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Safe return to work - England
Date posted: 10 July 2020
The guidance for performing arts sits alongside other guidance for e.g. working in multi-purpose community facilities, schools and other settings. Current guidance varies across the four nations of the UK.

We continue to work with our colleagues at One Dance UK and the Council for Dance & Musical Theatre, and other bodies and groups across the arts, to seek clarification and a time scale. Please be assured that we’re doing everything we can to keep you updated as we continue to navigate through these difficult times.
Government guidelines for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) for England were published and/or updated on 9 July 2020. There are several sets of guidance that may relate to your dance work, depending on the kind of work you do and where you do it, as detailed below:
  • You must maintain social distancing wherever possible. Details about what this means in England can be found in the government guidance Staying Alert and Safe (social distancing) and Meeting with people outside your household
  • The insurance cover provided to Professional Individual Members of People Dancing will be in place providing government advice is adhered to – this includes official start dates for permitted activities & locations
  • Guidance may be subject to change at any time, and potentially at short notice.


People Dancing will provide more information to Members in due course about risk assessments and measures to have in place before commencing work. In the meantime, we urge you to:

  • Bring yourself up to date by reading the guidance; think about what it means for you, your work, and the people and groups you work with
  • Plan what you need to do next: think about COVID-19 in terms of your usual risk assessment processes
  • If you are using a third parties’ space – e.g. a community centre or school hall – speak to them about the guidelines they are putting in place
  • Prepare the ground with the people and groups you work with: what are their concerns and views?


Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Providers of grassroots sports and gym/leisure facilities

This guidance states that from 25 July 2020 ‘fitness and dance studios’ can reopen. It is stated in other guidance that this will be subject to ‘assessment of the evidence at the time regarding the rate of [virus] transmission’.


Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Performing Arts  

This guidance focuses primarily on the ‘professional’ performing arts (production, rehearsal, performance, venues etc) There is little that is specific to participatory arts activity, but the guidance does reference ‘non-professionals’ and ‘participants’ - who of course participate in professionally-led work as well as in amateur arts groups.

People Dancing was invited by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to comment on the draft guidance. Having read the new guidelines we are disappointed that some of the specific issues raised by us – and many others – about participatory arts don’t appear to have been addressed at the current time.

We are seeking further clarification as to whether non-professional participation is subject to the same guidance as professional participation – such as adherence to social distancing measures but not social mixing/non-household members meeting together – as appears to be suggested in Section 3 of this guidance.


Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

There is useful information in this guidance about identifying the capacity of spaces to accommodate social distancing, working from the total floorspace, as well as pinch-points such as changing rooms, entrances etc.


The Out of Schools settings guidance is written for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings and may be relevant for some dance practitioners. There is a useful overview of business and venues in England that can open and those that must remain closed available hereIf you live or work in Leicester, there is specific guidance for you here. If in doubt, you can check the government’s FAQs.