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The Cabinet has recommended that the entire country moves to Level 3 from midnight tonight (Tuesday). Despite the necessity of such public health measures, the cancellation or postponement of arts events and live performances is very challenging for arts centres, production companies, and artists who have worked so hard to make work and adapt programmes in such difficult circumstances.

Many members have raised questions about interpreting the restrictions. Below is our understanding of the current Level 3 restrictions.

The most urgent are around whether Level 3 gathering restrictions apply to arts workers as well as audiences. We have had confirmation from the Arts Council that their understanding of Level 3 restrictions means that theatres, arts centres and venues may continue to operate as places of work for artists and arts workers, operating within all relevant occupational safety, health and welfare guidelines. This means that artists and arts workers in residence, developing, making, recording or rehearsing work in arts centres and theatres may continue to do so. Artists and arts workers are also able to travel for work purposes too.

Here’s more detail about these restrictions that apply to audiences and patrons attending indoor and outdoor events.

Indoor Organised Gatherings
This Arts Council’s summary of the 15 September Roadmap confirms that when Level 3 restrictions are in place, indoor museums, galleries and cultural attractions are closed, indoor gatherings in theatres and cinema as well as entertainment in hotels and other venues are prohibited.

Outdoor Organised Gatherings
At Level 3, and at Level 4, a limit of 15 people is allowed.

Drama & Dance classes 

We’ve had a lot of questions on this today from venues who host drama and dance classes. We’ve sought clarification from the Department this morning and have received the following answer:

  • No dance classes from Level 3 upwards.
  • No indoor gatherings from Level 3 upwards which applies to adults.

For children’s classes (other than dance) you can use the following;

Children’s Arts & Culture Activities  (excluding dance) Guidelines

Remain vigilant in relation to public health advice, specifically on hand hygiene, cough etiquette, physical distancing, face coverings and, how to identify and respond to signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Effectively communicate such advice to workers, volunteers and young people connected to the service.

All activities should have regard to all other relevant requirements and good practice e.g. child protection, safety and wellbeing of staff and volunteers.

Physical Distancing

  • A distance of 1 metre should be maintained between individual young people and teachers in children’s arts & culture activities and the setting consistent with advice for schools.
  • Organisers/ teachers  may wish to consider the following options to support physical distancing:
    1. Reconfigure spaces to maximise physical distancing;
    2. Utilise and reconfigure all available space in order to maximise physical distancing;
    3. Review operating times;
    4. Reconfigure groups;
    5. Consider use of live streaming; and
    6. Access available spaces within the local community.

Where working with physical distances of 1 metre, face coverings should be used.

  • Where possible, areas should be allocated consistently to the same youth workers and young people rather than having spaces that are shared.
  • If classes are divided into groups, there should be clear separation of groups to ensure there is no contact between the groups. The objective is to limit contact and sharing of common facilities between people in different groups as much as possible.
  • To the greatest extent possible, young people and teachers/organiser  should consistently be in the same groups.
  • Teachers / organisers  who move from group to group should be limited as much as possible.

Please note: Groups are inclusive of everyone involved with the group i.e. young people, teachers/organiser, and volunteers

You may operate from premises that you do not own or control. In these instances, services should liaise with the owner / operators to ensure all necessary guidance is followed to the satisfaction of both parties.

Organisers/ Teachers are responsible for the signage on facilities they operate in. Signage should be displayed on all occasions when the facility is being used. Temporary signs are advised for non-owned facilities.

The maximum size for a service should be calculated having regard to the space available. It should be based on ensuring that at least 1m physical distancing can be maintained, and take account of any other capacity restrictions, which may pertain in accordance with child protection or fire safety requirements. The table below illustrates the maximum group size allowable at each level and is inclusive of both young people and youth workers.

Maximum Group Sizes
Level 3 – Indoor 15; Outdoor 15
Level 4 – Indoor 15; Outdoor 15
Level 5 – Indoor 6; Outdoor 6

Additional measures for choirs, brass and wind instruments
Choir practice, teaching and performance, brass and wind instruments music group practice, teaching and performance should be done while maintaining very strict physical distancing of a minimum of 2 metres from other people, ideally.

  • Limit the duration of indoor practice, teaching and performance with frequent breaks to facilitate regular ventilation of rooms and instrument cleaning (where applicable);
  • Singers, choirs and musicians of brass and some woodwind instruments should consider protective equipment and measures to minimise the potential for droplet or aerosol emission (e.g. instrument covers, screens, face coverings etc).
  • Where group practice or performances are organised, a risk assessment should be carried out to minimise the risk to the participants and their audience, including bearing in mind the age profile and risk factors of the participants/audience in question.