The following was circulated by Eddie Redfern to all LTG Members Reps on Thursday 24 September. The text highlighted in the email is replicated below.
I have just finished a meeting of SOLT/UK Theatre’s ‘Theatre Safety Committee’ where ABTT, Theatres Trust and SOLT/UK Theatre agree with the LTG position that theatres can continue with rehearsals and performances in a COVID-secure location, providing no individual group is greater than six and such groups should not mingle. So in practice you can operate a cast and crew with social distancing, plus an audience and FOH teams.
DCMS has still not amended its guidance since 18th September. Link HERE.
Confirmed that from 14 September non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.
Cabinet Office COVID FAQ’s are available HERE.
Relevant sections are:
2.10 When can I gather in groups of more than 6?
If you live in a household with more than 6 people, you can continue to gather in and attend all settings together. This same applies for your support bubble. All venues should continue to accommodate groups larger than 6 who live together or are in the same support bubble.
There are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people, including:
- for work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- registered childcare, education or training
- supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
- providing support to a vulnerable person
- providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
- fulfilling a legal obligation such as attending court or jury service
- weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions – from 28 September, up to 15 people, in a public place
- funerals – up to 30 people. From 28 September, this does not include wakes (which are subject to the rule of 6), other than for religious ceremonial purposes
- organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity, and supervised sporting activity (indoors or outdoors) for under-18s. Organised indoor sport or exercise classes can take place in larger numbers, provided groups of more than 6 do not mix. Organised indoor team sports for disabled people can take place in any number.
- elite sporting competition and training
- support groups up to 15 – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
- protests – if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance. All individuals must be socially distanced.
Where a group includes someone covered by one of these exemptions, they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, that a tradesperson can go into a household of six without breaching the limit if they are there for work.
2.15 Can I gather in a group of more than 6 for childcare?
There is an exemption to the legal gatherings limit for the purposes of education, training, formal registered childcare, and supervised activities for children (including before and after school clubs, or other out-of-school setting provision for children.
Youth groups and other children’s groups are also exempt from the gatherings limit. Family and friends can continue to provide informal childcare as long as groups from different households don’t exceed 6 people and the activity is strictly limited to childcare needs.
3.10 Can I send my teenagers to their youth club?
Yes, you can. However, you should advise your children to maintain social distancing, wash their hands regularly and limit social interaction outside of these formal activities with anyone they do not live with.
The club should also follow COVID-19 Secure guidance.
3.13 Can I go to the theatre or a concert?
You can now attend indoor and outdoor performances, for example dramatic, musical or comedy shows.
If you are watching the performance, you should:
- only attend in a group of no larger than 6, unless attending with those you live with or your support bubble
- socially distance from people you do not live with (or who are not in your support bubble)
3.18 Can I go to my hobby club / amateur musical group / other leisure activity?
- It is against the law to gather in groups of more than 6, where people are from different households or support bubbles. Some activities – such as those organised for under-18s – are exempt. In a COVID-19 Secure venue or public outdoor place, non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time.
- If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.
5.2 What are the ‘COVID-19 Secure’ safety guidelines workplaces have to put in place?
We have set out clear, practical steps that businesses should take to ensure they are COVID-19 Secure and customers are confident to visit.
From 24 September it will become law for certain businesses to put in place key COVID-19 Secure measures:
- licensed food and drink venues (except take-aways) must provide table service to prevent customers queuing to order, and customers must be seated when consuming food and drink on the premises
- the following venues will have restricted opening hours, requiring closure to the public between 10pm and 5am: businesses selling food or drinks (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres of facilities), fun fairs, theme parks, adventure parks, and bingo halls. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so as long as this is through delivery service or drive-thru.
- cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open after 10pm, only if the performance started before 10pm. They should not serve food or drink after this time.
From 28 September further measures will become law:
- a wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres and close contact settings will be subject to COVID19 Secure requirements in law. This includes ensuring customers observe the rule of six, and appropriate social distancing through signage, layout, and managing customer entry.
- businesses must remind customers to wear face coverings where mandated.
Employers will be banned from requiring self-isolating employees from coming to work.