Making Music member groups can return to activity if their area is in Level 2 or below within the restriction and guidance laid out below. In Scottish Government publications, groups are referred to under the heading of ‘non-professional performing arts’
Strategic Framework and Protection Levels
You can check which protection level your are is in using the Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland.
The summary information on what you can do at each level has been published: Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels.
It makes specific reference to non-professional performing arts in the “Leisure and entertainment section” as follows:
- Level 4 - closed.
- Level 3 - closed.
- Level 2 - Outdoor organised adult non-professional performing arts activities permitted.
- Level 1 – Indoor (and outdoor) organised adult non-professional performing arts activities permitted.
- Level 0 - Indoor (and outdoor) organised adult non-professional performing arts activities permitted.
What can groups do?
From 19 July, all of Scotland is in LEVEL 0
In Level 0, outdoors and indoors group music activity is permitted.
The physical distancing requirement at Level 0 is now 1m between households in all indoor and outdoor non-domestic premises.
Face coverings remain mandatory in most indoor communal places.
Groups must refer to guidance for the performing arts and venues sector for operational guidance (see below for summary).
Groups working with children and young people (under 18) must also refer to organised activities for children’s guidance (see below for summary).
In June, Scottish Government announced their aim to lift restrictions over the summer with indicative dates. The next indicative date is:
9 August - All major remaining COVID restrictions will be lifted if the necessary conditions on vaccination and harm reduction continue to be met. All physical distancing regulations lifted.
Post 9 August – In its updated strategic framework the government says: “As we move beyond Level 0 we must still ensure that sufficient measures are in place to manage the spread of the virus… (S)ome baseline measures which we currently expect to retain include:
- Good hand hygiene and surface cleaning.
- Continued promotion of good ventilation.
- Requirement for face coverings in certain settings (e.g. public transport, retail).
- Continued compliance with Test and Protect, including self-isolation when necessary.
- Ongoing need for outbreak management capability, including active surveillance..."
It is expected that post Level 0, all physical distancing regulations will be lifted.
More detail can be found in the updated strategic framework: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework update - June 2021
Guidance for performing arts (adults)
Scottish Government guidance revisions were published on 19 July and there is a section with an perational guide for non-professionals gathering for performing arts activities. It permits organised groups to undertake their activities “currently permitted in their local authority area, according to its protection level on the strategic framework”.
Definition of organised group: “Organised non-professional performing arts activity for adults (indoors or outdoors) should be managed by an organisation - including a business, charity or club.”
Where activity is permitted, organisers should ensure compliance with physical distancing; hygiene measures and completion of risk assessment processes and other measures and mitigations as referenced in the performing arts and venues guidance, including member/participant representatives in those processes.
Physical distancing and capacity:
In Level 0, the following applies:
- physical distancing of 1m in outdoor settings
- physical distancing of 1m in indoor settings
Physical distancing requirements will be removed when all areas in Scotland move beyond Level 0.
Guidance states: “Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring physical distancing … between participants/households and between organisers/leaders and support staff/volunteers and participants/households, and in accordance with the guidance and maximum numbers for events set out in the guidance on calculating physical distancing capacity in Public Settings.”
The maximum numbers at events are here. At Level 0, numbers are capped at:
- 1000 standing / 2000 seated outdoors
- 400 standing or seated indoors
Organisers must ensure physical distancing at all times and should refer to the guidance for calculating physical distancing capacity in public settings to establish maximum capacity possible in the premises or setting used. The number of music makers that can safely be accommodated in a venue is likely to be significantly smaller than the maximum stated in events guidance.
Operational guidance: Groups are permitted and required to operate under the same guidance as that provided for professional organisations “Organisers should undertake the same risk assessment processes as referenced in this guidance for professional organisations” and “non-professionals should follow all relevant operational guidance provided for professional performing arts organisations as well as that provided for non-professionals.”
Some steps that will usually be needed are provided, including (this is an extract):
- Keep a record of attenders for 21 days to support Test and Protect.
- Make sure that participants do not attend if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or when advised to self-isolate.
- Observe the required physical distancing between each participant/household and any others attending, such as conductors, accompanists or audiences (where permitted). (measured from the edge of a performer’s chair)
- Use back-to-back or side-to-side positioning of performers (rather than face-to-face)
- Limit the duration of rehearsals and performances
- Avoid exposure of attenders through using alternative programmes, technology or adapting, re-arranging or re-orchestrating for fewer participants.
- Consider using screens or barriers in addition to physical distancing.
- Determine what level of monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms or for COVID-19 is required to achieve as reasonable a level of risk mitigation as possible.
- Ensure there is a clear policy in place for managing a COVID-19 positive individual
Operational guidance for professional organisations: There is additional guidance for professional organisations that non-professionals are required to follow in the whole guidance document. This includes a section on ensuring physical distancing at all times.
In the section called People involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting events there is guidance:
- On singing "...steps should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, including limiting the number of people participating and increasing ventilation.”
- On playing music “Face coverings should be worn wherever possible unless exempt. Where wearing a face covering is not practical, for example, when playing some instruments, other mitigations such as screens, physical distancing, etc should be considered. Since face coverings have been shown to reduce the mass of aerosol expelled during singing, their use should be considered as additional precautionary mitigation.”
- On handling musical instruments etc – (extract):
- using designated storage for large instrument cases; musicians with smaller instruments keep cases under their seat
- avoiding sharing professional equipment wherever possible and place name labels on equipment, for example, percussionists maintaining their own sticks and mallets.
- handling of music scores, parts and scripts to be limited to the individual using them
- if equipment has to be shared, regularly disinfecting it (including any packing cases, handles, props, chairs and music stands) and always between users
- cleaning of musical instruments by musicians, where possible
- creating picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and mics hand-to-hand
- not permitting audience onto the stage or to touch equipment, props, instruments, set or other objects used by performers
Singing and Wind instruments: there are no additional restrictions placed on singing or the playing of wind instruments (woodwind/brass/pipes) specified in this guidance. However, groups should put in place all recommended mitigations to protect against the higher risks presented by aerosol transmission.
Members should read all guidance for professionals and non-professionals relevant to their activity and include mitigations in their risk assessments.
A full revision of organised activities for children’s guidance was published on 25 May and updated on 19 July. Revisions were made to follow the recommendations of the Advisory Sub-group, which groups organising music activity for children should also referred to.
The guidance and sub-group advise that the following restrictions apply within the levels of the strategic framework:
Lower risk activities, such as music activities with percussion, keyboards, strings and guitars, can take place outdoors and indoors in Levels 0 – 3.
Higher risk activities (singing, playing of woodwind or brass instruments):
- Level 3 - ELC to Primary 3 (children under 8) ONLY - activity outdoors and indoors is permitted.
- Level 2 - ELC and primary aged children (children under 12) - activity outdoors and indoors is permitted. Secondary aged young people - activity outdoors is permitted.
- Level 1 and 0 - ELC, primary aged children and secondary aged young people - activity outdoors and indoors is permitted.
Organisations are required to risk assess activity and apply mitigations to reduce risk. Activities should only take place with all mitigations in place. This is particularly important with those activities labelled as ‘high-risk’ because of the potential for aerosol production. The guidance identifies a ‘hierarchy of risk’:
“outdoors being safer than indoors; activities undertaken at low volume or that have lower respiratory exertion being safer than aerosol-generating activities; individual or small numbers involved being safer than large groups; activities involving no sharing of equipment being safer than those that do (or where equipment cannot be cleaned thoroughly between uses); and activities which can be done at a distance (or virtually) being safer than those in close proximity. Shorter duration carries lower risk than longer duration.”
Organised groups are required to follow information on how to lower the risk in these guidances:
Additional mitigations to reduce the risk of ‘high-risk’ activities include physical distancing, ventilation and smaller groups.
Physical distancing and capacity
The guidance has a section on capacity and physical distancing that advises:
“At Level 0, all adults in settings should stay one metre apart in line with physical distancing principles… staff, parents and carers (and any other adults who may attend the setting), older siblings and any external contractors or delivery people. The household gathering restrictions do not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of organised activities.
Physical distancing requirements will be removed when all areas in Scotland move beyond Level 0, subject to review.”
On capacity, guidance states:
“We are not advising a maximum limit on the number of persons that are permitted at any one time, as the size and capacity of venues will vary. However, providers must ensure that the number of persons they allow in their venues or where their service is delivered, at one time can be safely accommodated with physical distancing in place… Service providers should assess the number of individuals (staff, volunteers, children and young people, parents) that can safely be accommodated in a setting at any one time, using the guidance set out here.“
This is referred to as “physical distance based capacity” (PDBC). The guidance also identifies other factors that will be important to consider in determining capacity and organisers should use the guidance to establish maximum capacity possible in the premises used.