ABTT Guidance Notes on COVID-19
Guidance Note 101: COVID-19 Risk Assessments for Returning to Work in Places of Entertainment
(To be read in conjunction with ABTT Guidance Note 102 etc)
Guidance Note 102: COVID-19 Returning to Work Support Information
(To be read in conjunction with ABTT Guidance Note 101)
Guidance Note 103: COVID-19 Production and Technical Departments Safe Working Procedures
(To be read in conjunction with ABTT Guidance Note 101)
Downloadable Resources on getting back to work:
The below documents and links are working documents provided by organisations and companies attempting to work safely in our Industry. These documents must only be taken in the context of which the companies have created them. While the ABTT would like to ensure these documents are shared and available for the public, we must emphasise that these are in development and should not be considered as codes of practice or standards which the ABTT as we usually create and publish. We cannot take responsibility for the accuracy of the content, though the ABTT intend to contribute towards national guidelines in the future.
Performing Arts DCMS guidance had some recent amendments with the government reversing two of the changes that were made to the last revision. Removing the requirement to keep 2m distance at the edge of auditorium balconies and reverting the requirement to collect contact details for all audience members back to just the lead booker for Test & Trace purposes.
Online COVID-19 Resources:
Coronavirus Recovery Updates and Guidance – available for SOLT Members
Coronavirus Recovery Updates and Guidance – available for UK Theatre Members
TheatreMeansBusiness.info is an online platform created by SOLT & UK Theatre which highlights a range of live and recorded webinars to equip the theatre industry with the tools to begin rebuilding after the COVID-19 lockdown ends.
Call for evidence on Life After Covid: The long-term implications of the pandemic for our economy and our society
SOLT & UK Theatres ‘See It Safely’ toolkit
This includes our safety mark, audience information video, website copy and signage that you can use to show your audiences that your venue is COVID-19 compliant. The toolkit is available to SOLT and UK Theatre member venues. To receive the toolkit, you will need to complete this form to show that your venue has taken the necessary measures and is operating in line with the Government guidelines and Public Health guidance. If you have any issues with the form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We thought it would be helpful to show you what is included in the See It Safely toolkit so you can get an understanding of the scheme before applying. Please download the Powerpoint here which you can share with colleagues.
SOLT & UK Theatres have released a COVID-19 FAQ document which supports the official DCMS guidance.
SOLT/UK Theatre and Equity Creatives Agreements (Designers, Directors and Choreographers) – COVID-19 Variation Agreement
SOLT/UK Theatre and Equity have worked together to agree a variation to the agreements for set and costume designers, lighting designers, choreographers and directors, which is designed to assist with the recovery of the industry and to provide members with more confidence when looking to contract creatives for future productions during these uncertain times. Other than stated in the document, all of the other terms and conditions remain as set out in the relevant agreements.
UK Theatre/MU Agreement – COVID-19 Variation Agreement
UK Theatre and the MU have concluded a Variation Agreement which provides for modifications to the UK Theatre/MU Agreement. The changes are designed to enable Theatres to re-open as soon as is practicable, and to help the industry rebuild and re-establish rewarding, sustainable and secure employment.
Other than stated in the document, all of the other terms and conditions remain as set out in the UK Theatre/MU Agreement.
Reopening roadmaps – across the UK
- Scotland – The wider framework can be viewed and the Phase three update (Published 30 July) extract is below:
‘The following are indicative dates only – conditional on 10 September review: With effect from Monday 14 September: Other indoor entertainment venues (e.g. theatres, live music/concert venues) following guidance such as with physical distancing requirements.’
See page 6 for the flow chart. These indicative dates will be delayed if the status of the epidemic deteriorates in Scotland.
The Scottish government on Friday 21 August published their guidance for the performing arts and venues sector both professional and non-professional and it sets out the expectations on what businesses and organisations of all sizes and sub-sectors need to consider as part of their planning for restart.
- Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland’s recovery plan can be found here. Again the details of Phase Three, which includes theatres, can be seen here on page 5. In addition, yesterday Arts Council NI published their guidance manual, to support the safe reopening of arts performance venues, closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can download the manual.The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today has also opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP) in a second call to arts and cultural organisations across Northern Ireland.
- Wales – Guidance for a phased return can be seen here and reopening guidance for tourism and hospitality can be seen here.
Find out if you are eligible for support from the Welsh Cultural Recovery Fund
The Eligibility Checker for the Cultural Recovery Fund went live on Tuesday 1 September. There will also be a £7 million fund for freelancers to support individuals in the sector who have been impacted by the pandemic. Please visit the eligibility checker to find more detail for this fund.
The Welsh Government have published guidelines on performing and rehearsing in the arts sector and taking part in the performing arts. At present Theatres and Concert Halls are unable to open, this guidance has been developed to set out principles to be considered in order to support the return to work.
- England – On the 31st July the Prime Minister announced that some of the proposed changes to the rules in August will be postponed for at least a fortnight. As a reminder, you can see the stages plan at the bottom of this release from government on 11 July. They also updated their guide to working safely. Their Roadmap can be found here.
Performing Arts Guidance – Updates
Two key changes were made in the regulations and guidance on 14th October:
- Cinemas, theatres and concert halls will be mandated to either collect Test and Trace data or display the QR code for the Test and Trace App. Whilst some venues are already voluntary collecting these details as per the guidance, it will now become mandatory for these venues to do so.
- In Tier 1 (Medium) and Tier 2 (High) theatres, concert halls and cinemas will be exempt from requiring people to be seated whilst ordering food and drink. This will be a change to the current table service regulations which will remain in force until 14th October.
NOTE – This has NOT been updated as yet in the online guidance, but we expect it will be updated further this week.
Relevant Media Coverage:
Oliver Dowden – Emergency money won’t save every job
Theatre boss response to support package
Outdoor theatre but no panto: Christmas Panto in doubt
NY Times: UK announces $2 billion bailout to help the Arts afloat:
Interview with Michael Harrison: Panto Boss gives Dowden a deadline to save crucial festive season.
C4 News – Oliver Dowden: 1.5 billion support package by UK Government
C4 News Kwame Kwei-Armah: The economics of social distancing still only allow a 30% capacity – Young Vic