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 21st December
This only applies to areas in Tier 4 in England. If you would like advice for other parts of the UK, please contact Sally Wearing at email@example.com.
The new Tier 4 brought in on 20th December impose restrictions similar to November’s lockdown. If you are in one of the Tier 4 areas, none of the current MF guidance applies as no practices or performances are possible. Under the Tier 4 rules, no-one can meet anyone from outside their household indoors. Outdoors, individuals can only meet one person from another household.
There are a few exceptions to these rules, but none allow morris or related activities to practise or perform. The performing arts guidance has been updated to say that it only applies in Tiers 1, 2 & 3. Classifying morris as a sport would make no difference, as only elite sports people can train in Tier 4. However, organised outdoor sports for under 18s are still allowed.
Let’s hope there is better news in 2021.
Update on 14th December
This only applies to England. If you would like advice for other parts of the UK, please contact Sally Wearing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Performances can take place in all three tiers, but you are required to follow the basic guidance on meeting other people. This means that the same maximum numbers and restrictions apply to performances as they do to practices.
- Tier 1: performances are allowed both indoors and outdoors in groups of up to six, but the groups must not socialise or mix with other groups at any time.
- Tier 2: outdoor performances are possible with groups of up to six, but the groups must not socialise or mix with other groups at any time. Indoors, you can only meet with people from your household, so performances not possible (unless everyone lives together!).
- Tier 3: outdoor performances are possible with groups of up to six in some public spaces, but the groups must not socialise or mix with other groups at any time. The guidance lists the “public outdoor spaces” where it is acceptable for up to six people to meet: parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility. In other outdoor places and indoors, you are not allowed to mix with people from other households. All outdoor and indoor performing arts venues are closed to audiences.
To perform or not to perform?
Before deciding whether to perform, you must first make sure that you can keep everyone involved safe: performers, audience and supporters. 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 there are two key requirements for non-professionals.
- You must consider the wider health context in your area and the vulnerability of your participants when deciding whether to proceed. You can find information about the cases of COVID in your area on the government’s interactive map.
- You must not engage in activities that may lead to social distancing being compromised, for your participants and/or audience. Everyone must comply with the usual rules of staying two metres apart, as well as the basic tier requirements.
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.
Venue: you also need permission from the owners of the land, as with any dance out. If you are performing at a venue run by a business or organisation, they also need to comply with the guidance for the performing arts. They have to carry out a risk assessment and put COVID-19 Secure guidelines in place. When you are planning the event, they should tell you what they have done to minimise the risk of transmission and what you need to do while at the venue.
You are responsible for managing the risks arising from your activities, e.g. dancing and playing music. You should base your risk assessment on the information from the venue, adding further controls as necessary to make your practices safe.
Organising dance outs and other performances
The main aim is to allow people to take part in or to watch a performance safely, with everyone two metres apart from those they do not live with.
- decide where and when you want to perform
- carry out a risk assessment for each location where you want to perform
- 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 perform
- 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 your performance, for instance if your audience is failing to comply with the social distancing rules.
Assessing the risks is a vital step to help you decide whether it is safe to perform and, if it is, what you need to do to perform safely.
Template Risk Assessment: Sally has developed a Template Risk Assessment for Performances (editable RTF), which covers all three tiers. You need to customise this to your team, event and venue; please start by reading these notes on How to use the Template Risk Assessments (PDF). If you already have your own risk assessment you can use the template to help make sure your assessment covers all the relevant issues.
If you live elsewhere in the UK other than England and want help with your risk assessment, contact Sally at email@example.com.
If you use the template, please send any comments, criticisms or suggestions for improvements to Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is always keen to get feedback. She will revise the template whenever the relevant government guidance is updated, so please check this page regularly.
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. Where practical, performers and the audience should be seated.
- Comply with the basic rules for your tier, as listed above. If you cannot make sure that there will be no mingling between groups/households that should not mix, you should not perform.
- Make sure your audience can socially distance and comply with the tier rules. You should decide in advance what you will do if your audience does not comply with the rules; you may need to stop performing. If necessary, limit the number of people watching.
- Perform outdoors, where the risk of transmission is much lower.
- Indoor performances with up to six people can be held in tier 1, but you must have good ventilation; keep doors and windows open where possible and run ventilation systems at all times.
- Limit the number of performers as far as possible. The more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.
- Avoid anyone being face-to-face.
- If performing indoors, wear face coverings as much as possible, including when performing, unless exempt. Audiences should also wear face coverings indoors. See Practices for more information about face coverings.
- 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.
- Comply with the guidance for singing and shouting on the Practices Page. This includes when making announcements to the audience.
- Indoors, do not allow anyone in the audience to join in any part of the performance, e.g. no singing, dancing or heckling. Outdoors, do not encourage anyone to join in.
- Musicians must always socially distance 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.
- 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 attend if they are reluctant.
- Keep a record of who in your team participates in a performance, in case it is required by NHS Test and Trace.
- 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 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 that can be used safely.
If you still have queries that the above doesn’t answer … please email email@example.com