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
Strategic framework and levels

Strategic Framework and Levels

  • introduction
  • theatres, concert halls and other performing arts venues
  • outdoor events     
  • performing arts non professionals
  • festive period

Introduction

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 means that some performing arts venues may be able to re-open in areas with low infection rates, while others may be required to remain closed to help suppress the virus in areas with much higher rates.

Levels for each local authority area will be kept under review. See the information for your area.

The new measures come into effect from Monday 2 November. This guidance for the performing arts and venues will be reviewed on a regular basis as our priority remains containing the spread of the virus, saving lives and safeguarding the NHS.

Guidance is included both for when performing arts venues are open to the public for attendance at a live performance, and for when they are closed to the public but can be used for broadcasting, recording, and to rehearse or otherwise prepare for reopening. Such venues include:

  • a concert hall,
  • any other venue which -
    • normally opens at night
    • has a dance floor or other space for dancing or spectating by members of the public (and for these purposes, members of the venue in question are to be considered members of the public) and
    • provides music, whether live or recorded
  • a theatre
  • a comedy club

For outdoor performances, this guidance should be applied alongside the guidance for the events sector for outdoor performances.

The guidance also applies to non-professionals for activities where permitted.

Levels of protection relevant to the performing arts and venues apply as follows:

Theatres, concert halls and other performing arts venues

Level 0:  Performing arts venues are permitted to open where audience members have allocated seats (either physical seats or marked areas of the ground within which households must sit) and with restricted numbers, 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures in place and if the venue can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance. Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring 2 metre physical distancing up to a limit of 250. Discussions on restricted numbers should take place between the local authority and venue. Matters such as ventilation system, pinch points, transport, performance type, local circumstances and length of performance should be taken into account to determine appropriate number for the event which might be below the upper limit of 250.

Level 0 only: Performing arts venues are permitted to open for indoor ambulatory events where audience members are mobile between different focal points, with restricted numbers, 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures in place and if the venue can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance. Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring 2 metre physical distancing up to a limit of 250. The size of venue or area involved in these events will require clear assessment to allow adherence to physical distancing and event organisers must ensure attendees do not gather together at fixed points. Discussions on restricted numbers should take place between the local authority and venue. Matters such as ventilation system, pinch points, transport, performance type, local circumstances and length of performance should be taken into account to determine appropriate number for the event and may result in an upper limit lower than 250.

Level 1: Performing arts venues are permitted to open where audience members have allocated seats (either physical seats or marked areas of the ground within which households must sit) and with restricted numbers, 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures in place and if the venue can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance. Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring 2 metre physical distancing up to a limit of 100. Discussions on restricted numbers should take place between the local authority and venue. Matters such as ventilation system, pinch points, transport, performance type, local circumstances and length of performance should be taken into account to determine appropriate number for the event which might be below the upper limit of 100.

Levels 2 - 4: Performing arts venues closed to the public for live performance.

Not permitted: Indoor grouped standing events which involve spectators standing still, such as around a stage, are not permitted at any level

Levels 0 – 4: Broadcasts, recordings and to rehearse and otherwise prepare for re-opening permitted, with 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures in place and if the venue can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance

Request process

Lists of premises that must be closed at different levels are included in the 2020 Regulations

Scottish Ministers, local authorities, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and health boards may request that premises that are otherwise closed to the public carry out a particular activity. We expect this to be used in a limited number of instances primarily to support activities for the public good – such as operation of NHS Louisa Jordan or as a jury centre. This request process will also be used by the Scottish Ministers to allow pilot events to take place when considered appropriate.

Outdoor events      

Please refer to events sector guidance.

Performing arts non professionals

Gathering to train, practice, rehearse or perform, such as drama societies, pipe and other bands, orchestras, and choirs: 

Levels 0 – 4: Gatherings as permitted under socialising rules:

Organised activity: Non-professionals who are participating in an organised outdoor activity managed by an organisation – including a business, charity or club – can meet outdoors at some levels. Where permitted, this should be with 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures in place and only if the organiser can comply with the requirements specified in this and other relevant guidance

Levels 0 and 1: Organised activity permitted outdoors

Levels 2-4: Not permitted         

Please note: as at 5 November, we are considering revised guidance for non-professionals participating in performing arts activity which will be published here in due course.

Festive period

The levels of protection that apply for the performing arts and venues are relevant throughout the festive period including festive activities such as:

  • carol singing, brass band and other musical performances should not take place indoors, except by professional singers and musicians in Level 1 areas in accordance with this guidance
  • carol singing, brass band and other musical performances should not take place outdoors, except within Level 1 areas (for professional and non-professional singers and musicians) in accordance with this guidance and events guidance
  • indoor festive events (e.g. pantomimes, nativity plays) should not take place, except within early learning centres and primary schools (with no parents in attendance) and within Level 1 areas with an audience capacity of up to 100 and in accordance with this guidance
  • outdoor festive events (e.g. pantomimes) should not take place except in Level 1 areas with an audience capacity of up to 200 and seated in accordance with this guidance and events guidance

Page last updated: 26 November 2020


First published: 10 Nov 2020 Last updated: 10 Nov 2020 -