps to be reviewed as part of your risk assessment and decision‑making:

  • reducing cast, orchestra and other performance group sizes wherever possible to enable 2m physical distancing to be maintained.
  • maintaining social distancing wherever possible in rehearsals and performance. If close contact is absolutely essential, minimising this and using fixed teams where possible.  Where PPE cannot be used, the performance should be adapted to avoid close contact or work within the discrete clusters.
  • mapping out productions in advance of commencing in-person rehearsals and being specific about the detail of rehearsal schedules.
  • learning lines or parts in advance to avoid carrying scripts in rehearsal.
  • displaying scripts onto screens in rehearsal rooms to reduce contact requirements and to support accessibility.
  • increasing use of technology in rehearsals such as to complete read-throughs, and in performance, where feasible.
  • avoiding rehearsing and performing face-to-face wherever possible.
  • performers attending rehearsals and performance only when required for their part.
  • changing the call schedules so that only those required are on-site.
  • detailing rotating of cast when entering and exiting the stage trying to minimise the number of people working in the same area at the same time.
  • using radio, phone and video links where possible to avoid face-to-face contact.

Please consider all reasonable adjustments to enable deaf and disabled workers to participate fully.

3.7 Training

Reducing transmission will depend on maintaining 2m physical distancing whilst training. This guidance includes drama and dance schools and other training establishments in the sector where similar practices to those identified in this guidance occur. This will require the following steps to be taken:

  • avoiding any training exercises that compromise the social distancing guidelines
  • where it is essential for performers in training to breach social distancing, mitigating factors such as PPE are required, ensuring that performers are in breach of social distancing for the minimum possible time.
  • avoiding face-to-face positions where possible.
  • dividing classes and training sessions into small groups.

3.8 Shift patterns and working groups

Under certain circumstances, you might find that you need to change the way work is organised and timetabled.  The reasons for this might include the need to create distinct groups or teams and reduce the number of contacts each worker or participant has.

This will require the following steps to be reviewed as part of your risk assessment and decision‑making:

  • as far as possible, where workers or participants are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.
  • members of fixed teams observing social distancing amongst themselves, and between fixed teams.
  • identify areas where people have to directly pass things to each other and finding ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones and considering the need for cleaning of any shared equipment or objects before transfer.
  • create zones in a venue or premises to separate groups, for example those who work front of house (such as sound operators) from other production team members and performers.
  • where an individual is operating on a peripatetic basis, such as a teacher, freelance musician or choreographer, and operating across multiple groups or individuals:
    • not making visits if they have symptoms, but self-isolating and applying for a test
    • maintaining distancing requirement with each group
    • avoiding situations where distancing requirement is broken, for example teachers correcting a pupil’s posture or demonstrating partnering work in dancing
    • making efforts to reduce the number of groups interacted with and locations worked in, to reduce the number of contacts made.

3.9 Changing rooms and showers

To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers, the following steps should be reviewed as part of your risk assessment and decision‑making:

  • where shower and changing facilities are essential, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are cleaned regularly and kept clear of personal items and that social distancing can be achieved as much as possible.
  • introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day, particularly high-touch areas such as door handles, countertops etc.
  • where showers are shared, these must be cleaned more frequently, preferably after every use.
  • for additional reassurance, providing additional cleaning, cleaning materials and hand sanitiser for use at touch points.  (Special attention should be given to the needs of disabled people).
  • providing additional signposting and establishing management systems (such as one way systems) in these areas to maintain social distancing.
  • considering changes in policies to ensure limited time is taken in changing areas, through appropriate management systems, especially during the changeover of group activity to maintain social distancing.
  • permitting use of lockers provided social distancing can be maintained and that the lockers are cleaned appropriately and regularly, preferably after every use.

3.10 Set design and construction

It is impossible to anticipate the full range of places in which set design and construction is likely to happen. The ABTT works closely with the Health and Safety Executive and publishes guides to work practices in the live events industry. 

 

ABTT Cymru is the Welsh branch and people in the sector have contributed to the development of risk assessments for returning to work in places of entertainment.

Additionally, the following steps should be reviewed as part of your risk assessment and decision‑making:

  • maintaining social distancing or, where not possible, minimising close proximity with appropriate measures being taken during setup and transportation, you should consider:
    • using additional trucks for transport of equipment and large items
    • increasing the use of mechanical handling equipment such as forklifts to reduce the number of people required to lift heavy cases and scenery
  • allocating sufficient time and workspace for any off-set prep work to be carried out safely
  • investing additional time in model box and white card design
  • pre-fabricating as much set as possible off-site, only assembling and painting on site.

3.11 Sound and lighting

To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst managing sound and lighting, the following are examples of the steps that could be taken, to include:

  • using sound and lighting control rooms where provided, behind glass and monitored through speakers (in the case of sound).  Access to the room should be limited to those needing to use it and any people in the control room should maintain 2m social distancing according to the capacity of the room
  • creating a screen (e.g. an acoustically transparent gauze screen) around sound and lighting desks to create a barrier between the sound team and audience or other crew
  • where the sound desk is positioned close to audience seating, consider leaving empty the closest row of seats
  • regularly cleaning desks, for example, sound, lighting, mics and battery packs
  • allowing additional time for cleaning during ‘get-in’ and ‘get-out’

3.12 Stage management and back-stage

To reduce transmission and maintain social distancing where possible whilst managing the stage and back-stage areas, the following are examples of the steps that could be taken, including:

  • restricting workers allowed back-stage and on-stage to those who are essential
  • not permitting visitors back-stage or at stage door
  • considering how wings (if they exist in the venue) can be used to allow for the minimum possible interaction between people, for example one-way systems, dedicated wings for stage managers and dressers
  • reconfiguring back-stage to introduce one-way systems and use of green rooms and crew rooms by fixed teams
  • limiting prop handling to the minimum possible number of people and clean after every performance
  • limiting handling of key props on set to a dedicated crew member and relevant cast
  • providing markers on-stage for music groups to adhere to 2m social distancing
  • marking out a clear route onto the stage for soloists and conductors entering for a performance
  • limiting the staging of the performance to the performance or stage area only and excluding directions for the performers or crew to exit the stage area and move amongst the audience
  • considering cover responsibilities, such as Assistant Stage Manager covering the book, maintaining where possible a separation between those operating front of house and back of house.

3.13 Costumes and concert dress

Particular care will need to be taken whilst managing costumes and concert dress.  You should be aware of the following:

  • Some productions may require costume fitting where social distancing and avoidance of intimate face-to-face contact is impractical. In these instances, consider:
    • where face-to-face positioning during fittings is unavoidable, following the government guidance on working in close contact settings where relevant;using screened-off cubicles for cast to receive their costume and dress without assistance where possible. Where assistance is unavoidable (for example for quick changes in the wings), where possible avoid face-to-face positioning during fittings
    • using fixed teams as outlined in section 3, and only where essential and unavoidable. It is unlikely that this fixed team approach will be possible in non-professional environments or where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously.
  • You should reduce the risk of cross-contamination where possible by:
    • sanitising and ventilating changing cubicles between use
    • separating individual cast members’ costumes in plastic bags
    • hanging cast members’ own clothes inside a clean plastic cover
    • laundering costumes between each use and covering individually in plastic covers after cleaning;
    • preventing any sharing of items of costume.
  • avoid sharing equipment, for example maintaining a dedicated sewing machine for one user and cleaning it after use.
  • complete costume fittings as far as possible during prep or off-site to avoid people congregating back-stage.
  • reduce the number of quick changes or increasing time between changes.
  • Musicians arriving at a performance venue or premises in the clothes they will wear for the performance.

3.14 Hair and make-up

Some productions may require hair and make-up where social distancing and avoidance of intimate face-to-face contact is impractical.  Welsh Government guidance for commercial hairdressers should be followed as far as relevant.  In these instances:

  • ask performers to do their own hair and make-up where appropriate. Request cast and supporting artists remove their own make-up where possible
  • where it is not possible for someone to do their own hair or makeup, following the government guidance on working in close contact settings, where relevant
  • using fixed teams as outlined in section 3. It is unlikely that this fixed team approach will be possible in non-professional environments or where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously
  • positioning hair and make-up stations to allow appropriate 2m social distancing or using screens between stations.
  • limiting the time spent in a hair and make-up chair whenever possible
  • allowing extra time for processes to limit cross-contamination risk, for example:
    • allocating own makeup kit, brushes, hair products and equipment to each cast member, to be sterilised each day and only used on them
    • supplying pins, disposable brushes for lips and glues where possible
  • the fitting of radio mics should be managed under the same conditions and guidance as for overall Hair and Make-Up
  • increasing equipment and surface hygiene. For example, use airborne sanitising sprays, maintain minimum equipment, sterilise and disinfect equipment and surfaces after each application, use disposable brushes and applicators.

3.15 Managing broadcast performance without a live audience

The trade union Bectu has produced useful guidance on teams working together on film and TV production: Film & TV recovery plan

The British Film Commission have published guidance on Working safely during COVID-19 in film and high-end TV drama production.

Further broadcast guidance, including guidance relating to filming in close cohorts has been developed by industry: pact production guidance.

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

All workplaces and premises open to the public must take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.  It is vitally important to maintain social distancing as far as possible between front of house and back of house teams during live performances, and between performers, crew members and audience members before, during and after performances.

You should:

  • create front of house and back of house zones with people operating exclusively within each zone, where possible.
  • ensure that members of fixed teams are particularly careful to maintain social distancing when interacting with audience members and others front of house and minimise time spent doing so.
  • identify any roles that typically operate both front of house and back of house, and minimising these where possible.
  • identify any roles that interact with audience and manage transmission risk according to the reasonable measures guidance.
  • minimise interaction of back of house workers with the audience.
  • recognise where Stage Managers are placed - they are front of house during tech rehearsals and would traditionally be back of house during performance.  The additional marking out of safe distancing spaces should be considered.

3.17 Travel

Try to avoid non-essential travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.  You can do this by:

  • minimising non-essential travel consider remote options first.
  • minimising the number of people travelling together in any one vehicle, using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation when possible and avoiding sitting face-to-face.
  • cleaning shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.
  • where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally log the stay and make sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines
  • Welsh Government guidance on working from vehicles is available for drivers and delivery workers, as is travel guidance for both operators and individuals.

3.18 Touring

The extent and range of potential contacts makes Touring activity a high‑level risk.  Careful planning is required to balance levels of risk appropriately between the touring company and the promoter (or venue) presenting their work.

It also means that a high level of rigour will be required to protect cast and crew when they are on tour.

  • Promoter and producer have an equal responsibility for ensuring a COVID-safe environment.  As a minimum, they must: 
  • share risk assessment to any additional actions that might be needed  
  • agree in advance the allocation of any additional costs due to COVID‑19
  • Cast and crew should behave as a social distancing work group, avoiding as much as possible contact outside the immediate group, whilst maintaining social distancing within the group.
  • Vehicles and touring equipment should be cleaned regularly
  • cast and crew should undertake daily temperature checks using a no‑touch forehead thermometer
    • Where cast and crew are required to stay away from their home, centrally log the stay – ensure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.
  • cross-border touring will have implications as there are different measures in place within the UK.  Touring companies must ensure that they are familiar with the specific regulations operating in any country or region into which they are travelling
  • you should be sensitive to the wishes of those living within the communities that you are planning to visit.  They might not welcome visitors until they can be more certain that it is safe for people to travel more widely from place to place review contract arrangements for those involved in touring. For example, UK Theatre and Equity negotiated new contract arrangements including:
    • fixing pay at 2019/20 rates until April 2022.
    • clauses allowing managers to vary commencement dates of tours, including postponing a show’s start date by no more than 25% of the total contract length.
    • designating up to one third of the total number of weeks as ‘weeks out’, meaning four months for a year-long contract could be unpaid if declared from the start.
    • new cancellation policies, including no pay due where more than four weeks’ notice is given for cancelling prior to opening night.
    • specific clauses around force majeure, where performers will not be entitled to pay for performances affected.
    • allowing a third performance to be added to an 8, 9 or 10-show week, provided break provisions are observed.

UK Theatre / Equity Performers information

3.19 Singing and playing wind and brass instruments

Singing and playing wind and brass instruments, especially in groups, is considered a higher risk activity. This is because of the potential for aerosol production and the absence at the moment of authoritative scientific analysis to assess this specific risk.

The evidence is being developed rapidly. This is, therefore, the initial version of the recommended guidance.  Further guidance will be issued when there is sufficient scientific evidence to support the lifting of restrictions.

The following section sets out the additional actions that you can take to mitigate risk.  This is appropriate to the initial phase of returning to singing and playing wind and brass instruments.

You should:

  • limit singing or playing in groups or in front of audiences:
  • limit singing or playing in groups to group sizes consistent with the appropriate national government advice on social distancing in one discrete space wherever possible based on the country the performance is taking place in
  • only consider increasing group numbers if a comprehensive risk assessment has been conducted. This might include, but is not limited to:
    • the results of further scientific research currently being conducted;
    • the size of the space;
    • the ventilation levels within the space;
    • the positioning of singers within the space;
    • the effectiveness of any booths, barriers or screens in use;
    • the use of fixed teams to reduce contacts.
  • avoid excess exposure of audiences, crew and other performers by using alternative programmes, technology or re-orchestrating for fewer voices as the first priority.
  • observe social distancing between each singer, and between singers and any other people such as conductors, other musicians, audiences or accompanists.  Singer or singers should be treated as all working within a team of named performers who share the stage. They would be treated as contacts should a member of the team became a case.
  • encourage special care in cleaning spit or condensation from instruments to prevent the spread of aerosol droplets
  • operate outdoors, if it is possible for you to do so  
  • if singing or playing indoors, limiting the numbers in line with current guidance to account for the quality of the ventilation of the space and the ability to observe physical distancing.
  • for singers and instrumentalists working with other individuals, positioning side-to-side or back‑to‑back and avoiding singing face-to-face even when following the required distance.
  • if it is not possible to maintain recommended physical distancing whilst singing, using one or multiple fixed teams (comprising a constant membership) to manage risk of transmission and considering:
    • wherever possible, limiting the number of singers and performers in any fixed team to 6. Up to 6 singers may therefore belong to a larger fixed team that includes other instrumentalists;
    • ensure that fixed teams socially distance from the audience
  • where limiting fixed team sizes to 6 means professional work cannot resume (for example, a typical musical theatre cast), considering a larger fixed team only if a comprehensive risk mitigation plan has been put in place and social distancing can be achieved.
  • This might include, but is not limited to:
    • reducing the number of singers and instrumentalists in the fixed team as much as possible, (It is unlikely that this fixed team approach will be possible where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously);
    • conducting rehearsals and training in smaller fixed teams wherever possible;
    • communicating clearly the maximum number of people, consistent with social distancing guidelines, taking into account ventilation and room size, allowed to engage as a fixed team at any one time;
    • screening of anyone in a fixed team prior to entry into venues, which may include, but not be limited to, a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire;
    • determining what level of monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms is required to achieve as reasonable a level of risk mitigation as possible.
    • ensuring there is a clear policy in place for managing a COVID-19 positive individual, and abiding by Welsh Government self-isolation, Test, Trace, Protect guidelines and reporting requirements;
    • appointing an existing member of staff or of the organisation as a COVID-19 ‘officer’ who will be responsible for oversight of fixed teams, including the risk assessment and ensuring the appropriate mitigations are in place.
  • within the fixed team, positioning people side-to-side or back-to-back and avoiding singing or performing face-to-face wherever possible;
  • all members of a fixed team self-isolating if one member displays symptoms of COVID-19;
  • reducing the number of singers or instrumentalists in a cast, choir or ensemble if needed to meet these guidelines.
  • consider using booths, barriers or screens if possible between individual singers who are not part of a fixed team, between fixed teams of singers and others, and between performers and any audience, noting that:
    • only some types of booth, barrier or screen will be effective enough to be viable for use in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained and some construction material will be more suitable barrier that others e.g. more robust, more easily cleaned.;
    • comprehensive risk assessments will be needed whenever using booths, barriers or screens to ensure that transmission risk is appropriately contained and that other health and safety risks such as noise exposure are managed, particularly when using booths, barriers or screens in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • question each performer to make sure that no-one is participating if they are suffering with symptoms of COVID-19 or when advised to self-isolate.
  • complete a specific risk assessment if performing in social settings such as bars or restaurants .

3.20 Playing music (excluding singing, wind, and brass)

To minimise the risk of transmission while playing in music groups (excluding singing, wind and brass) you should:

  • observe 2m physical distancing at all times whilst playing.
  • where playing as a group, follow the guidelines on social meeting and the numbers of non‑household members who may meet as a group.
  • where social distancing is not possible, use fixed teams positioned physically distanced from any other fixed team or anyone else.  Fixed teams also need to adhere to social distancing.
  • use back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • play outdoors wherever possible whilst still observing social distancing.
  • if playing indoors, limiting the numbers to account for ventilation of the space, capacity of the room allowing for the ability to social distance and the cap on numbers of people who may meet indoors.
  • consider using screens or barriers in addition to social distancing.

3.21 Orchestra pits and band areas

Orchestra pits and band areas are often small and tight spaces, with musicians sometimes being required to sit in environments where social distancing may be difficult. Particular attention needs to be paid to risk management in these areas.

Actions that you could take might include:

  • considering reducing the number of musicians using the orchestra pit or band area, for example by moving them to other locations within the performance space to enable 2m social distancing to be possible.
  • considering the use of mobile ventilation units if airflow is a problem
  • marking up the orchestra pit or band area so that all musicians are clear about their spacing and social distancing (ensuring the distance required for singing and wind and brass instruments).
  • putting in place additional precautions for wind and brass instruments and singers as mentioned in this guidance.
  • positioning musicians side-by-side or back-to-back where feasible and avoiding face-to-face.
  • considering using screens or barriers, especially where musicians are facing each other, whilst taking account of health and safety requirements regarding noise exposure.  
  • maintaining the appropriate distance between players in the orchestra pit or band area and anyone on stage.
  • forming fixed teams of regular musicians as permitted by this guidance.

3.22 Teaching music

If you are a private tutor and normally offer provision in your own home, or another home, or in a non-domestic setting there are a number of things that you need to consider before restarting your work.

 It is important that if you use a non-domestic setting:

  • if you are based in premises which have been closed for several weeks that you have confirmed with the owner that all health and safety compliance checks have been renewed. If you are the owner.

It is important that, prior to reopening all the usual checks are undertaken to make the building is safe. If buildings have been closed or had reduced occupancy during the COVID-19 outbreak, 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.

Drinking Water Inspectorate’s guidance on bringing buildings back into use after a period of disuse may be helpful. The guidance covers a range of quality issues that should be considered the guidance is available on the DWIs general web page.

Natural ventilation via windows or vents should be used as far as possible. Where centralised or mechanical ventilation is present, recirculatory systems should be adjusted to full fresh air, if this is not possible systems should be operated as normal. Where ventilation units have filters present ensure enhanced precautions are taken when changing filters.

The Musicians Union has produced guidance that you might find useful.

3.23 Participatory arts activities

Arts participation refers to people taking an active role; doing, making and creating.  This is different to attendance which is the relatively passive enjoyment of activities designed and delivered by others.  Participation involves the creation of an outcome by the participant themselves in a first‑hand experience of a form of arts practice. Generally, the individual will be involved in an act of creativity, often guided by a practitioner artist or performer, but requiring creative input by the participant.

Such projects can take place in a variety of places from traditional arts venues to health and social care settings.  As such, you should follow the same artform or place-based guidance that would apply to other types of activity.

Some participatory projects work with highly vulnerable people.  Where this is happening in a healthcare setting, you must follow the policies and protocols issued by the relevant Health Board and Welsh Government 

If you are an artist or an organisation leading participatory arts activity you should:

  • ensure that your space/building is COVID‑prepared. A clear and thorough risk assessment should be undertaken before participants return to ensure that the spaces meet appropriate regulation and safety standards.
  • ensure that any staff, worker or practitioners have received the risk assessment beforehand and understand the content. You might want to consider a COVID staff manual and training session for staff underlying regulations and tutor responsibilities. An organisation issuing guidelines to staff and contracted artists needs to ensure that they are completely prepared and equipped to lead sessions
  • require session leaders to ensure that all equipment is thoroughly cleaned between each session including props, sound equipment and audio headsets. Props should not be shared between participants without being cleaned first
  • consider the financial implications of restarting sessions.  It is important that everyone returns to work as soon as it is safe to do so, but individuals and organisations should do so in the full knowledge of what extra costs might apply for hiring more staff, running additional sessions with small groups, purchasing cleaning equipment, etc

Many of the issues affecting Participatory Arts are similar to those for Community Dance.  You should therefore refer to read this section alongside the guidance below in section 3.24.

3.24 Community dance

Certain physical forms of performance present particular challenges.  Community Dance is primarily participatory and is largely dependent on physical interaction, often involving close proximity, and physical contact through partner and group dancing. The impact of Covid‑19 and social distancing will require community dance leaders and practitioners having to adapt their practice to find different ways to maintain and manage contact.

The overall size of your group will ultimately depend on your space. The decision must be made with the physical distancing regulations in mind and maximum numbers of people legally allowed to meet. You might need to consider the financial implications of holding extra sessions with smaller groups.

Community dance groups (working in their own space)

Community dance groups comprise varied sizes of organisation and work in a wide range of settings.  Many groups have their own studios and venues.  However, dance practitioners are often invited into other settings (such as community halls, schools and care settings) or operate in hired venues.

You should:

  • ensure that your space/building is COVID‑prepared. A clear and thorough risk assessment should be undertaken before participants come back to class to ensure that the spaces meet appropriate regulation and safety standards.  Organisers should be aware of legal caps on numbers of people who may attend indoor classes and take into account the capacity of a room to allow 2m social distancing between participants (including tutors, helpers etc).  The Welsh Government guidance for sport recreation and leisure venues may be useful.
  • ensure that all members of staff have received the risk assessment beforehand and understand the content. You might want to consider a COVID staff manual and training session for staff underlying regulations and tutor responsibilities. An organisation issuing guidelines to staff and contracted artists needs to ensure that they are completely prepared and equipped to lead sessions
  • remember that sessions and rehearsals could result in participants breathing harder and perspiring. We know that exhaled droplets are a transmitter of viruses. This needs to be taken into consideration with session planning, particularly for dance sessions. The temperature of spaces will be an important consideration. Well‑ventilated spaces are advised, but this could prove a problem to the more vulnerable. Fans that circulate air must not be used
  • although outdoor working may be acceptable during the summer, general guidelines need to be considered with regards to this such as noise levels, how working outdoors may require the facilitator and participants to raise their voices more, safety of participants and the wider public, etc
  • require session leaders must ensure that all equipment is thoroughly cleaned between each session including props and sound equipment. Props should not be shared between participants without being cleaned first

Community dance groups (hiring space)

You should:

  • ensure that every space is risk assessed separately and to check that space hired is able to comply with regulations.  Spaces should only be used if they can meet every regulation.
  • if you hire space, talk to hire managers for clear guidelines regarding their procedures for following COVID regulations.  You and the venue should share risk assessments.  For instance, the venue may require records relating to the Test, Trace, Protect scheme in which case you will need to put plans in place to comply with this.  You will need to comply with any COVID-19 secure management systems the venue has in place, particularly in relation to room size, maximum capacity allowing for 2m social distancing and legal restrictions on numbers of people allowed to attend.
  • ensure that all members of staff have received the risk assessment beforehand and understand the content. You might want to consider a COVID staff manual and training session for staff undertaking regulations and tutor responsibilities. An organisation issuing guidelines to staff and contracted artists needs to ensure that they are completely prepared and equipped to lead sessions

Operational issues: making community dance happen

Regardless of whether a group is using its own or other’s premises, the following considerations would apply:

  • artists and organisations need to consider the financial implications of restarting sessions – extra costs for hiring more staff, running additional sessions with small groups, purchasing cleaning equipment, etc
  • many organisations work with groups of large numbers. Consideration must be given to practical and financial costs of cutting group sizes to accommodate social distancing in relation to room sizes and legal restrictions on maximum numbers.
  • all professionals should ensure that their Insurance Companies are aware and informed of all plans. Insurance will require you to follow all governmental procedures
  • consider how the public arrive and leave the building. Where possible, map out a one‑way system and use different doors for entering and leaving the space
  • Congregating in changing rooms. waiting rooms, foyers etc should be completely avoided.
  • identify where, on arrival to sessions, participants leave their belongings so that nothing comes into contact with anybody else. Participants should be asked to remove their shoes before entering the space. Arrival times to sessions should be actively managed to avoid everyone arriving at the same time
  • ensure a clear plan regarding use of toilets, particularly for children’s’ groups – the journey to the toilet should not impact on social distancing and strict hand washing and respiratory hygiene should be maintained. A designated ‘responsible adult’ could be identified to support this
  • ensure that participants maintain distance, mark out performance areas for each individual on the floor that also includes one way pathways for people who need to arrive/leave their area
  • allow sufficient time between events.  Many groups have traditionally run back‑to‑back evening sessions with a 5 minute turn around between each session. More time will be needed to enable participants to leave and arrive safely and undertake cleaning between each session. An extra 30 minutes is likely to be needed between sessions and the practical and financial implications of this will need to be considered
  • many organisations hold registration and payment processes at the start of each session. Where possible, avoid handling cash and create a system for people to register and pay online.
  • consider whether sessions might need an extra member of staff/adult volunteer to support the tutor in maintaining guidelines. Groups might want to consider employing/appointing a ‘COVID Manager’.  Additional members of staff will need to be factored into any maximum number of people set in legislation or allowable in a particular room.

Working with participants

In addition to the guidelines mentioned above regarding the use of dance spaces, the following should be considered with regard to resuming face to face delivery with dancers of all ages abilities and dance styles:

  • only if sessions can be safe, distanced and accessible for all participants should they resume
  • consider whether sessions might need an extra member of staff/adult volunteer to support the tutor in maintaining guidelines. Groups might want to consider employing/appointing a ‘COVID Manager’.  Additional members of staff will need to be factored into any maximum number of people set in legislation or allowable in a particular room.
  • artists, groups and organisations may want to consider consulting with their groups and communities about restarting sessions. Additionally, a statement of preparation issued to your communities might raise confidence in people re-attending
  • participants data might be required to be used for the Test, Trace, Protect system. It is important to update GDPR policies so that participants know this and are aware that it may be necessary to pass information on to the scheme.
  • you should plan your sessions to avoid physical contact between participants
  • depending on the exertion and energy required in your session, it might be necessary to consider marking floor spaces that are larger than 2 metres apart
  • the volume of music should be at a level that does not require the tutor to raise their voices in order to avoid projecting aerosol droplets. The use of microphones could be considered
  • props should not be shared between participants. All props should be thoroughly cleaned at the start and end of each session. You might want to consider avoiding the use of fabric props which are more difficult to clean between sessions unless they can be laundered.
  • before sessions resume, consider asking your participants (or their parents/carers in the case of children’s groups) to agree to a ‘disclaimer;’ that they understand that they also have a responsibility to adhere to all COVID-secure guidelines  and instructions within class and agree to not attend sessions if they have symptoms, no matter how mild have a duty to refuse entrance.  However, it must also be kept in mind that children might have a difficulty in understanding and doing what is required of them.  They may require regular reminders of the rules, which will need to be presented in age-appropriate terms.
  • ensure your participants know exactly what to expect when they return to sessions including hand washing and respiratory hygiene procedures, entering and leaving the space, how the space will be marked out, toilet procedures and how sessions will be run. Ensure that participants are aware of the Test, Trace, Protect procedures
  • ensure that participants only bring what is necessary into the space
  • ensure participants wear plenty of layers to work safely in spaces that might need to be well ventilated

Working with vulnerable people

A lot of participatory arts/community dance work involves working with vulnerable people including children, older people and disabled people. It is essential that any COVID regulations put in place do not impact upon organisations’ policies for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults or create matters of inequality or inaccessibility.  It also should be borne in mind that some groups of people are at increased risk of serious illness if they come into contact with the virus.

The following additional issues would also apply:

  • only resume sessions if they can be safe, socially distanced and accessible for all participants
  • equality and Accessibility must remain a priority - all guidelines must be considered and planned for with every participant in mind. This is also true for Child and Vulnerable Safety and GDPR regulations. Work with people with disabilities where close and tactile contact has been essential needs to be carefully reworked to ensure safe working without losing the experience
  • consider whether sessions might need carers to assist attendees or an extra member of staff/adult volunteer to support the tutor in maintaining guidelines. Groups might want to consider employing/appointing a ‘COVID manager’ additional members of staff and carers will need to be factored into any maximum number of people set in legislation or allowable in a particular room.
  • artists, groups and organisations may want to consider consulting with their groups and communities about restarting sessions. Additionally, a statement of preparation issued to your communities might raise confidence in people re-attending
  • participants data might be required to be used for the Test, Trace, Protect system. It is important to update GDPR policies so that participants know this and are aware that it may be necessary to pass information on to the scheme.
  • risk assessments should be made readily available to partners, venue managers and participants if requested
  • session leaders must ensure that all equipment is thoroughly cleaned between each session including props and sound equipment. Props should not be shared between participants without being cleaned before and after use.

3.25 Arts and health projects

Arts and health projects can take place in a variety of places from traditional arts venues to health and social care settings.  As such, you should follow the same artform or place-based guidance that would apply to other types of participatory activity.

The overall size of your group will ultimately depend on your space. The decision must be made with the physical distancing regulations in mind and maximum numbers of people legally allowed to meet. You might need to consider the financial implications of holding extra sessions with smaller groups.

Some projects work with highly vulnerable people.  Where this is happening in a health or care setting, you must follow the policies and protocols issued by the relevant Health Board, the venue and the Welsh Government. 

3.26 Physical theatre, circus and outdoor events

Physical theatre/circus

The overall size of your group will ultimately depend on your space. The decision must be made with the physical distancing regulations in mind and maximum numbers of people legally allowed to meet. You might need to consider the financial implications of holding extra sessions with smaller groups.

Many of the strategies outlined in this guidance for maintaining safe working apply equally to physical theatre and circus activities. Risk assessment is especially important.  The National Association of Street Artists UK: risk assessment.

Circuses share certain characteristics that are particular to the artform.  For example, most have their own bespoke outdoor venues; and most companies travelling and staying in their own vehicles effectively create their own physical distancing work group. 

A key issue is the careful handling of visitors, especially at the beginning and end of shows.  You should make sure that visitors have pre‑booked tickets wherever possible.  You should also ensure the following:

  • advise visitors to check your website before leaving home for the latest event information, arriving in plenty of time to manage physically safe entry to the venue
  • introduced social distancing within queues/ toilets/food stalls
  • advise visitors that there might be long queues for toilets due to enhance cleaning, ensuring that you have enhanced cleaning regimes in place between uses.(you should make sure that there are accessible toilets specifically reserved for disabled people)
  • are aware that you have installed hygiene screens at food stalls and have introduced enhanced cleaning measures to disinfect high-frequency touch-points such as countertops, handrails etc.
  • are aware you will deep clean between shows. Hand sanitiser stations will be available in all areas
  • are aware that staff will use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as appropriate to protect themselves and visitors

Outdoor events

If arranging indoor and outdoor events, care should be taken to ensure that people can continue to take appropriate action to physically distance Please refer to the current guidance on gatherings when arranging events, taking account of the maximum number of people legally allowed to meet  

Individual businesses or venues should consider the cumulative impact of many venues re-opening in a small area. This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and apply additional mitigations.

These could include:

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

Busking

Busking is a popular form of outdoor activity which can take many forms, from musicians to jugglers, magicians to acrobats.  Much of the general guidance set out here will be applicable to busking. However, there are some specific points relating to the management of crowds and donations that are relevant. 

“Keep Streets Live” has published some guidance on this

4.0 Managing audiences and performances

It is important to minimise transmission and maintain social distancing before, during and after live performances

In responding to the guidance and advice in this section, you should:

  • ensure that the size of audience, the arrangements and performances staged are consistent with ensuring safe distancing – risk assessments should specifically consider the maximum capacity for a given performance when the reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus and physical distancing requirements are factored in and the ability to manage audience behaviour
  • reduce premises or venue capacity and limiting ticket sales to a volume which ensures 2m physical distancing can be maintained at all times.  Free, open, un‑ticketed and unfenced performances or events will need to demonstrate a reasonable approach to control numbers if too many people begin to arrive and that appropriate social distancing measures are in place
  • manage performance scheduling so that audiences for different performances are not using the premises or venue at the same time in a way that compromises adherence to social distancing, and to allow for adequate cleaning.
  • make sure risk assessments carefully consider worker safety, especially of those working closely with a large number of members of the public or audience
  • manage the risk of alcohol impairing social distancing measures through, where needed, controls on the purchase or consumption of alcohol
  • consider where crowding could take place such as at points of ingress and egress, car parking, handwashing and toilet facilities, waiting areas, bars and restaurants and areas in proximity to performance area and take appropriate measures to manage the physical distancing and movement of people
  • consult with relevant authorities and specialist advice to best evaluate impact, develop mitigating strategies and coordinate relevant external agencies if required.

4.1 Ticketing and payments

When managing ticketing and payments, ticket sales should be limited to a volume which allows for 2m social distancing to be achieved in seating/standing areas as appropriate. This applies in auditoria, other parts of the premises or venue, or outdoor events.

The steps that will usually be needed include:

  • whilst Rehearsing, Performing and Taking Part in the Performing Arts are not considered high risk, it is recommended that providers should collect contact information of all audience members who attend the premises as part of the Test, Trace and Protect strategy.
  • where possible, encouraging guests to purchase tickets online and to use e-ticketing. Where this is not the case, encouraging contactless payment.
  • allowing for contactless payment and other technology solutions on all purchases made in the premises or venue.
  • frequent cleaning of payment points/ticketing equipment that are touched regularly and ensure a constant supply of hot water and soap (via automatic soap dispensers if possible) are available to meet COVID-19 hand hygiene requirements. Also supplies of hand sanitiser where appropriate – e.g. entrance, exit points and payment points etc.
  • maintaining social distancing as far as possible when checking tickets and managing entrance points to prevent congregation in doorways etc.
  • offer a refund or alternative future event ticket arrangements for individuals who cannot attend due to symptoms / self-isolation as contact or quarantine requires that individuals stay away from the performance rather than attending.

4.2 Cloakrooms

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

  • closing cloakrooms wherever possible given the challenges in operating them safely.
  • cleaning them very frequently.
  • considering using no contact procedures where applicable, such as lockers.  However, lockers will need to be cleaned thoroughly after each use.

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

Risk assessment of the preparation, handling, purchase and consumption of all food and drink, and other retail purchases such as programmes and merchandise should be undertaken to identify the need for any necessary changes to procedures.

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

Additional steps that you might take could include:

  • removing “pick and mix” or self-service food and drink facilities to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • using screens to create a physical barrier between workers and customers at concessions points.
  • considering adopting seat service at intervals in order to reduce pinch points at bars.
  • considering providing programmes and other performance materials for sale online only.

Useful guidance is contained in the COVID -19 guidance.

4.4 Entrances, exits and managing the flow of people

To maintain social distancing when people move around the premises or venue during performances, the following steps that will usually be needed:

  • limiting the number of entrances and exits and managing these to prevent congregation of people
  • adapting performance scheduling to support social distancing and appropriate cleaning regimes. For example, scheduling sufficient time between performances to reduce the possibility of different audiences coming into close proximity and to allow time for cleaning.
  • using space outside the premises or venue for queuing where available and safe to do so. Outside queues should be managed to make sure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or create additional security risks, for example by introducing physically distanced queuing systems, having staff direct visitors or audience, and protecting queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or by putting up barriers.
  • working with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, for example queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks.
  • reducing instances where people might be required to queue. For example, at
    • entrances and exits to the building;
    • escalators, stairs and lifts;
    • ticket and concessions kiosks and ticket validation points;
    • entrances and exits to auditoria; and
    • toilets and washrooms.
  • where possible, designating staff to manage queues and regulate guest access between areas.
  • ensuring that you have agreed appropriate evacuation procedures and muster points in the event of an emergency
  • encouraging visitors to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises or venue.
  • using queue management and marking out one-way flow systems through the premises or venue to reduce contact points. For example, introduce one-way systems through the common areas, so that guests are not required to pass each other when entering and exiting these spaces.
  • helping visitors maintain social distancing by placing clearly visible markers along the floor or walls, advising on appropriate 2m spacing.
  • ensuring any changes to entry, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled visitors. For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled customers.’
  • considering the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.
  • extra stewarding/marshalling may be needed at key pinch points and care should be taken to remove any barriers at exits that might cause crowding. This should be considered as part of the event’s crowd management plan, in consultation with those responsible for managing security and marshalling etc.
  • management of crowd density points, such as where people stop to watch displays, must be considered as part of this planning to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
  • limiting the potential for guest contact with performers and support staff by, for example:
    • using theatre security to keep stage door areas clear before and after a performance to allow performers and other workers to enter and exit safely;
    • not permitting visitors backstage;
    • not permitting autograph signing or photographs with performers.

4.5 Seating arrangements and use of common areas (including welfare facilities)

Each auditorium or performance premises or venue should be managed to ensure the maintenance of social distancing.

Key principles to follow for seating include:

  • audiences should be seated as individuals or groups from the same household or extended household;
  • these individuals and groups should maintain 2m social distancing between each other;
  • common areas will need to be supervised to ensure social distancing is being maintained
  • seating and space for those requiring disabled seating or wheelchair space should be considered within the social distancing arrangements with due regard to accessibility responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.  

Additional steps that will usually be needed include:

  • Providing seating in a way which ensures social distancing between individuals or groups from the same household or extended household can be maintained. Consider measures such as:
    • providing allocated seating and managing seating plans through ticketing systems or manually to ensure 2m social distancing is maintained between different groups and individuals;
    • if unallocated seating is provided, installing seat separation or labelling seats which should not be used, or deploying staff to support the audience in adhering to social distanced seating;
    • it is expected that guests will take responsibility for their own and others’ welfare and abide by social distancing in the auditorium. Staff should nevertheless be deployed to ensure that these measures are being observed. (This may include signage and announcements, increased checks and supervision, in particular before and at the end of each performance);
  • encouraging audience members not to bring bags and coats into auditoria where possible to reduce clutter at seats.
  • allowing for longer intervals so that audience members can safely visit toilets
  • reminding guests who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  • having clearly designated positions from which premises or venue staff can provide advice or assistance to guests whilst maintaining social distance.
  • cleaning auditoria very frequently and scheduling performances to allow sufficient time to undertake necessary cleaning before the next audience arrives.
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for welfare facilities to:
    • ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible; for example, by reducing the number of urinals, cubicles, washbasins and hand dryers available;
    • consider the likely patterns of use during a performance, for example during intervals, and modifying entry and exit times  to reduce likelihood of these areas becoming pinch points;
    • encouraging guests and audience to take responsibility for their own and others’ welfare.

5.0 Cleaning objects, equipment and environments

5.1 Before reopening

It will be essential to make sure that any premises, venue or location that has been closed (or partially operated) is clean and ready to restart.

Action to be taken includes: 

  • an assessment for all or parts of premises or venues that have been closed, before reopening or resuming activity.
  • cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser, before reopening or resuming activity.
  • it is important that, prior to reopening all the usual checks are undertaken to make the building is safe. If buildings have been closed or had reduced occupancy during the COVID-19 outbreak, 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.
  • drinking Water Inspectorate’s guidance on bringing buildings back into use after a period of disuse may be helpful. The guidance covers a range of quality issues that should be considered the guidance is available on the DWIs general web page.
  • natural ventilation via windows or vents should be used as far as possible. Where centralised or mechanical ventilation is present, recirculatory systems should be adjusted to full fresh air, if this is not possible systems should be operated as normal. Where ventilation units have filters present ensure enhanced precautions are taken when changing filters.
  • establishing new cleaning regimes for the premises or venue and determining how they will be delivered effectively with the planned hours of operation, for example on a daily basis or between performances, with some surfaces cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.
  • 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.
  • using any natural ventilation systems such as doors (except fire doors) and windows where feasible to ventilate enclosed space.

5.2 Keeping the environment clean

To keep the environment clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces the following steps will usually be needed:

  • frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products.
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly such as coffee or vending machines or staff handheld devices and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.
  • extra, frequent deep cleaning of shared spaces such as audition spaces, rehearsal and backstage areas.
  • owners keeping instruments and other personal kit clean, and not sharing these items with others.
  • clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a class, rehearsal or performance.
  • if you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific guidance.

5.3 Hygiene – handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets

To help everyone keep good handwashing and respiratory hygiene at all times the following steps will usually be needed:

  • using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.
  • providing hand sanitiser in multiple accessible locations in addition to washrooms. Consideration should be given to wheelchair users when deciding where these should be placed
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas.
  • providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers.

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

To reduce transmission through contact with objects the following steps will usually be needed:

  • encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
  • avoiding sharing personal items such as phones, chargers, pens, and owners take responsibility for regularly disinfecting their own personal equipment.
  • using designated storage for large instrument cases; musicians with smaller instruments keep cases under their seat.
  • avoiding sharing professional equipment wherever possible and place name labels on equipment to help identify the designated user, for example cameras, percussionists maintaining their own sticks and mallets.
  • handling of music scores, parts and scripts to be limited to the individual using them.
  • making available extra radios and headsets or earpieces, dedicating a member of each team to be responsible for them for the duration of the production, and making sure these are appropriately cleaned if not single use.
  • if equipment has to be shared, regularly disinfecting it (including any packing cases, handles, props, chairs and music stands)
  • consider limiting number of suppliers when hiring equipment. Responsibility of cleaning hired instruments should be discussed with the suppliers.
  • cleaning hire equipment, tools or other equipment on arrival and before first use. If receiving deliveries in advance of when required, store in a clean location and clean before first use.
  • creating picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and mics hand-to-hand and cleaning before and after drop off.
  • not permitting audience onto the stage or to touch equipment, props, instruments, set or other objects used by performers.
  • taking precautions when handling heavy equipment, including:
    • re-evaluating spaces to avoid people working in close proximity (e.g. using more trucks for transport of goods);
    • increasing the use of mechanical handling equipment (such as forklifts) to reduce large numbers of workers working in close proximity (e.g. lifting heavy cases and scenery);
    • using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity, for example, during two-person working, lifting or maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned;
    • reducing job and equipment rotation;
    • cleaning procedures for the parts of shared equipment you touch after each use, thinking about equipment, tools and vehicles.

5.5 Cleaning auditoria

To minimise the risk of transmission in auditoria, the following steps will usually be needed:

  • cleaning auditoria very frequently, typically between each performance, with particular attention paid to surfaces that hands of audience and workers are likely to come into contact with such as doors, seat arms and handrails.
  • scheduling performance to allow sufficient time to undertake necessary cleaning before the next audience arrives.

6.0 Communications

Good communication will be a critical factor in rebuilding public confidence. This is important on a number of levels: within your organisation, for visitors, service users and audiences, and for local communities.

Organisations must publish a clear statement detailing their plans to reopen safely and the steps they are taking to reduce the potential for infection transmission. This 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 should:

  • engage with employees directly and also through trades unions to develop and agree any changes in working arrangements;
  • introduce re-induction sessions for employees and develop ‘toolbox talks’ (short guidance talks with workers on any changes to work process);
  • provide clear and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of how and why new ways of working are being applied;
  • provide training materials on new procedures (consider how these materials are delivered, including online to maintain social distancing between workers);
  • focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty and adjust communications and engagement accordingly;
  • decide how new safety guidance will be communicated to delivery workers, contractors, and other site visitors.

For visitors, service users and audiences, you should:

  • emphasise that visitor and worker safety is the priority;
  • communicate through social media, websites and email to help them prepare for their visit — providing information about what to expect, what health precautions and social 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;
  • promote pre-booking requirements, entry systems or online free tickets or ticket purchases (including offline options for those with no internet access);
  • inform visitors of any changes to booking procedures for a person who is at increased risk from the virus 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);
  • provide 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 should:

  • find out whether your local community is apprehensive about visitor attractions reopening and the associated increase in the number of people travelling to the area;
  • work 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;
  • explain what arrangements are in place for managing visitor numbers and behaviours and what arrangements are in place for reversing a decision to open if necessary;
  • work 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 to provide reassurance.

Acknowledgements

The Welsh Government has developed this guidance in collaboration with the Arts Council of Wales.

A number of organisations contributed their time and advice, including:

Abergavenny Symphony Orchestra
Articulture
Artis Community Cymuned
Arts Care
Arts Connection
Artswork Cymru
Avant Cymru
Ballet Cymru
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Beaumaris Band
Bectu
Butetown Culture & Arts Association
Cardiff Bach Choir
Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra
Citrus Arts
Clwb Ifor Bach
Community Music Wales
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi
Côr Meibion Maelgwn
Creu Cymru
Crickhowell Choral Society
Cwmni’r Frân Wen
Dawns i Bawb
Disability Arts Cymru
Ensemble Cymru
Equity
Head 4 Arts
Hynt
Impelo
Making Music
Migrations
Musicians Union
Music Venues Trust
National Eisteddfod
National Dance Company Wales
National Theatre Wales
NEW Dance
NoFit State Circus
North Wales Brass Band Association
Northop Silver Band 
RCT Theatres
Riverfront Theatre Newport
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Seindorf Beaumaris Band
Sherman Theatre
Sinfonia Cymru 
Taking Flight Theatre Company
Taliesin Arts Centre
Tanio
Theatr Clwyd
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
Theatr na nÓg
Torch Theatre
Ty Cerdd
Valleys Kids
Voluntary Arts
Welsh Association of Male Choirs
Welsh National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Valleys Kids.

We would also like to thank a number of freelance artists who gave so generously of their time and advice.

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