Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the performing arts and venues sector

Guidance for the performing arts and venues sector on safe re-opening during the coronavirus pandemic.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the performing arts and venues sector
People involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting events

People involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting events

Contents:

This section covers management of performers or participants and their activities. It includes a range of non-exhaustive activities undertaken in the performing arts with guidance on how to adapt activities to reduce transmission and maintain physical distancing. When following this section, legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities, and particular duties towards high risk people continue to apply.

Please note that any references to audiences are relevant only after venues are permitted and have chosen to reopen to the public.

Workstation-based environments

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

  • for people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain physical distancing wherever possible
  • workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people and cleaned between uses.
  • if it is not possible to keep workstations apart to allow physical distancing then organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the organisations to operate, and if so, take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission

Further guidance can be found at Business and physical distance guidance 

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • reviewing layouts to allow workers to work further apart from each other
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep the physical distance
  • avoiding people working face-to-face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other.
  • using screens to create a physical barrier between people.
  • using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity. For example, maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned. 

Meetings

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

Steps that will usually be needed: 

  • using remote working tools to avoid in person meetings
  • only absolutely necessary participants should attend meetings and should maintain physically distant separation throughout
  • avoiding transmission during meetings, for example avoiding sharing pens and other objects
  • providing hand sanitiser in meeting rooms
  • holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible
  • for areas where regular meetings take place, use floor signage to help people maintain physical distancing

Common areas

Objective: To maintain physical distancing while using common areas.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • staggering break times to reduce pressure on the staff break rooms or places to eat
  • using safe outside areas for breaks
  • creating additional space by using other parts of the venue, workshop or location that have been freed up by remote working
  • installing screens to protect workers in receptions or similar areas
  • providing packaged meals or similar to avoid fully opening staff canteens
  • reconfiguring seating and tables to optimise spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions
  • encouraging workers or participants to remain on-site during breaks and, when not possible, maintaining physical distancing while off-site
  • considering use of physical distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, showers, lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form
  • encouraging workers or participants to bring as few personal items with them as possible

The wearing of face coverings is mandatory in communal workplace areas, such as corridors, canteens and social spaces, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons.

Changing rooms and showers

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

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • where shower and changing facilities are essential, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that physical 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
  • where showers are shared, consider cleaning more frequently
  • for additional reassurance, providing cleaning materials and hand sanitiser for use at touch points
  • providing additional signposting in these areas to maintain physical distancing
  • considering changes in policies to ensure limited time is taken in changing areas, especially during the changeover of group activity to maintain physical distancing
  • permitting use of lockers provided physical distancing can be maintained

Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents while staying COVID-19 safe.

  • in an emergency, for example, an accident, provision of first aid, fire or break-in, people do not have to physical distance if it would be unsafe
  • people involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • reviewing your incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect and enable the physical distancing principles as far as possible
  • considering the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations
  • considering whether you have enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe. For example having dedicated staff to encourage physical distancing or to manage security for organisations who conduct physical searches of people and/or their bags, considering how to ensure safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards and following guidance on managing security risks

General guidance during rehearsals, training, pre-production and performance (without audience or with audience when permitted)

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

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • providing space for performers and other attendees to be physically distanced from each other, production team members or other individuals wherever possible during training, rehearsal, pre-production and performance and any other form of performing arts activity
  • working outdoors where possible while giving due regard to neighbours, noise and the possibility of a crowd forming. Where this is not possible, ensuring all rehearsal, training and performance areas, with particular regard to indoor and covered areas, have adequate ventilation
  • organising and designing repertoire, rehearsals, training and performance to avoid situations where performers cannot physically distance, wherever feasible. If not feasible, organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue and, if so, take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • reducing as far as possible any time that individuals are not able to maintain physical distancing
  • reducing group and cast sizes where it helps maintain physical distancing
  • adapting live performing arts to ensure they are safe. If that is not possible, consider the use of technology solutions to reduce interactions and ensure physical distancing (for example for castings, rehearsals, training and performance)
  • removing non-essential common areas such as waiting rooms
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people maintain physical distance, where possible
  • wearing face coverings is mandatory in communal workplace areas, such as corridors, canteens and social spaces, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE protects users against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes face masks and respiratory protective equipment, such as Respirators.

HPS guidance for general (non-healthcare) settings offers advice on the use of PPE, confirming organisations should continue to use any PPE required as per local policies (business as usual) and in line with measures justified by a risk assessment. Both the Scottish Government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend a risk based approach focused on a hierarchy of control which seeks to eliminate risks, combat risks at source, adapt workplaces to individual needs, ensure adequate staff training around processes to manage the risk and then use PPE where required. Where PPE is deemed necessary, an adequate supply and quality must be maintained which is provided free of charge to workers and which must fit properly. Note that face coverings are not considered PPE.

Face coverings

It is important to note the difference between face masks and face coverings. Where HPS guidance refers to face masks this means surgical or other medical grade masks that are used in certain health and social care situations. Face coverings are made from cloth or other textiles that cover the mouth and nose, and through which you can breathe (e.g. a scarf).

People aged 5 years and over must wear a face covering on public transport, in public transport premises (e.g. train stations and airports), shops and in certain other indoor public places. There are some exemptions to this requirement; further information can be found on the Scottish Government website. If you wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. The Scottish Government encourages use of re-usable, washable face coverings, rather than single use masks to minimise plastic waste.

The Scottish Government has issued guidance on the personal use of face coverings. If you wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

The guidance relates to use of face coverings by members of the public in specific circumstances. The wearing of face coverings is mandatory in communal workplace areas, such as corridors, canteens and social spaces, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons. Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

Consult the up to date advice on wearing face coverings as this may change with each review stage.

Dance

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission for dancers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • dance studios and dance classes should follow the guidance for sport and leisure facilities
  • indoor sport and leisure facilities can reopen from Monday 31 August with physical distancing and enhanced hygiene measures in place.  This will allow children under 12 to take part in all dancing activity with people older than 12 being able to take part in non-contact dance activity.  The review date for contact dancing for all ages is 15 October.

Playing music

Objective: Objective: To help minimise the overall risk of transmission when playing or singing in music groups.

We have updated the guidance to reflect the scientific evidence on singing and playing wind and brass instruments.  Guidance will be kept under review as the scientific evidence develops further.

The scientific studies indicate that it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that is likely to create risk.  The revised mitigations detailed in this section should be implemented, particularly as regards physical distancing and ventilation.  We will keep the advice on these mitigations under review. 

Professional musicians may sing or play in groups outdoors and indoors.

Non-professional musicians (including singing and wind and brass instrumentalists) may sing or play in groups outdoors, but group size should be limited to that permitted by social gathering guidance (Staying safe and protecting others). This currently allows for meetings of no more than 6 people from a maximum of 2 households outdoors. Any local restrictions on household gatherings will also apply. You should maintain 2 metre distancing and avoid playing or singing face to face. The restrictions from 22 September on meeting others socially indoors apply to non-professional musicians.

Non-professionals who are participating in an organised outdoor activity managed by an organisation - including a business, charity or club - can, from 24 August, meet outdoors. Organisers have a duty to ensure compliance with 2 metre physical distancing, hygiene measures and this and other relevant guidance, including events guidance, and to undertake the same risk assessment processes as referenced in this guidance for professional organisations, including member/participant representatives in those processes.

Please note, as announced by the First Minister on 7 October 2020, there will be additional national and local measures in place from 10 October to to 06:00 on 26 October 2020 to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread. During this period, such organised outdoor activity managed by an organisation is not permitted for performing arts activities in the central belt area. The central belt is defined as the areas covered by:

    • Ayrshire & Arran Health Board, comprising East, North, and South Ayrshire;
    • Forth Valley Health Board, comprising Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, and Stirling;
    • Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board, comprising Glasgow City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, and West Dunbartonshire;
    • Lanarkshire Health Board, comprising North and South Lanarkshire; and
    • Lothian Health Board, comprising the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, and West Lothian.

For all musicians (professional and non-professional) working indoors or outdoors in accordance with the restrictions above, steps that will usually be needed:

Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment.

Make sure that no musicians are participating if suffering with symptoms of COVID-19 or when advised to self-isolate.

Observe the 2 metre physical distancing between each musician and between musicians and any other people such as conductors, accompanists or audiences (where permitted) at all times whilst playing

When seated this distance should be measured from the edge of the performer’s chair

Use back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible

Operate outdoors wherever possible, with 2 metre physical distancing

Limit the duration of rehearsals, and performances where permitted, as far as possible

If playing or singing indoors, limit the numbers and conduct a comprehensive risk assessment which includes but is not limited to:

  • the size of the space
  • the ventilation levels within the space (see Ventilation systems below)
  • the positioning of musicians within the space, observing physical distancing
  • the effectiveness of any booths, barriers or screens in use
  • the use of fixed teams to reduce contacts, and ensuring accurate records and contact details are maintained of who is within each fixed team

Avoid exposure of crew, other performers and audiences (where permitted), through using alternative programmes, technology or re-arranging or re-orchestrating for fewer players as the first priority

Consider using screens or barriers in addition to physical distancing

When essential for professional activity, if it is not possible to maintain recommended physical distancing whilst playing/singing, use one or multiple fixed teams to manage risk of transmission.

Consider, wherever possible, limiting the number of musicians in any fixed team to the smallest number possible.

Where a very small fixed team means professional work cannot resume, consider a larger fixed team only if a comprehensive risk mitigation plan has been put in place which may include but is not limited to:

  • conducting rehearsals and training in smaller fixed teams wherever possible and gradually increasing the number of people in the fixed team over time in order to observe and manage risk
  • communicating clearly the maximum number of people allowed to engage as a fixed team at any one time
  • screening of anyone in a fixed team prior to entry into venues and premises, which may include, but not be limited to, a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire
  • determining what level of monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms or for COVID-19 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 government and HPS guidelines and reporting requirements
  • appointing an existing worker 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, position side-to-side or back-to-back and avoid playing/singing face-to-face wherever possible.

Observe physical distancing between fixed teams and between a fixed team and any other people such as conductors, other musicians, audiences (where permitted) or accompanists wherever possible.

All members of a fixed team should self-isolate if one member displays symptoms of COVID-19, which again reiterates the need to keep fixed teams as small 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.

To reduce the risk of aerosol transmission, consider using booths, barriers or screens if possible between individual musicians who are not part of a fixed team, between fixed teams of musicians and others, and between performers and any audience (when permitted), noting that:

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

Results of further research will lead to updates in this guidance.

Orchestra pits

Objective: To reduce risk of working in orchestra pits.

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

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • 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 physical distancing to be possible
  • marking up the orchestra pit or band area so that all musicians are clear about their spacing and physical distancing 
  • 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

Shift patterns and working groups / fixed teams

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

Working in consistent groups reduces the likelihood of direct transmission, allows for quicker identification of those who need to self-isolate and may reduce the overall number of people who need to isolate in the event of a positive test or COVID-19.

The approach taken to configuring fixed teams should be risk-based and adapted to the specific circumstances of the workplace. The general approach should be to keep fixed teams consistent where practically possible.

It is important to emphasise that the use of groups is not an all-or-nothing approach. These will bring public health benefits even if logistics mean they can be implemented only partially. Organisations should apply proportionate, risk-based approaches to implementation of the use of fixed teams.

Steps that will usually be needed:

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

Members of fixed teams should observe physical distancing amongst themselves, and between fixed teams.

Fixed teams should keep apart from other fixed teams where possible, ensuring clear demarcation and separation between the areas in which different fixed teams work and minimising movement of groups across premises.

Where it is necessary to bring fixed teams together, alternative mitigating actions should be put in place, such as limiting the time spent together.

Assist the Test and Protect service by keeping a temporary record of your staff shift patterns and participants’ attendance for 21 days.

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

Create zones in a venue 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 freelance musician or choreographer, and operating across multiple groups or individuals, they should:

    • maintain distancing requirement with each group
    • avoid situations where distancing requirement is broken, for example teachers correcting a pupil’s posture or demonstrating partnering work in dancing
    • make efforts to reduce the number of groups interacted with and locations worked in, to reduce the number of contacts made
    • consider a regular private testing programme with an accredited provider.

Casting and auditions

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

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • self-taping or online auditions to reduce numbers on-site. A live feed may help reduce numbers of creative team attending casting and auditions.
  • considering the needs of disabled and D/deaf, workers and participants in making adjustments to casting and auditions management
  • removing waiting rooms where it is not possible to facilitate physical distancing, asking people not to arrive ahead of their allocated time slot, and providing clear instruction not to congregate in other areas if waiting
  • using screens to create a physical barrier between people, for example between casting team or accompanist and candidates
  • preparing for potential absence of performers due to sickness, for example by increasing number of understudies
  • considering how to appropriately protect any supporting creative team such as musical accompanists, for example by using screens or ensuring physical 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 extras, players taking dual roles

Training

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

Steps that could be taken include:

  • avoiding any training exercises that compromise the physical distancing guidelines set out previously
  • where it is essential for performers in training to breach physical distancing, keeping them in place for the minimum possible time.  Organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue and, if so, take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • avoiding face-to-face positions where possible
  • dividing classes and training sessions into small groups

Rehearsals and performance

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

Example steps that could be taken include:

  • reducing cast, orchestra and other performance group sizes wherever possible to enable physical distancing to be maintained
  • maintaining physical distancing wherever possible in rehearsals and performance. If close contact is absolutely essential, minimising this and using fixed teams where possible Organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue and, if so, undertake a risk assessment and take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • mapping out productions in advance of commencing in-person rehearsals
  • learning lines or parts in advance to avoid carrying scripts in rehearsal
  • displaying scripts onto screens in rehearsal rooms to reduce contact requirements and support accessibility
  • increasing use of technology in rehearsals such as to complete read-throughs, and in performance where feasible. Please consider all reasonable adjustments to enable D/deaf and disabled workers to participate.
  • avoiding rehearsing and performing face-to-face
  • 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 performers 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

Set design and construction

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

Steps that could be taken include:

  • to maintain physical distancing or, where not possible, to minimise close proximity during setup and transportation, consider using additional trucks for transport of equipment and large items and 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
  • pre-fabricating as much set as possible off-site, only assembling and painting on site, following as necessary any additional published guidance such as manufacturing guidance

Sound and lighting

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

Steps that could be taken include:

  • creating a screen (e.g. an acoustically transparent gauze screen) around sound and lighting desks to create a barrier between the sound team and other crew or audience (when permitted)
  • 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

Stage management and back-stage

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

Steps that could be taken include:

  • 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 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, and where possible between uses if handled by different people
  • 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 physical 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

Costumes and concert dress

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

Steps that could be taken include:

Some productions may require costume fitting where physical distancing and avoidance of intimate face-to-face contact is impractical. In these instances, consider using fixed teams as outlined earlier, and only where essential and unavoidable. Organisations should consider whether the activity is essential and, if so, undertake a risk assessment and take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

Use 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.

Reduce cross-contamination risk by where possible:

    • sanitise and ventilate changing cubicles between use
    • separate individual cast members’ costumes in plastic bag
    • hang cast members’ own clothes inside a clean plastic cover
    • launder costumes between each use and cover individually in plastic covers after cleaning.

Avoid sharing equipment, for example maintain a dedicated sewing machine for one user.

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 increase time between changes.

Musicians should arrive at a performance venue in the clothes they will wear for the performance.

Hair and make-up

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

Steps that could be taken include:

  • some productions may require hair and make-up where physical distancing and avoidance of intimate face-to-face contact is impractical. In these instances, consider using fixed teams as outlined earlier. It is unlikely that this fixed group approach will be possible in non-professional environments or where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously.  Organisations should consider whether the activity is essential and, if so, undertake a risk assessment and take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • positioning hair and make-up stations to allow appropriate physical distancing or using Perspex screens between stations
  • asking performers to do own hair and make-up or by remote instruction where appropriate. Request cast and supporting artists remove own make-up where possible
  • 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, and supplying pins, disposable brushes for lips and glues where possible.
  • increasing equipment and surface hygiene. For example, use air borne sanitising sprays, maintain minimum equipment, sterilise and disinfect equipment and surfaces after each application, use disposable brushes and applicators.

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

Objective: to reduce transmission through contact with objects. 

Steps that 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) and always between users
  • consider limiting number of suppliers when hiring equipment. Responsibility of cleaning hired instruments should be discussed with the suppliers.
  • considering options for transporting equipment
  • 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.
  • cleaning of musical instruments by musicians, where possible
  • cleaning of audio description headsets between use and after handling by staff
  • creating picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and mics hand-to-hand
  • not permitting audience onto the stage or to touch equipment, props, instruments, set or other objects used by performers

Take precautions when handling heavy equipment, including:

    • re-evaluating spaces to avoid workers 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.

Managing broadcast performance without a live audience

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

Example steps that could be taken include:

  • film crews not mixing with performers in the performance area if to do so would breach physical distancing, unless they are part of a fixed group with the performers

Creative learning for school age children

Objective: to highlight further reading and guidelines for working with school age children.

Those providing organised activities for children and young people which are not overseen by a regulator should follow guidance for organised activities for children and young people.

Indoor activities for children and young people which are not overseen by a regulator should not start again until agreed guidance is in place.  For now, activities for children and young people under the age of 18  should continue online or outdoors in line with existing guidance.

Managing front of house and back of house during a performance

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

Steps that could be taken include:

  • creating front of house and back of house zones with people operating exclusively within each zone, where possible
  • ensuring that members of fixed teams are particularly careful to maintain physical distancing when interacting with audience members and others front of house and minimise time spent doing so
  • identifying any roles that typically operate both front of house and back of house, and minimising these where possible
  • identifying any roles that interact with audience and manage transmission risk appropriately
  • minimising interaction of back of house staff with the audience
  • venues such as grassroots music venues and comedy clubs which find themselves operating in more restricted environments such as clubs, pubs and bars should also consult the guidance for Tourism and Hospitality

Travel

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

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • 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 logging the stay and making sure any overnight accommodation meets physical distancing guidelines

Communications and training

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

Every workplace should look and feel substantially different for workers. Physical distancing and enhanced hygiene will change how workplaces operate. Training will therefore be essential to build a common understanding of requirements within the new working norm and instil confidence that changes put in place will contribute to a safe working environment. Issues such as ensuring staff are aware that some audience members attending an event may have disabilities that are not immediately visible will be important in ensuring fair treatment of customers in these difficult circumstances.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working
  • engaging with workers, worker representatives and participants through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements
  • developing communication and training materials for workers and participants prior to returning to site, especially around new procedures for arrival
  • ongoing engagement with workers and participants (including through trade unions or worker representative groups) to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments
  • awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. The government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • using simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of groups for which English may not be their first language
  • using visual communications, for example whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to production schedules, breakdowns or materials shortages to reduce the need for face-to-face communications
  • communicating approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, visitors or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience
  • considering the equalities impacts of the changes made and what advice or guidance you will need to provide for users who might be adversely impacted

First published: 9 Oct 2020 Last updated: 16 Oct 2020 -