This page has been compiled by Sally Wearing, our H&S Advisor. Please bear in mind that it can take a few days between new guidance emerging and Sally reading it all and writing a summary. If you have further questions that the info below doesn’t answer … please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
See all our Covid-19 pages:
Update on 26th September
The guidance below was made ‘out of date’ by announcements taking effect from 21st September. We are still awaiting an update on the details for Performing Arts, so will give you our update as soon as we are able.
Update on 20th September
Dance outs: If anyone is considering dancing out, you should review and comply with the performing arts guidance, which details what you need to do to protect your audience as well as the participants. Please also read our page on Coronavirus Covid-19 – Practices
New Rules from 14th September (Updated on 13th September)
Note: this only applies to England, and where there are no local restrictions.
The recent changes introduced by the government mean that there is now a new legal limit for how many people can meet as a group. No more than six people can meet, indoors or outdoors, unless they all live together. This means that the previous guidance issued by The Morris Federation is out-of-date.
We are currently reviewing the updated government guidance. There are a few exceptions to the new rule, but the government has not yet issued a definitive list of the exceptions. Nor has it fully updated the guidance on the performing arts. We will issue a further update as soon as possible. Currently practices/dance outs should consist of no more than six people who must maintain social distancing. Each group should also not interact with anyone outside their group, even in COVID-19 Secure venues. These requirements are detailed in https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing
Added on 20th July, updated on 25th August
Considering how you can dance out with a small team, socially distanced, safely and within the government guidance?
Advice for sides who are considering performing outdoors
NB: All of this applies to England, excluding any areas with local lockdowns.
Performances outdoors with a socially distanced audience are now allowed to take place, providing whoever is organising the performance makes sure that it complies with the government’s extensive guidance. If you are planning to dance out, you must first make sure that you can keep everyone involved safe: performers, audience and supporters.
The government’s guidance is intended for both professionals and non-professionals, but it says that “Non-professionals should not engage in activities that may lead to social distancing being compromised”. This means that you must comply with the usual rules, with everyone two metres apart, at all times.
The summary below gives you an overview of what needs to be done in order to make sure you can dance out safely. Please read the full guidance at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts before you decide whether to dance out or not, and only dance out if you can comply with the guidance. You must comply with the guidance on meeting people from outside your household https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july.
We do not want to stop people dancing out, but do want to make sure dance outs are safe. Not following the guidance may invalidate your insurance. You also need permission from the owners of the land, as with any dance out. If you are considering doing a socially distanced performance at a festival or other event that has been cancelled, please contact the organisers of the cancelled festival first to let them know what you are planning. Failing to comply with all the guidance may not only reflect badly on morris dancers, but also on the festival organisers. For instance, it could give them problems with their licensing authority.
Organising dance outs
The main aim of the government’s guidance is to allow people to take part in a performance safely and to keep the audience safe, with everyone 2 metres apart from those they do not live with.
The first step is to read the government’s guidance. Then:
- decide where and when you want to dance out
- carry out a risk assessment for each location where you want to dance
- identify all the actions you need to take to comply with the guidance
- decide whether your side can comply with all the actions required
- if you cannot, you should not dance out
- if you can, you must put all the actions in place before the dance out and keep them operating effectively throughout the whole event
- if necessary, you should stop the dance out, for instance if your audience is failing to comply with the social distancing rules.
These are some of the key requirements of the guidance. Please read the guidance for more details.
- Unless it is organised by a business, venue, a charitable or political organisation or a public body, any gathering in an outdoor space must not be larger than 30 people. If you are organising a dance out, you need to decide how you will make sure that this is not exceeded.
- You need to minimise the risks to your audience, including making sure that they can socially distance from anyone not in your household. You should decide what you will do if your audience does not comply with social distancing; you may need to stop performing.
- Make sure that no-one with COVID-19 symptoms, anyone who is self-isolating or who are at higher risk (i.e. clinically vulnerable) is involved in the performance. Do not persuade anyone to dance out if they are reluctant.
- Non-professionals can now sing and play wind or brass instruments. But you should make sure that audiences do not sing along.
- Shouting also increases the risk; decide how to make sure that any announcements are safe.
- Musicians must socially distance at all times whilst playing, unless they are from the same household. They should not play so loud that anyone (including the audience) needs to raise their voice to talk to each other.
- If you need to adapt your dances to maintain 2 metres social distancing at all times, remember that you will need to practice before your dance out. Probably only jigs and clog stepping are really possible when socially distancing.
- Make sure all your dancers and musicians know what is happening and how they should behave.
- Decide what you will do in an emergency. For instance, if someone is injured dancing, how will you provide first aid while maintaining social distancing?
- Consider using tape to help people maintain social distancing.
- Do not allow anyone in the audience to join in the dancing.
- Do not share any equipment, instruments, etc. Owners should be responsible for regularly disinfecting their personal equipment. Everyone involved in the performance should have their own hand sanitiser.
- Identify what toilet facilities there are available.
Dancing at events or venues with COVID-19 Secure Guidelines
Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups. This also applies to events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission. This means that they must comply with COVID-19 Secure guidance, including completing a risk assessment.
Whoever is managing the event or venue should tell you what they have done to minimise the risk of transmission and what you need to do while you are participating.
You are still responsible for reducing the risks associated with your performance and need to comply with the government guidance, as explained above.
If you still have queries that the above doesn’t answer … please email email@example.com