**Many ITC Members have been calling with concerns about the Coronavirus, please feel free to call 0207 403 1727 (on divert) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk things through.
Obviously the situation is a rapidly changing one so we suggest keeping an eye on the websites below for updates and the government’s plan and business support schemes. This is the current position as we understand it:
Symptoms of the virus are high fever, dry cough and flu-like symptoms. If you experience these symptoms the NHS advise that you do not visit a GP or hospital but call NHS 111 for advice. If you feel ill or have reason to believe that you have come into contact with the virus you should stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days. The incubation period for the virus is thought to be 14 days. If you live with other people they will need to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless whether they have symptoms.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. (regularly updated in this website
Staff, volunteers & visitors
• Many people are working from home at the moment due to the Government's advice to avoid unnecessary travel and need for social distancing measures
• Consider enabling staff to work from home where possible. If employees are being sent home as a precaution they should remain on full pay.
• Job Retention Scheme: All businesses will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for employees who would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of salaries, with a cap of £2,500 per month. Gov.uk Guidance for employers and employees
• The self-employed may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance. Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected. More info
• The Goverment have announced their Self-employment Income Support Scheme More info
• If staff are ill or need to self-isolate due to contact with the virus they should stay at home and (where possible) receive sick pay.
• Where staff are on Statutory Sick Pay this should be paid from day one of their illness, not just from the fourth day, this is new legislation and more detail of how it will work is on the gov.uk website. ACAS have provided some excellent guidelines for employers and employees.
• Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to 2 weeks per employee.
• Provide clear up-to-date advice and information (Public Health England has regular updates)
• If you are still working from offices/venues provide hand washing facilities, printable instructions
• NCVO have also provided some very useful comprehensive guidelines.
Contracts and Cancellations
Theatres and other performance venues must currently stay closed. There is an exception for "Small group performances for the purposes of live streaming could be permissible where Public Health England guidelines are observed and no audience members attend the venue." ITC does not recommend using this exception.
Many of you have been asking about cancellation of events/shows/tours.
We would strongly recommend that you call us to discuss your specific situation as the advice will vary depending on the circumstances. Each case will need to be considered on its particular facts.
When negotiating future contracts, it is worth looking carefully at cancellation and Force Majeure clauses and attempting to negotiate terms which more equally share risk.
Protecting your business
Develop a contingency plan: Assess the level of disruption that might be caused, this could vary from what happens if key performers or company members are taken ill to what to do about proposed or planned tours to countries where the virus is already a problem. Make sure you communicate the plan across your team.
Think about insurance: Review your policy documents and speak to your brokers about both risks and options that may be available. Some key points to check on are -
• Risks: Is it covered? A recent government declaration that the virus is a “notifiable disease” gives it a formal classification required by many insurance policies. Nonetheless, be prepared for the argument that a policy excludes it as it is now a “pre-existing circumstance”.
• Exclusion: Even if your policy does include notifiable disease as a risk, check to see that it does not fall into any of the exclusions (for example, a mutant variation of atypical pneumonia or SARS) and that you are still covered.
• Extension to cover: Extending your cover to include consequential business interruption cover for notifiable diseases may be a possibility, however, the premium is likely to be expensive.
We will provide updates as the situation develops.
Below is an list of resources, information and events from external sources regarding Covid-19 and the performing arts sector. We will continue to update and if you have seen any links or resources that you feel may be useful please email Thea and we will add them to the list.
Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy are offering a free daily Power Hour of consultation to support arts organisations needing help with income generation, fundraising strategy or donor management.
Voluntary Arts are hosting an daily online gathering called #CreativeNetwork for to anyone involved in arts, culture and creativity who would welcome the opportunity to talk to others about dealing with current events.
Bruce's Handy Theatre Training List Thing! (Google Doc - Source: UK Theatre Industry Coronvirus Support Group)
What Next? have released the notes from their Young Vic meeting on 11 March – This living document will be regularly updated and includes sections on ‘trusted sources of advice’, issues arising, Arts Council England advice, and ‘good practice’. Read more.
A new microsite set up by SOLT/UKTheatre and leading theatrical charities, to centralise information about how and where theatre professionals can access support during the Coronavirus outbreak. Includes comprehensive selection of charities working to support workers in the performing arts sector.
Creative Industries Federation Survey
This is a rapid response survey for UK creators and creative businesses in response to COVID-19. Please complete this by the end of today (17th March) or as soon as possible. Your rapid response will be vital to arguing for greater government support.
Mind have created a guide on Coronavirus and your wellbeing – featuring tips on preparing to stay at home or indoors, a checklist, and ways to improve your mental health.
Facebook group: UK Theatre Industry Coronavirus Support
Facebook group: Anti-viral work for freelancers and small businesses
Slack (instant messaging) group: London Theatre Community
Article: Advice for artists and creatives in Scotland by The Skinny
Freelancers/SMEs for surviving Coronavirus (more general purpose advice)
Finance and Funding information
HMRC have set up a tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus
Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert email has lots of useful information including videos.
Keep Live Alive
is creating patronage for Live Performers impacted by Covid-19 cancellations
Coronavirus update and information from the Theataccountants (Source: UK Theatre Industry Coronvirus Support Group)
Government coronavirus grant information.
Ruby Glaskin’s COVID-19 Income Risk Assessment Template
Producer Ruby Glaskin has shared a handy template for those wishing to assess and mitigate risks to their income. Google Doc
Arts Council England – includes guidance focused at their funded organisaitons and projects.
Arts Council of Wales – includes guidance for artists, practitioners and organisations in Wales.
Creative Scotland – includes Scottish Government guidance, business support and updates on Creative Scotland support.
Arts Council NI – includes information on their existing and new funding agreements, and support during the outbreak.
National Lottery Heritage Fund – includes links to NHS and government advice.
Funds for Freelancers: financial resource for actors, creatives and ushers working in theatre
Hull Artists Coronavirus Fund, organised by Middle Child
Liverpool Artists Coronavirus Fund, organised by Luke Barnes
West Midlands Artists Coronavirus Fund, organised by Amahra Spence
South West creatives Coronavirus Fund, organised by Jay Crutchley
Manchester Artists Coronavirus Fund, organised by Laurence Young
East Midlands Coronavirus Fund, organised by Rafia Hussain
Gloucestershire Artists Survival Fund, organised by Jackie Garner
South Yorkshire Creatives COVID-19 Hardship Fund, organised by Linda Bloomfield
London Artists and Creatives Coronavirus Fund, organised by Denzel Kessie and Josh Akapo
Wales artists and freelancers fund, organised by Guy Raymond
£200 - £500 matched donations to theatre artists, organised by Bryony Kimmings
Grants for rapid response theatre for South East-based theatre artists by Farnham Maltings
Dance Fund in partnership with ACE to support freelance dancers in the crisis
Paul Hamlyn Foundation Emergency Fund
Free 1-to-1 online casting sessions from Sophie Holland Casting
AMA are offering free webinars
Wellbeing for Yourself and your Team
Live Streaming Guidance
The Space’s Guide To Live Streaming For The Arts
Digital consultant Jason Crouch put this guide together for The Space. Some information might be a little out-of-date, but the guide offers a great overview of lo-fi and low-tech live streaming options.
Howlrounds’ Guide To Livestreaming On HowlRound TV
Howlround are hosting livestreams for free and offering guidance for those interested in finding alternative ways of gathering in the age of COVID-19.
Find a local foodbank (Trussel Trust website)
Volunteering: the NHS is recruiting volunteers