News: What Alert level 4 move means for musicians in Wales

The Welsh Government has introduced new COVID-19 rules and issued guidance on the new arrangements.

All Wales is under Alert Level 4 restrictions from 18 December 2020.

Key points as follows:

  • Follow social distancing rules with people you don’t live with or who are not in your support bubble.
  • Wear a face covering (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions) in all indoor public places, including on public transport and in taxis.
  • Stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
  • Not create an extended household (single adults or single parents may join with one other household to form an exclusive support bubble).
  • Meet only the people you live with or your support bubble indoors.
  • Meet only your household or support bubble in private gardens.
  • Meet only your household or support bubble outdoors.
  • Work from home if you can.
  • Not travel without reasonable excuse.
  • Not travel internationally without reasonable excuse.
  • People must self-isolate when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.
  • What can open at alert level 4

  • Schools, colleges and childcare providers (informal childcare should only be essential only).
  • Higher Education Institutions (mix of in-person and remote learning).
  • Places of worship.
  • Community centres - limited opening (for example, for essential public services).
  • Crematoriums.
  • Playgrounds and public parks.
  • Weddings and funerals (ceremony limit set by venue).
  • What must be closed at alert level 4

  • Venues for events and conferences
  • Theatres and concert halls
  • Entertainment venue
  • Wedding reception or wake
  • Holiday accommodation (open only if essential only, for example for work or other reasons)
  • Hospitality (except for takeaway and delivery)
  • Indoor and outdoor visitor attractions
  • Organised activities limited to public and voluntary services
  • Implications for musicians

    Private music teaching


    It is our understanding that online teaching only is permittedas ‘mixing between households is not permitted during alert level 4 except in limited circumstances…people including children should not be spending time with people they do not live with unless essential.’

    Performing


    Under alert level 4 rules, all arts and entertainment venues must close, including:

    Concert halls and theatres
    Entertainment venues
    Hospitality venues

    However, there is one proviso for concert halls and theatres:

    ‘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. These may be opened if requested or authorised by a local authority or the Welsh Ministers. Individual businesses cannot apply for an exception to continue trading.’

    Therefore, apart from the exception above, it is not possible to perform music under the new alert level 4 restrictions in a concert hall, theatre, entertainment or hospitality venue.

    Rehearsals

    As you are not permitted to meet either inside or outside with anyone other than your household or support bubble, it is our understanding that rehearsals will not be possible.

    Weddings and civil partnerships

    Ceremonies:

    The alert level 4 guidance states that ‘ceremonies for weddings, funerals and other life events such as bar mitzvahs and baptisms are permitted in places of worship. People are able to attend at the invitation of the organiser.’ However, please note that we are waiting for further clarification because the guidance related to ‘singing, chanting and the playing of musical instruments’ and whether musicians can perform for ceremonies has not been updated since 4 December 2020

    Receptions and wakes:

    Wedding or civil partnership ‘receptions’ are not permitted, and in practice many venues are required to close while alert level 4 restrictions are in place.

    Places of Worship

    Places of worship are allowed to be open to the public. However, wherever possible the guidance advises that people avoid congregating with people they do not live with. Please note that the guidance related to ‘singing, chanting and the playing of musical instruments’ and to permitted attendees has not been updated since 4 December 2020. We are seeking clarification.

    Wedding ceremonies and funerals: The alert level 4 guidance states the following: ‘Ceremonies for weddings, funerals and other life events such as bar mitzvahs and baptisms are permitted in places of worship. People are able to attend at the invitation of the organiser.’ Please note we are seeking further clarification because the guidance related to singing, chanting and the playing of musical instruments and to permitted attendees at a ceremony has not been updated since 4 December 2020 for wedding ceremonies and 11 December 2020 for funerals.

    Travelling in/through Wales for work

    The government guidance states that ‘travelling to a workplace in Wales is a reasonable excuse to leave home. Similarly, people living in Wales can travel to England for work purposes where this is necessary and they cannot work from home. ’Travelling through Wales for work purposes where you live in an area outside Wales: Transit through Wales ‘is permitted, but you should keep all necessary stops within areas in alert level 4 to a minimum and minimise all contact with people as much as possible. ’

    Please note that you must refer to your own country’s rules before travelling.