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 email@example.com .
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The guidance below was made ‘out of date’ by announcements taking effect from 21st September.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
This only applies to England where there are no local restrictions and replaces earlier guidance, except the information about indoor practice venues.
The changes introduced by the government on 14th September mean that the legal limit for meeting people not in your household is now 6, indoors or outdoors. Friends and family should meet in groups of 6 or less, follow social distancing rules, limit how many different people they see over a short period of time and meet outdoors where practical.
There are some exceptions to the “rule of 6”, one of which is “organised sport or exercise classes”. This appears to allow morris practices to take place with more than 6 people, providing they are organised, have a risk assessment and are compliant with COVID-19 secure guidance, including social distancing.
One of the new requirements, however, is that people participating in organised sport or physical activity “must not mingle in groups of more than 6 before and after the activity.” This means that there should be no interaction before dancing, between dances or after dancing.
We have summarised the key points below of the relevant guidance, but we strongly recommend that you read the government guidance itself before deciding whether to practice with more than 6 people. The guidance details the controls that you need to put in place for your practices.
The guidance on what we can and can’t do says “You can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6. This can be in any public place – indoors or outdoors – or a private outdoor space like a garden; but not inside a private home. These activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity.” For all activities, “the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.”
The same guidance also says “Organised dance…classes can take place in groups of more than six, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you should limit your social interaction with other participants. The relevant indoor sport facilities guidance or outdoor guidance must be followed for these activities.”
The guidance for the performing arts has also been revised, clarifying the situation of non-professionals, who “can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.” Therefore, if your team cannot ensure that there is no interaction between groups of 6 people, you should not practice.
This is only our interpretation of the guidance. The JMO and EFDSS are going to contact the government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to seek clarification and to check that this interpretation is correct.
Classification: There has been some discussion on whether morris dancing should, or could, be classified as a sport, dance class or performing art under the government’s guidance. This now appears to be immaterial as the guidance and requirements for all three classifications are broadly similar.
Risk assessment: Before practising with more than 6 people, you must carry out a risk assessment. We had developed a template risk assessment for practices based on the previous guidance, and are now revising this to include the “rule of 6” and will issue it as soon as possible.
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. See also our page on Coronavirus Covid-19 – Dancing Out
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
Restarting Practices? (Updated on 25th August)
This update applies only to England, excluding any areas where there are local restrictions.
Following recent changes in government guidance, some morris teams may be planning to restart practices. This update should help you decide whether this is possible.
The basic rules on social distancing have not changed. This means:
- keeping at least two metres away from anyone not in your household
- up to two households can meet anywhere, with social distancing between households
- up to six people can meet outdoors, with social distancing.
However, we are now allowed to meet in larger groups (no more than 30 people) for community activities. Anyone meeting in a group of up to 30 must follow strict social distancing guidelines and keep to these key principles:
- limit the time you spend interacting with people from outside your household to the activity which you are taking part in
- limit the number of different activities which you take part in succession to reduce the potential chain of transmission
- limit group size to the minimum that allows the activity to take place
- maintain high standards of hand hygiene.
And, if you are organising the activity (e.g. a morris practice), you must carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment to identify actions which could minimise the risk of transmission and put those actions in place. We are developing a template risk assessment to help morris teams preparing to restart practices.
You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet, but please see the information below about face coverings and physical activity. All these requirements are in:
The risk of transmission is greater indoors, so practicing outdoors continues to be much the best option. But community facilities (e.g. community centres, village halls, etc.) can now re-open, provided the people who manage the facilities comply with the relevant guidance. See: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities
They must carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment and put COVID-19 Secure guidelines in place.
If your practice venue has reopened, then whoever manages it must tell you what they have done to minimise the risk of transmission and what you need to do while using their premises. The controls should cover all relevant issues, including social distancing, maximum capacities of the venue, safe access, vulnerable people, cleaning, hygiene and face coverings, use of toilets, ventilation, keeping records for NHS Test and Trace, etc. They should also give you a copy of their risk assessment.
If your practice venue has reopened and you wish to restart practices indoors, you are responsible for managing the risks arising from your activities, e.g. dancing and playing music. You need to carry out a risk assessment of what your team will be doing. This should identify what you need to do to practice safely, complying with the government guidance and minimising the risk of transmission. You should only restart practices if you can comply with the guidance, including maintaining two metre social distancing.
If your practice venue has not provided you with the necessary COVID-19 Secure guidelines and risk assessment, then it may not be possible for you to restart practices. We suggest you review the guidance for community facilities and for the performing arts (see below) before deciding what to do.
The guidance for the performing arts has been updated. It makes it clear that non-professionals should refer to this guidance for their activities. See: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts
It still requires non-professionals to maintain social distancing and to comply with the rules for meeting people outside their homes; we should not consider any activities that may lead to social distancing being compromised. But we can meet in larger groups, provided we comply with the guidance summarised above for meeting people outside our homes and this guidance for the performing arts. If you are planning to restart practices, please read this guidance first.
Singing and playing wind or brass instruments is no longer banned for non-professionals.
These are now required for most indoor places and should be worn at indoor practices. But they are not generally recommended when exercising.
The government guidance requires everyone to wear face coverings in community centres, but allows people to remove them if “there is a reasonable excuse”. This includes “if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it negatively impacts your ability to do so.” See: www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
This is also included in the guidance for community centres which says “Face coverings can be removed if users are undertaking exercise or an activity where it would negatively impact their ability to do so.” See: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities
Extract from Broadcast email sent to member contacts on 24th June 2020
There is also some helpful information from EMD-UK (Exercise Music and Dance), the national governing body for group exercise. First please visit their web page: Important Information from EMD-UK on Coronavirus Covid-19. (Note that Insurance terms for members of The Morris Federation are not the same as those offered by EMD-UK; for Insurance information read the section below.)
When it becomes possible to think about restarting practices indoors, do please read the EMD-UK Group Exercise Support Pack, looking at the section on ‘venues open’.
If you still have queries that the above doesn’t answer … please email firstname.lastname@example.org