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 .
We’ve been getting queries from teams eager to get back to practising and dancing out. The two main questions are 1) how can we make it safe for everyone at a practice or dance out and still keep within the government’s guidance, and 2) are we covered by our Public Liability Insurance and our Personal Accident Insurance? The guidance below is updated as the government guidance changes.
When the guidance does change and the time feels right, it will be wise to seek the views of the team before re-starting practices or dance outs. Some team participants may have vulnerable relatives at home, or underlying health conditions of their own, and may be unwilling to participate. Ultimately the decision on when to restart practices and dance outs is one for your own team to make.
Please note that not following the guidelines in place at the time may invalidate your insurance and/or bring the morris into disrepute.
In answer to a question about Football (3rd August)
Question: Why can there be large games of amateur football, but no morris dancing?
Reply: Guidance from sports-governing bodies has to be reviewed and approved by Public Health England. Sports England’s website says “Team sports can … restart when each sport’s National Governing Body (NGB) has published a government-approved action plan and related guidance on playing safely.” As The Morris Federation (MF) and the Joint Morris Organisations are not NGBs, we don’t think they can get their guidance approved.
EFDSS is the recognised NGB in England for folk dance. But EFDSS have not produced any guidance themselves: their website says that they are not public health experts and they recommend that people follow the latest government advice.
Therefore, MF’s guidance to teams has to comply with what it says in the government guidance: “Team sports that do not have approved guidance should not be played. Instead, people should train together and take part in activities, such as conditioning or fitness sessions in groups of no more than 6 people (outdoors) or 2 households (in any setting). You should socially distance from people you do not live with.” www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july
Added on 25th July 2020
Note: All of this applies to England, excluding any areas with local lockdowns.
In summary you should not:
- socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles
- interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship.
Team sports that do not have approved guidance should not be played if you cannot socially distance from people you do not live with. Instead, people should train together and take part in activities such as conditioning or fitness sessions in groups of no more than six people (outdoors) or two households (in any setting).
Supplementary page on dancing out (20th July)
Considering how you can dance out with a small team, socially distanced, safely and within the government guidance? See our supplementary page (for England, excluding any areas with local lockdowns): Advice for sides who are considering performing outdoors
In answer to a question about Wales (17th July)
Wales – Up to 30 people are allowed to play sport outside, but only if it is an “organised activity”.
There are a lot of stringent requirements and conditions that have to be met for 30 people to play sport outside in Wales. It has to be an “organised activity”; I’ve reviewed the relevant guidance (which is extensive so hard to summarise here!) and I think it would be very difficult for a morris team to meet the criteria for an “organised activity”.
The activity must be outdoors and “organised by a business, a public body or charitable institution, a club, or the national governing body of sport or other activity.” Clubs are defined as sport clubs and other organisations that provide regular access to sporting activities, which could include morris clubs.
But any club that wants to restart with more than two households is responsible for implementing the guidance. There are a wide range of requirements that must be met, e.g. maintaining social distancing, seeking independent advice from medical practitioners before restarting the activity, complying with Test/Trace/Protect, developing a COVID-19 plan (based on a careful, phased approach to restarting) and risk assessment, appointing key accountable officers, establishing a timetable for re-opening, providing protective equipment, disinfecting equipment, etc. Overall, the club has to make sure that the activity can take place safely, conforming to the Welsh Government legislation and guidance.
If the club cannot comply with all the guidance, then only two separate households can meet outside in Wales, with the usual 2 metre social distancing.
You can find the detailed guidance at https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance#section-39253 and https://gov.wales/sport-recreation-and-leisure-guidance-phased-return
Added on 12th July 2020
The main points are summarised below. All of this applies to England, excluding any areas with local lockdowns.
The situation is that both outdoor practices and performances can restart from 11th July, and indoor practices from 25th July, however the usual social distancing rules still apply to morris dancers in all circumstances. You still need to stay 2 metres away from anyone who is not a member of your own household. Outdoors, you can meet in groups of up to 6 people from different households; alternatively, groups of people from up to 2 households can meet up inside or outside. This severely limits what can actually be done, both in practice and performance.
In answer to a question on 13th July
For example, if you have a set of six dancers from more than two households, they can only practice outdoors, but they still have to stay at least two metres away from each other. The only way you could have six dancers AND one musician is if they come from only two households. If they don’t, then six is the maximum number.
Please note that not following the guidance in place at the time may invalidate your insurance or bring the morris into disrepute.
Points to note are:
- The new guidance allows providers of “grassroot sports” and gym/leisure facilities to reopen but only if they are ready to do so and can do so safely. This applies to outdoor sports and physical activity from 11 July and indoor dance studios from 25 July. The definition of grassroot sports appears to include morris dancing, so practices could restart. But this guidance makes it clear that activities can only restart if they can be done safely, saying that it may be necessary to suspend or modify activities “that are not permitted or cannot be undertaken without contravening social distancing guidelines within available facilities”. www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities
- None of the new guidance or the lifting of restrictions changes any of the social distancing rules. The guidance for meeting people outdoors from outside your household has been updated to include team sports, but it still has the same limits for how many people you can meet. It says “Team sports that do not have approved guidance should not be played. Instead, people should train together and take part in activities, such as conditioning or fitness sessions in groups of no more than 6 people (outdoors) or 2 households (in any setting). You should socially distance from people you do not live with.” www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july
- The guidance for the public on outdoor sport and recreation also continues the existing rules. It says “People who play team sports can now meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in wholly separate groups of no more than 6 and follow social distancing guidelines.” www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-phased-return-of-outdoor-sport-and-recreation#individual-sports
- From 11 July, performances outdoors with a socially distanced audience can take place in line with the guidance. The extensive guidance gives many details about how to mitigate the risk of transmission, but it is intended for professionals. It says “It is not recommended for non-professionals to consider activities that require social distancing to be compromised”. So while outdoor performances are possible, the usual social distancing rules still apply. Any morris performances would have to be six people or fewer, with everyone two metres apart at all times. Probably only jigs and clog stepping are possible, as any set dance would need to be changed radically in order to maintain social distancing. And teams would also have to minimise the risks for their audiences. www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts
- The same guidance says that “Non-professionals should not currently engage in singing or playing wind and brass instruments with other people given these activities pose a potentially higher risk of transmission and whilst research is ongoing.” This means no singing, wind or brass playing at practices or performances. And no indoor performances: “At this time, venues should not permit indoor performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience”.
If you still have queries that the above doesn’t answer … please email email@example.com
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’.
Insurance during & after lockdown
Our Insurance Advisor, Michael Stimpson has provided the following summary for teams. He writes:
“I have been asked to write a note to all Sides in the Morris Federation, Morris Ring and Open Morris regarding the effect Covid19 has on Morris activity. The simple answer is almost none.
Our Brokers remind us that the most important thing is that Sides, both at practice and whilst dancing out, should follow any Government or Council guidelines in force at the time.
The only area where Sides have to take care as lockdown is relaxed is making sure, when dancing out, that a clearly defined space exists between the Side and members of the public and no members of the public should be allowed in the dance area or, indeed, join in.
I have had a number of questions over the past few weeks and will share some of these with you.
You should remember that there are two separate policies involved.
Public Liability (PL) covers your Side whilst performing or at practice against claims made by Third parties for injury, loss or damage caused.
Optional Personal Accident (PA), which many Sides have (*see note), provides cover for Side members insured under the scheme for accidents caused whilst dancing at an event or at practice or in transit to or from either location.
Ed – (*) Note for Side members: Personal Accident insurance is optional, and you would need to contact your Side to find out if you are covered.
If I am injured in my home practicing whilst watching a dance instruction video, am I covered? No, you are covered as described above whilst taking part in a Side event.
If we are having a Side Zoom practice and I damage something in my home, can I claim? No – the PL policy covers claims made by a Third Party only. If your household policy covers accidental damage you may be able to make a claim with your own Insurers.
If a Side is dancing out, and following social distancing, are they covered for Public Liability? Yes.
If my Side makes a video to teach Morris, are we covered? Unable to see any potential claim here. Your Side is covered as described above.
If we are having a Zoom practice and one of our members is injured, are we covered under the Personal Accident policy? It depends on how the accident happened of course but in most cases the answer here would be yes.
If we are having a Zoom practice and an onlooker is injured, is the Side covered? Each situation would be taken on its own merits but, in principal, yes, if it is a Side event.
Covid19 does not alter the cover you have and it is important to consider the COVER PROVIDED as laid out above.
Do remember though that Insurers can avoid a claim if you were breaking the law at the time of the loss so Social Distancing may come into play here.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ring me, Michael Stimpson, any afternoon or early evening Monday to Friday on 01923 770425 or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org”