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 .
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Update on 14th October
This guidance applies to England where the local COVID alert level is Medium.
It currently also appears to apply to areas where the alert level is High or Very High, but the government guidance for the performing arts has not been updated since the new tier system was introduced. Please check what the local restrictions are in your area.
Update on 6th October
This only applies to England. Anyone in an area with local restrictions must check the relevant guidance to ensure that this update is valid for their area.
Performances outdoors with a socially distanced audience are allowed to take place, providing you comply 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.
Before deciding whether to perform, you should review the performing arts guidance, which details what you need to do to protect your audience as well as the participants. The requirements are similar to those for practices, but you are also responsible for minimising the risk of transmission to and from people in the audience as well as between members of the team. You should only dance out if you can comply with the guidance.
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.
We do not want to stop people performing 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 and other performances
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.
- Maintain two metres social distancing between anyone not in the same household.
- Comply with the rule of six. This means no interaction between separate and distinct groups of no more than six at any time. If you cannot make sure that there will be no mingling between groups of six, you should not perform.
- Minimise the risks to your audience, including making sure that they can socially distance from anyone not in their household. You should decide what you will do if your audience does not comply with social distancing; you may need to stop performing.
- Limit the number of people in your audience, making sure they can maintain social distancing. Where possible, seating can help social distancing.
- Keep the performance time as short as possible.
- Maintain good hand hygiene at all times. Everyone should have their own hand sanitiser and use it regularly.
- 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.
If you still have queries that the above doesn’t answer … please email email@example.com