This page has been compiled by Sally Wearing, the Morris Federation’s Health & Safety 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.
These pages try to help with two main questions from teams: 1) how can we make it safe for everyone at a practice or a performance and still keep within the government’s guidance, and 2) are we covered by our Public Liability Insurance and Personal Accident Insurance? Please note: Not following the guidance in place at the time could invalidate your insurance and/or bring the morris into disrepute.
When the time feels right, it is wise to seek the views of the team before re-starting in-person practices or performances. Some 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 is one for your own team to make.
In the meantime, many teams are using video conferencing software to keep in touch, run practices and even having dance-outs at home with other teams.
See all our Covid-19 pages:
Update on 27th February
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.
The government has published COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021, which sets out how it intends lifting the current lockdown. It is not detailed, but it gives a step-by-step plan to cautiously easing the restrictions in England. Things might change, but this is a summary of how it may affect morris in the next few months.
Step 1, 29th March: people will be allowed to meet outside in groups of up to six people (the ‘rule of six’) or with one other household. This will apply in all outdoor locations and means that outdoor morris practices can restart with up to six people. People from different households will still have to socially distance.
Step 2, no earlier than 12th April: no change for morris, as the rule of six will continue outdoors and households will still not be able to mix indoors.
Step 3, no earlier than 17th May: up to 30 people will be allowed to meet outdoors, and up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors. The government has said it will update its advice on social distancing by Step 3, so it is not yet known what will be required. But it appears that practices and, possibly, performances may be allowed outdoors with up to 30 people, and indoor practices with up to six.
Step 4, no earlier than 21st June: all legal limits on social contact should be removed, but there will still be guidance on how to reduce the risk of transmission.
Apart from Step 1, all of the dates are subject to review. They depend on an assessment of the data against the four tests set out in the Response document. If any step is delayed, then subsequent steps will be pushed back.
The relevant detailed guidance has not yet been updated, but when it is, we will review it and publish further updates as soon as possible. We will also update the risk assessment(s). The government has said it will give a week’s notice before changes are made; hopefully that means that the guidance will also be published a week in advance!
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
Risk Assessment Templates now available on the Practices and Performances pages.
Update on 11th December
This only applies to England. All the guidance has been updated to cover all the three tiers. The first link in the list below gives more information on what you can and cannot do in each tier.
This guidance changes frequently; please check it regularly for updates.
- Local restriction tiers: what you need to know
- Full list of local restriction tiers by area
- Performing arts
- Community facilities
- Face coverings
- Principles of safer singing
- Under 18s – out of school settings
If anyone needs advice for other areas, please contact Sally Wearing at firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to/from DCMS
Here is the correspondence between the JMO and the government Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS):
- Letter from JMO to DCMS, 26th October 2020
- Letter from DCMS to JMO, 9th November 2020
- Letter from JMO to DCMS, 19th November 2020
There has been some discussion on whether morris dancing should or could be classified as an organised team sport, in order to get government approved guidance published. However, the current legal requirements and guidance for the performing arts and for sports are similar, so there is no advantage to be classified as a team sport. The performing arts guidance is more suitable for morris and related activities.