Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces

Published: 30 Jun 2020
Last updated: 11 Jan 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for the creative industries, in particular for providers and users of creative studios in Scotland, in safer working during the coronavirus pandemic.

5 page PDF

35.6 kB

5 page PDF

35.6 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces

5 page PDF

35.6 kB


The Strategic Framework announced by the First Minister on 23 October sets out our approach to outbreak management based on 5 levels of protection, providing graduated protections locally and/or nationally designed to reduce transmission of the virus according to the evolving patterns of infection and transmission.

This guidance applies at Level 0–3 (reference category ‘other workplaces’). 

In Level 4 all workplaces, public and private sector, even those providing essential services, should as far as possible work from home – please see Coronavirus (COVID-19): businesses and workplaces that must close and can remain open at protection level 4. For those unable to work from home, studios can remain open for production/manufacturing activity with suitable mitigations in place to reduce the risk of the virus. Learning activity in workshops and visitors are not permitted at this level.

The guidance will be reviewed on a regular basis as our priority remains containing the spread of the virus, saving lives and safeguarding the NHS.

The Scottish Government is keen to build confidence and create the right environment for supporting safer work as we continue to live with COVID-19.

We have worked with studio providers, artists, creative practitioners, employers and trade unions from across the creative sector to ensure that this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic. As each studio context is different it is for individual studio providers to work with their workforce, building and studio user representatives and studio users to determine how best to apply this guidance in their circumstances.

This document is one of a set of documents about how to work safely in different types of workplaces. This guidance is relevant to businesses and practitioners who provide and work in art and other creative studios, as well as other shared work spaces.

This guidance does not cover:

If intending to run workshops in studios, please follow the guidance for the community learning and development sector.

The guidance applies to creative production and activities in range of different types of studios. It uses the terms ‘studio providers’ and ‘studio users’ but we recognise that there are a number of different models to which this guidance is relevant, for example:

  • single business renting a number of rooms with a single main access point
  • shared workspace in which creative activities are undertaken by a variety of non-resident workers
  • shared workspace in which many people rent desks for a settled period
  • community-operated workspaces such as makerspaces
  • individual studio spaces with shared communal kitchen and toilet facilities
  • individual studio spaces with no shared entrance/exit and kitchen/toilet facilities, but which may be visited by clients and/or collaborators
  • business providing spaces on a flexible or fixed term basis

To help you decide which actions to take, you need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. COVID-19 risk assessent information is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

This risk assessment should be undertaken in consultation with trade unions or workforce representatives where relevant. Studio providers should ensure they have access to skills, training and knowledge to understand the risks associated with COVID-19, including how to respond to colleagues or studio users with actual or possible symptoms. Annex A and Annex B also set out a number of other actions that studio provides and studio users should take – some of these are mandatory while some will depend on the nature of the studio facilities.

All risk mitigation measures must be kept under regular review so that studio facilities continue to feel and be safe. Each studio provider will need to translate this into the specific actions that they and their studio users will need to take depending on the nature of their practice or business (i.e. the size and type of facilities or practice, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated) using this document as a guide. Consideration of individuals’ health circumstances and protected characteristics should be given to this as part of the risk assessment process.

We recognise that while studio providers will make every effort to restart activity according to the Strategic Framework, a number of factors, including assessment of risk and viability, will mean that not all studio space nor all activity will restart at once.

The remainder of this guidance sets out our minimum expectations across five key areas that businesses and practitioners will need to consider as part of their planning for a restart and ongoing production while minimising the transmission of the virus:

  • assessing risk - involving those working in studios in a risk-based approach
  • workforce planning - supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not
  • operational guide for studio providers - changing the studio environment to keep everyone safe
  • operational guide for studio users - working together safely
  • training and compliance.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA), your Local Authority Environmental Health Service is the relevant enforcing authority for how you control the risk of coronavirus in studio facilities. In some cases it may be the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)  but, in any case, enforcing authorities will apply the same requirements.

Local authorities also have powers under public health legislation, for example, covering whether businesses should be operating, the requirement to take all reasonable measures to maintain 2m distancing, or to ensure your workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified.

HSE and LAs Environmental Health Services have agreed to maintain the way they allocate different businesses for enforcement according to existing health and safety law for the purposes of workers’ health and safety.

Where the enforcing authority identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with public health guidance to control COVID-19 health risks to workers, they will consider a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks including the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices or even prosecution.

This document is provided as guidance only and does not amount to legal advice. Studio providers may wish to seek their own advice to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations.

If you would like to suggest ways we can improve the guidance please contact



First published: 30 Jun 2020 Last updated: 11 Jan 2021 -