Wales: COVID-19 advice for musicians

This page is regularly updated to cover the latest information coming from the Welsh Assembly that affects musicians working in Wales. You can see our other pages on England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Key dates for the music sector

On 8 April 2021, the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, announced that they will be accelerating elements of its programme to relax COVID-19 restrictions as cases of new infections continue to fall across Wales. All changes are subject to public health conditions remaining favourable.

In brief, some key dates which may affect musicians’ work include:

1 March: Wedding and civil ceremonies will be permitted in ‘approved premises’.

15 March: All primary school children and some other learners return to onsite learning, following the phased return which began on 22 February.

27 March: 'Stay-local' rules lifted and replaced by an all-Wales travel area. Outdoor children’s activities for under 18s will be allowed, but indoor activities should not take place. Self-contained holiday accommodation will reopen to members of the same household or support bubble.

12 April: Restrictions for travel into and out of Wales from the rest of the UK and Common Travel area will be lifted. All children and post-16 learners return to face-to-face learning. University students return to blended face-to-face and online learning. A small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people planned.

26 April: Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can take place. Wedding receptions can take place outdoors for up to 30 people.

3 May: Extended household will again allow two households to meet and have contact indoors.

17 May: The following will be considered at a review on 13 May: Children’s indoor activities to resume. Community centres to reopen. Organised indoor activities for adults to resume, limited to a maximum of 15 people.

Last updated: 9 April 2021

Private teaching

Face-to-face tutoring in a home is not permitted under alert level 4. Outdoor activities for under 18s will be allowed.

Last updated: 26 March 2021

The guidance confirms that people must not visit other households, or meet other people they do not live with. This is despite the easing of restrictions for face-to-face teaching in schools.

We will provide updates once further details have been confirmed by the Welsh Assembly.

Performances and rehearsals

All arts and entertainment venues remain closed to the public but existing provisions remain in place for broadcasting performances without a live audience. Some outdoor pilot events planned from 12 April.

Last updated: 1 April 2021

Performances may be broadcast without an audience, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast. It is recommended that Public Health Wales guidelines are followed to ensure the safety of staff taking part.

From 12 April:

A small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people are planned.

We will provide updates once further details have been confirmed by the Welsh Assembly.

Schools and colleges

From 22 February 2021 there will be a phased reopening of schools. Please see below for more detail.

Last updated: 1 April 2021

The Welsh government confirmed that a phased return to schools for foundation phase learners will begin from 22 February. This will be subject to Covid data continuing to move in the right direction.

From 22 February 2021
The following children or young people will be permitted to return to onsite learning:

  • Foundation phase learners
  • Small numbers of vocational learners, including apprentices
  • Children of critical workers
  • Vulnerable learners
  • Children who attend special schools and PRUs

From 15 March 2021
The following children or young people will be permitted to return to onsite learning (in addition to the categories permitted from 22 February):

  • All remaining primary school children
  • Learners in exam years
  • Learners in years 10 and 12
  • All secondary settings will have the flexibility to provide learners in years 7, 8 and 9 with the opportunity of a check-in focussed on support for wellbeing and readiness for a return to their onsite learning after Easter. Remote learning will continue during this period when learners are not on site.

From 12 April 2021

All children and post-16 learners return to face-to-face learning.

University students return to blended face-to-face and online learning.

Music in worship

Places of worship are open for members of the public for communal worship.

Last updated: 9 April 2021

An organised group or groups of musicians or singers are permitted during an act of worship, but a specific risk assessment and mitigating actions should be put in place to provide a COVID-19 safe environment.

  • Singing or playing in groups should be limited in line with the capacity of the space available to take into account physical distancing requirements
  • Congregational singing is not permitted indoors
  • Wind or brass instruments should not be played indoors
  • Anybody not in an organised group of musicians or singers should not join in
  • Organised singing can happen in fixed groups of up to six people who should remain consistent and rehearse and perform together, whilst generally maintaining physical distancing amongst themselves.
  • Organised groups of musicians should keep volumes low
  • Only where physical distancing and other mitigations allow, a fixed team of six may perform with other fixed teams to create a larger group
  • The decision whether to play an organ that requires air to be pushed through the mechanism should be based on a risk assessment and adherence with physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning guidance
  • It is advised that you use alternative instruments such as a piano, electronic instruments or recordings
  • Bell ringing or similar is permissible but with a risk assessment in place and other COVID-19 mitigations including social distancing and hand hygiene protocols

Weddings and funerals

The Welsh Government has updated their guidance for weddings and civil ceremonies in ‘approved venues’. Please see below for further detail.

From 1 March 2021

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies can take place in regulated public premises that are permitted to be open for the purpose of holding a wedding or civil partnership ceremony and which hold the necessary licence/approval. Receptions are not permitted. Existing government guidance produced for wedding ceremonies in places of worship remains the same and has been extended to regulated public premises too, as follows:

  • The maximum number of people who can attend is based on the capacity of the building or room (once physical distancing measures are taken into account)
  • The organisers must expressly invite those they wish to attend within the prescribed capacity, as determined by those responsible for the building
  • Travel to Wales is permitted for the sole purpose of attending a ceremony. However, if travelling from another country, overnight stays are not allowed and all unnecessary contacts whilst making their journey to and from the ceremony must be avoided. Please check local restrictions where you are based as they may differ from the government guidance in Wales.

Please see below for the specific restrictions for musicians at ceremonies. Any permitted activities should be accompanied by a specific risk assessment and mitigating actions should be put in place to provide a COVID-19 safe environment.

  • Communal singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into is not permitted. This applies even if social distancing is being observed and face coverings are used.
  • Wind or brass instruments should not be played indoors
  • Anybody not in an organised group of musicians or singers should not join in.
  • Organised singing can happen in fixed groups of up to six people who should remain consistent and rehearse and perform together, whilst generally maintaining physical distancing amongst themselves.
  • Organised groups of musicians should keep volumes low.
  • Only where physical distancing and other mitigations allow, a fixed team of six may perform with other fixed teams to create a larger group.
  • The decision whether to play an organ that requires air to be pushed through the mechanism should be based on a risk assessment and adherence with physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning guidance.
  • It is advised that you use alternative instruments such as a piano, electronic instruments or recordings.
  • Bell ringing or similar is permissible but with a risk assessment in place and other COVID-19 mitigations including social distancing and hand hygiene protocols.
  • Ceremonies may be broadcast online or recorded.

From 26 April 2021

Wedding receptions will be permitted outdoors with a maximum of 30 people.

Get the support you need as a music professional

'I want to say a personal thank you as you work to support all musicians during this unprecedented time. I have been impressed with the speed of response to inform and help the profession, as well as your letters to and lobbying of the government on our behalf.'

ISM member since 1999