Covid-19: Can my group get back to in-person activities?

The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) released Covid-19 guidelines (10 July) for how professional music groups can get back to rehearsing and performing again in England, but this does not apply to non-professional groups. We are still awaiting guidance from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This means the guidance is a different for what you can and can’t do, depending on what type of group you are and where you are in the UK.

The tool below will help you identify which bit of guidance is relevant to you, and help you establish what your group can and cannot do.

The situation is ever changing, so please always check the latest official guidance, including local variations, before making and implementing any plans.

Published 13 July 2020

Updated:

  • 31 July
    • England (performing other and promoter)
    • Scotland (promoting)
    • 3 August - Wales (performing and promoting)
  • 7 August (Northern Ireland – all)

 

What country is your group based in?

What type of group are you? 

The DCMS guidance says: 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.

The official guidance is clear, and your group cannot organise any in person rehearsals. 

What can groups do? 

Read the official guidance

The DCMS guidance applies to professionals only. So the advice and measures about how music groups can meet should not be applied by non-professional groups. 

However, only singing, wind and brass non-professional groups are specifically mentioned as not being able to meet at all. 

This means other performing groups can meet, but this must be in line with official advice about how friends and family can meet socially. The DCMS guidance refers to the official government advice on this, which allows for: 

  • Outdoors: six people from different households. No limit on how many from two households 
  • Indoors: Two households 
  • Social distancing: 2m ideally, but at least 1m plus 
  • It also says (‘Gathering in larger groups’ section):

"You can also meet in larger groups for weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies and services, community activities and support groups - which should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 secure guidelines.

It is otherwise against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). Businesses and venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host larger groups. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment.:

Additionally the Gatherings in COVID-19 secure venues section of the same guidance it says: 

"Clubs or groups can begin to meet again in COVID-19 secure venues. However, you should take care to remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or is not in your support bubble. You should also limit social interaction with anyone outside of these formal activities even if you see other people you know. Venues should ensure they comply with COVID-19 secure guidelines."

Please note: the guidance does give further advice in relation to the above which we suggest you read

Some other government guidance: Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do (which the DCMS guidance does not refer directly to), states (section 3.8):

"Can I attend an activity club or support group?

Yes, you can. Premises such as activity clubs, community centres and youth clubs can reopen, and should follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. It is important to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene in these circumstances. Outside of these formal activities, to help control the virus, you should limit your interactions with those you don’t live with."

What can groups do? 

  • You can have small outdoor rehearsals of up to six members. 
  • The guidance for larger numbers is less clear:
    • outdoor community activities of up to 30 are ok.
    • outdoor events organised by charities can have more than this. It is unclear what is meant by event, and whether this would include a rehearsal.
  • Activity clubs and community centres can have indoor activities. It is not 100% clear either way if this includes music groups. However, the government guidance: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities states (section 3.c):

“At this time, community facilities should not permit indoor performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.” Which suggest rehearsals are ok.

  • If your group is planning any activity you should carry out a risk assessment, follow Covid Secure guidelines and have measures in place to minimise risk. See our planning for the future resource for more information. We are producing guidance to help with this and carrying out risk assessments.
  • You can plan for how to return safely in greater numbers when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. 
  • You can help Making Music to put pressure on the Government so non-professional groups are allowed to assess and manage the risks for their own group.  

Read the official guidance

 

The DCMS guidance applies to professionals only. This means promoting groups that arrange performance by professionals can start to put on events again. 

At the moment this means: 

  • Performances for broadcast and recording purposes - such as live streaming. Read the Making Music guidance on livestreaming, including our livestreaming subsidy.
  • Performances outdoors in public spaces with an audience, of no more than 30 people, with social distancing measures in place. 
  • The guidance (section 5.2) also says, for performances outdoors:

Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. 

Groups planning outdoor performances should follow DCMS guidance on managing performances. We are also working on guidance to help groups do risk assessments. 

Prvate homes: the DCMS guidance says; 

It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). 

Indoor performances: DCMS will be working with selected organisations on a pilot for indoor performances. It was initially planned for indoor performances to be possible by 1 August. on 31 July these plans were put on pause for at least a fortnight. So indoor concerts are not currently possible. 

Read the official guidance

 

At the moment there is no specific guidance in Scotland for music groups. This means groups can meet in line with general official advice about how friends and family can meet socially as follows.

  • Outdoors: up to 15 people from five households
  • Indoors: Eight people from three households 
  • Social distancing: 2m 

What can groups do? 

    • Have small outdoor rehearsals of up to five members from different households, or up to 15 as long as they don’t represent more than five households in total. If your group is planning to do this, make sure you carry out a risk assessment and have measures in place to minimise risk. See our planning for the future resource for more information.
    • Plan for how to return safely in greater numbers when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. 
    • You can help Making Music to put pressure on the Government so non-professional groups are allowed to assess and manage the risks for their own group. 

    Read the official guidance

     

    Live outdoor events are planned in phase 3 of Scotland’s plan. Although the plan is currently in phase 3, changes are being introduced in stages. 

    The First Minister in her statement to parliament on 30 July gave indicative dates for a return to activity for the performing arts, to help the sector to plan.

    “From 24 August, we hope that live events (including concerts) will be allowed outdoors, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted numbers.

    We hope that entertainment sites and cultural venues such as theatres and live music venues will … reopen from 14 September, with physical distancing in place.”

    Read more about phase 3 indicative dates.  

    What can groups do? 

    • Organise online livestream performances, with artists performing from their own homes. Read the Making Music guidance on livestreaming, including our livestreaming subsidy.
    • Plan for how to return safely when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. We are also working on guidance to help groups do risk assessments. 

    Read the official guidance.  

     

    At the moment there is no specific guidance in Wales for music groups. This means groups can meet in line with general official advice about how friends and family can meet socially as follows.

    • Outdoors: the guidance says "Gatherings of up to 30 people are now permitted outdoors. But you should continue to maintain physical and social distancing from people outside your household, or extended household if you have formed one (subject to what is said about young children above)." (3rd August)
    • Indoors: two households can form one extended household 
    • Social distancing: 2m 

    What can groups do? 

    • Hold outdoor rehearsals with up to 30 people people. 
    • Plan for how to return safely in larger groups and indoors when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. We are also working on guidance to help groups do risk assessments. 
    • You can help Making Music to put pressure on the Welsh Government so non-professional groups are allowed to assess and manage the risks for their own group. 

     Read the official guidance.  

     

    Gatherings indoors or in public places are not allowed to exceed the below. 

    • Outdoors: the guidance says "Gatherings of up to 30 people are now permitted outdoors. But you should continue to maintain physical and social distancing from people outside your household, or extended household if you have formed one (subject to what is said about young children above)." (3rd August) 
    • Indoors: two household can form one extended household 
    • Social distancing: 2m 

    What can groups do? 

    • Hold outdoor concerts of up to 30 people people (in total). 

    • Organise online live stream performances, with artists performing from their own homes. Read the Making Music guidance on livestreaming, including our live streaming subsidy. 

    • Plan for how to return safely in larger groups and indoors when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. We are also working on guidance to help groups do risk assessments. 

    Read the official guidance.  

     

    The Arts Council Northern Ireland document: In the Bubble of Our Making: Reopening the Arts in Northern Ireland (based on official guidance) applies to professionals only. This means promoting groups that arrange performance by professionals can start to put on events again. 

    The document says (page 48): Given the lower risk of transmission in an outdoor setting, consider the use of an outdoor performance space.

    Indoor performanaces are not currently allowed but preparations are taking place and are hoped to return on 1 September.

    What can groups do? 

    • Hold outdoor performances.
      • The audience size allowed will depend on local District Council guidance. 
      • Groups planning outdoor performances will have to complete and risk assessment and engage with local stakeholders. Read the Arts Council's document (page 60) to find out more. We are also working on guidance to help groups do risk assessments. 
    • Groups can organise online livestream performances, with artists performing from their own homes. Read the Making Music guidance on livestreaming, including our live streaming subsidy.
    • Plan for how to return safely in larger groups and indoors when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. We are also working on guidance to help groups do risk assessments. 

    Read the official guidance.  

     

    The Arts Council Northern Ireland document: In the Bubble of Our Making: Reopening the Arts in Northern Ireland (based on official guidance) says (page 29): 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. 

    The official guidance is clear, and your group cannot organise any in person rehearsals. 

    What can groups do? 

    The Arts Council Northern Ireland document: In the Bubble of Our Making: Reopening the Arts in Northern Ireland (based on official guidance) says (page 29)

    Non-professionals (meaning those participating in performing arts other than for work purposes), or groups which include non-professionals, may refer to this guidance for their activities, but must at all times do so in line with government legislation and guidance on meeting people outside your household.

    The government guidance on meeting people outside your household says: 

    Indoors: up to 10 people, from four households can meet indoors in private homes.
    Outdoors:  Up to 30 people can meet up outdoors but you should maintain social distancing by being at least two metres apart

    What can groups do? 

    • You can have small indoor rehearsals of up to 10 members from four different households.
    • Rehearsals of up to 30 people outdoors 
    • If your group is planning to do either of these things carry out a risk assessment and follow government advice on safety measures to minimise risk. See our planning for the future resource for more information. We are producing guidance to help with carrying out risk assessments.
    • You can plan for how to return safely in greater numbers when the official guidance changes. See our planning for the future resource for more information. 
    • You can help Making Music to put pressure on the Northern Ireland Executive so non-professional groups are allowed to assess and manage the risks for their own group.  

    Read the official guidance