COVID-19 local lockdowns

Updated 19 October 2020

Where a local lockdown is in operation, you should check what restrictions apply in your area.

The guidance across each of the four nations varies in presentation but each in general makes provision for business activities such as private teaching in the home to continue provided that relevant national guidance on safe working practices and risk assessments are followed.

The Scottish Government have updated their performing arts guidance, with particular reference to current local measures in the country.

The Welsh Government have announced a 'circuit break' lockdown, starting on Friday 23 November and ending on Monday 9 November. You can read FAQs on the Welsh government website.

England's tier system

The Government’s guidance for England on the new tiered lockdown system, which is in place from 14 October, indicates that 'there are exceptions where people from different households can gather... in any setting, including indoors in private homes' and this includes for 'work purposes' and for the purposes of education or training'. This applies in both tier 2 (high) and tier 3 (very high)

The ISM’s interpretation of the guidance is that you can still receive your pupils at home for music lessons – provided that your area is not subject to tighter or more specific restrictions affecting your activity; you have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and put in place any necessary measures and abide by the Government’s guidance applicable to your work. If you wish to obtain further assurance that your private lessons can proceed, we advise you to contact local environmental health services.

With regards to choirs, the guidelines state:

'...in a COVID-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 separate and distinct groups of no more than 6 (In Medium areas and outdoors) or individual households (in High and Very High areas).

If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups (depending on Local Covid Alert Level restrictions) - including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising - then such non-professional activity should not take place. See Local Covid Alert Level guidance (Medium, High, Very High) for more details on group size.'

The practical implications of ensuring that no member of a group mixes mean that many groups probably cannot go ahead. If you think you are able to ensure no one can mix, revisit your risk assessment, and seek advice from your local environmental health team before going ahead. If we get any more information in this area, we will update this page.

Please note the advice states that ‘the government will seek to agree additional measures in consultation with local authorities in order to drive down transmission of the virus. These could include the following options … closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences.’ Please check for any regional differences.