COVID-19 Guidance

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary measures to support people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

Arts Council England and Creative Scotland have provided support packages and changes to funding for individuals and organisations to provide relief.

As the One Dance UK team, we are here to ensure the dance sector thrives through these challenging times. We continue to strongly advocate for dance and will share news, updates, resources and online events to the sector and from our members on our wide-reaching platforms.

We kindly ask that you first contact us by email and please feel free to call us on these numbers.

As the world begins to reopen, please visit our Return To Dance page for information on safely reopening studios as well as the return to education and performances.



A four-step roadmap to easing lockdown in England was announced yesterday.

  1. Step one 
    • 8 March: schools to reopen in England. All pupils and college students to return fully, with wraparound childcare and other children’s activities possible where it is needed to enable parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group opened to support parents to work.  
    • People can meet one other person outside not just for exercise (e.g. for a picnic). Children will still count towards this. The “Stay at home” order will otherwise still be in place. 
    • Dance lessons can continue as part of the school curriculum
    • Individual lessons in music, dance and drama can continue in schools and organisations providing out-of-school childcare. The Schools coronavirus operational guidance is here
    • Regarding the use of Facemasks: “Where pupils in year 7 (which would be children who were aged 11 on 31 August 2020) and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils when outdoors on the premises. 12 In addition, we now also recommend in those schools, that face coverings should be worn in classrooms or during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons.” Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance (
    • Students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return. The HE providers guidance is here 
    • From 29 March: outdoor gatherings to be allowed of up to a maximum of six people from different households, or two different households if this is larger, in parks and gardens. Outdoor sport for children and adults will be allowed. The official stay at home order will end, but people will be encouraged to stay local. People will still be asked to work from home where possible, with no overseas travel allowed beyond the current small number of exceptions. 

A week’s notice will be given on progressing to Step 2 (expected 5 April). 

  1. Step two, no earlier than 12 April 
    • Children’s out of school activities can resume
    • Reopening of non-essential retail and buildings like public libraries and community centres.  
    • Most outdoor venues to open, including pubs and restaurants, but only for outdoor tables and beer gardens. Customers will have to be seated but there will be no need to have a meal with alcohol.  
    • Drive -in cinema and drive-in performances can happen, with social distancing remaining in place. A proposed pilot programme into the safe reopening of venues will also commence as part of this step. 
    • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and pools to open; social contact rules will apply, so no indoor mixing between households and limits on outdoor mixing.  
    • Although not part of Step 2, this is the earliest point after which the bulk of university students could know about the resumption of face-to-face classes. A review of this will take place at the end of the Easter holidays. 

A weeks’ notice will be given on progressing to Step 3 (12 May earliest). 

  1. Step three, no earlier than 17 May  
    • Most restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted. Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service.  
    • Theatres, museums and cinemas can open, with social distancing and previous capacity caps continuing 
    • Non-professional activity will be able to resume at this time in line with social contact rules indoors and outdoors as was the case previously.  
    • Larger events will be allowed, subject to enhanced testing. 

A week’s notice will be given on progressing to Step 4 (14 June earliest). 

  1. Step four, no earlier than 21 June 
    • All limits on social contacts should be lifted.  
    • Large events above the Step 3 capacity restrictions will be permitted, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme. This will potentially require the use of testing to reduce the risk of infection, pending further evaluation. We are working with DCMS, including through our participation in the Venues Steering Group, to support the development of their plans to feed into the Event Research Programme. This will bring together the findings from across different sectors and different settings to determine a consistent approach to lifting restrictions on events. 

A full summary of how the roadmap impacts the performing arts sector is set out in the attached document.

Find full details of the roadmap in the Covid-19 Response – Spring 2021 document (pp. 24-44). N.B. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates outlined in the roadmap are all contingent on data and subject to change. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so. 

As part of his Spring Budget announcement on 3 March, the Chancellor will set out the next phase in the Government’s economic support package, tailored to reflect the steps and changing public health restrictions detailed in the roadmap. In his speech to Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister said they “will not pull the rug out. For the duration of the pandemic, the government will continue to do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK”. 

Northern Ireland 

The current lockdown has been extended to 1 April, subject to a review on 18 March. However, primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 are set return to classes on 8 March, while secondary school pupils in key exam years, year groups 12 to 14, will return to face-to-face learning on 22 March. 


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a four-phase planned easing of restrictions in Scotland today. 

Phase 1 (as of yesterday)  early learning and childcare and schools open for Primary 1-3 pupils and senior phase pupils for essential practical work. Limited increase in the provision for vulnerable children.  

Phase 2 (unlikely before 15 March) – Next phase of school return, which will start with the rest of the primary school years, 4 to 7, and getting more senior phase secondary pupils back in the classroom for at least part of their learning. Non-contact outdoor group sports for 12 to 17-year-olds. Socialising rules eased, to allow outdoor meetings of four people from two households (compared to two people from two households now). 

Phase 3 (at least three weeks later – possibly 5 April) – Stay-at-Home restrictions lifted. Third and final phase of schools reopening if required. Restrictions on outdoor gatherings eased so that at least six people from two households can meet. Essential retailers list expanded and click-and-collect resumes for non-essential retail. 

Phase 4 (possibly 26 April) – Limited other easing within Level 4, including permitting non-essential work in people’s homes. Scotland will move fully back to a levels system of Covid-19 restrictions. There will be a phased re-opening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers. This move would see the whole country being placed in level 3 and an easing of the current travel restrictions. 

Decisions on final dates will be based on data. The move out of lockdown will take place in three-week blocks but, if data allows and positive trends continue, an acceleration of the easing of restrictions will take place. Sturgeon also said she is considering “some form of tapered support” for businesses that may still face trading restrictions and reduced demand, even if allowed to reopen. 

The full Covid-19 Strategic Framework Update is here (a summary is on p.14).  


First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the extension of restrictions for a further three weeks. However, there are a couple of changes: four people from two different households can now exercise together outdoors (but not in private gardens), and schools this week opened for Foundation Phase learners (pupils aged 3 to 7). 

Some vocational learners, such as apprentices, have also been allowed to go back to colleges to access training or workplace environments for their practical qualifications. All primary school pupils and those in years 11 and 13, who have to sit exams, could return from 15 March if the situation continues to improve. 

The lockdown measures will be reviewed again in three weeks. 



What does this mean for furloughed staff? 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or “furlough” scheme will now run until the end of March for all parts of the UK with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month). The Job Retention Bonus announced previously will now not be paid in February. A retention incentive will be announced in the future.

Early guidance on the new CJRS and other financial support for organisations and individuals can be found here. Full details will be published on 10 November and we will update you as soon as we have more information on what this means for dance organisations.

What about the self-employed and freelancers?

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has also been expanded to cover 80% of average trading profits (up to a maximum of £7,500) with a third grant covering November to January.

We are still talking to DCMS and others about further support for those who have not qualified for this so far, and are working with our friends at WhatNext? and the Freelance Taskforce to convene a roundtable with DCMS on this.



Update 24 September 2020

The Chancellor has announced further financial support for jobs, and for the self-employed

Previous Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Help for freelancers and self-employed: how to claim a grant

COVID-19 Universal Credit

How to claim Universal Credit

COVID-19 Support for businesses

VAT and Income tax deferrals, grants, SSP, business rates relief etc,

COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme for Employers and Agencies

How and when to claim for wages costs including Zero-Hour contracts employees and agency staff

Check if you’re eligible for your employer to put you on temporary leave (furlough) and your other rights in this time

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak on economic support for the charity sector

The Chancellor announces £1.57billion support for arts sector

The Scottish Government has announced a new £15 million Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

Scottish Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

In July 2020, the Welsh Government announced a Cultural Recovery Fund of £53 million.



Please note: each application route has different timelines. Please check to ensure you are completing applications in good time.

Arts Council England has re-opened National Lottery Project Grants, increasing the budget by £18 million to make £75 million available to individuals, community and cultural organisations.

To help creatives step up their work in new ways, they’re re-opening Developing Your Creative Practice this autumn, and increasing the budget from £3.6 million to £18 million.

Acknowledging freelance workers in the sector, from technicians to producers, are also suffering, ACE are investing an extra £2 million in funds that support these workers.

View all the open funds HERE


Creative Scotland has announced £11m of emergency funding (30 March).

Read more about changes to their funding routes HERE


Arts Council of Wales has announced details of its own £7m resilience fund


We have launched a Dance Sector Impact Survey to gather evidence from across dance organisations and individuals. We strongly encourage all dance organisations and individuals to take part and will be sharing results and recommendations. Your input to this survey is critical in helping us to articulate what support the dance sector needs. Thank you!

Companies in Distress:

The Government are looking to gain greater understanding of which organisations are facing closure as a result of Covid-19 related cash flow problems. These ‘companies in distress’ (CiD) are defined as:

    • Organisations with negative projected net monthly cash flow (once loans, grants, and other economic support, i.e. JRS are factored in) that is more than their available reserves. So reserves are depleted in less than a month.
    • Organisations with negative net projected monthly cash flow (once loans, grants, and other economic support, i.e. JRS are factored in) that is more than 50% of their available reserves, and therefore run out of reserves in the next 2 months.

There is no assurance of government support for these companies in distress, but it is vital that Government understands where the issues are.

Please get in touch with us if you feel this is relevant to you.

Culture Counts, of which One Dance UK is a member, website tracking the impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on Scotland’s cultural sector.

ACAS (the Advisory and Conciliation Service) has COVID-19 workplace guidance for employers and employees.

Equity has advice to members.

Please follow local Government guidance to you, to help stop the spread of coronavirus and follow the rules of regularly washing hands, wearing a mask, and keeping your distance from others where possible.

Find the latest and full round of NHS advice here.

For international travel and touring please stay up to date with latest FCO travel-advice.

We join with you in pushing dance and the arts as a beacon of hope and will share new, safe and inventive ways to reach people of all ages. We are following the situation closely as it develops and are talking to DCMS regularly to not only keep track of the government’s response but also to feedback the concerns of, and impact on, the dance sector and our members.