Scotland: COVID-19 advice for musicians

This page will continue to be updated to cover the latest information coming from the Scottish Government that affects musicians working in Scotland, as the nation moves out of the highest level of restrictions.

You can see also read our page on England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Key dates for the music sector

On 30 March 2021, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister for Scotland announced that the stay at home rule is to be replaced by a requirement to stay local from 2 April 2021. The Scottish Government hope that mainland Scotland will move from level 4 to level 3 on 26 April 2021.

This is in line with the timetable for easing restrictions in Scotland. The dates indicated are dependent on continued progress in suppressing the virus and rolling out vaccines.

In brief, some key dates that may affect musicians' work include:

  • 22 February: Schools reopen for primary years 1 to 3, senior phase pupils for essential practical work, early learning and childcare.
  • 12 - 15 March: Schools reopen for remaining primary school pupils and senior secondary school pupils part-time.
  • 26 March: Communal worship can take place in a place of worship with up to a maximum of 50 people (pending social distancing constraints).
  • 2 April: Stay at home restriction lifted and replaced with 'stay local' i.e. travel within a local authority for a non-essential purpose permitted.
  • 5 April: More university and college students return to face-to-face teaching.
  • 12 - 19 April: All pupils return to school full-time.
  • 26 April: Funerals and weddings including post-funeral events and receptions can take place with up to 50 people (subject to data allowing for further easing of restrictions).
  • 17 May: Non-professional performing arts can resume outdoors, small-scale outdoor and indoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (subject to data allowing for further easing of restrictions).
  • Early June: Attendance at events can increase, subject to capacity constraints. Higher numbers permitted at life events and places of worship (subject to data allowing for further easing of restrictions).

  • This is not an exhaustive list and other planned changes may open up opportunities for work for musicians too. See below for more details on information we have so far. We will be updating this page regularly as more guidance becomes available.

    Last updated: 31 March 2021

    Private teaching

    Face-to-face teaching is not permitted where an area is under Level 4 restrictions. For islands subject to Level 3 restrictions, it can take place under certain circumstances.

    Last updated: 30 March 2021

    Where Level 4 restrictions apply, Scottish Government guidance states that indoor music activities, including a reference to private tuition, are not permitted under the rules. Online teaching is permitted.

    Where Level 3 restrictions apply, face-to-face teaching can take place where:

    • an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out
    • appropriate hygiene measures are in place
    • physical distancing is adhered to
    • face coverings are used
    • woodwind or brass instruments are used, extra precautions should be taken to lower the risk eg use a large room which is well ventilated

    Performances and rehearsals

    Live events are not permitted but theatres and other performing arts venues may open for other limited purposes.

    Last updated: 1 April 2021

    From 5 January 2021:

    Theatres and other performing arts venues must remain closed to members of the public, but may be used to—

    (i)record a performance,

    (ii)broadcast a performance to persons outside the premises, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast, or

    (iii)rehearse, train, practise or otherwise prepare for a performance

    Only if two metre physical distancing and hygiene measures are in place and if the venue can comply with the requirements specified in Government guidance.

    Film and TV production can continue to take place. All such activity must be done in compliance with industry guidance.


    The following dates are subject to where data permits further easing of restrictions:

    From 17 May 2021:

    Small-scale outdoor and indoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints.

    Non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors.

    From early June:

    Attendance at events can increase, subject to capacity constraints.

    From the end of June:

    Further increase in numbers permitted, subject to capacity constraints.

    Schools and colleges

    A phased return to face-to-face teaching will be permitted for certain age groups and situations from 22 February 2021.

    Last updated: 30 March 2021

    The Scottish government announced a phased return to face-to-face teaching in schools from 22 February 2021.

    From 22 February 2021:

    Face-to-face teaching in school resumed or continued for:

    From 15 March 2021:

    Face-to-face teaching in school resumed for:

    • primary school years 4 to 7
    • more senior phase secondary school pupils for part of their learning

    Including all students who were eligible to attend school from 22 February 2021 too.

    Any other students not listed above will continue with online learning.

    From 12 April 2021:

    All pupils back at school full-time.

    Amateur choirs and groups

    From 17 May 2021, non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors.

    Last updated: 30 March 2021

    This is subject to where the data allows for further easing of restrictions. We will continue to monitor any changes and update this when we can.

    Music in worship

    The Scottish Government has announced that places of worship can reopen from 26 March 2021 for communal worship and individual prayer.

    Last updated: 30 March 2021

    Places of worship can reopen from 26 March 2021 for communal worship and individual prayer.

    This is subject to physical distancing, hygiene safeguards and for a maximum of 50 people.

    We expect to have further information shortly and we will update members as soon as we can.

    Weddings and funerals

    Weddings and civil partnerships

    From 5 January 2021:

    - Wedding or civil partnership ceremonies are permitted with a maximum of:

    five people (six if an interpreter is required) in Level 4 areas

    20 people in Level 3 areas

    - The limit includes musicians or singers and applies to ceremonies both indoors and outdoors.

    - Singing and live music performance may resume, providing the appropriate mitigations and safeguards are in place, in line with the performing arts guidance and should not take place at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting.

    - Communal singing is not permitted by those attending the ceremony.

    - It is a reasonable excuse to travel to a ceremony where you are one of the parties, witnesses, celebrant or registrar or any necessary interpreter.

    - Receptions are not permitted.

    The following dates are subject to where data permits further easing of restrictions:

    From 26 April 2021:

    Wedding ceremonies and receptions can take place with up to 50 people but no alcohol will be permitted.

    From early June 2021:

    Increased numbers will be allowed at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement.

    From end of June 2021:


    A further increase in numbers will be allowed at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement.

    Funerals

    From 8 January 2021:

    - Funerals are permitted with a maximum capacity of 20 (including children), provided the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing.

    - Any person hired by the family is included in the 20 person limit.

    - Post funeral gatherings such as wakes are not permitted.

    - Singing or chanting is not permitted.

    - Bagpipers may be allowed but check with the venue or funeral director in advance as physical distancing and public health measures will need to be adhered to.

    - Other types of music are not mentioned other than recorded music should be used instead of singing.

    - Face coverings must be worn except by the person leading the service or by the person providing the eulogy.

    From 26 April 2021:

    Funerals and post-funeral events can take place with up to 50 people but no alcohol will be permitted.

    From early June 2021:

    Increased numbers will be allowed at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement.

    From end of June 2021:

    A further increase in numbers will be allowed at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement.

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