We stand firmly with the artists and arts organisations of Wales and our priority is to find practical ways of supporting those who are trying to manage the financial consequences of the current situation. 

On Tuesday (17 March) we’ll publish information for those working as artists, freelancers and in publicly funded cultural organisations.

Also from Tuesday 17 March and following the latest Government advice on responding to Covid-19, Arts Council of Wales has decided to follow the recommendation given and is encouraging those staff members who can do so to work from home. We will be doing all we can to reduce the impact of this development on the sector and to continue to provide as good a service as possible to all our colleagues in the arts in Wales.

We’ll update this information as the situation develops.  We’ll publish updated information on our website and use our social media channel to alert you to any changes in advice.  In the meantime, the following guidance applies.

Given the range of the potential scenarios – and the fast‑moving nature of the situation – you are strongly advised to refer to official guidance as as you will be best placed to know the particular circumstances that might apply to you. 

Public Health Wales is working closely with the Welsh Government and other UK public health agencies to closely monitor the situation worldwide.  Their latest releases can be found here - https://phw.nhs.wales/

International travel is increasingly being discouraged.  For the latest information, check out the advice on: GOV.UK.

Information on travelling abroad can also be found here: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

Information relating to events, performances and venues

As with all issues relating to Coronavirus in the UK, you should continue to follow Government advice.

At the time of writing, no official decision has been taken to close or postpone events, although we expect that this is likely to change in the coming days.  For the moment, unless a specific scenario develops within your organisation, you will have to assess whether it’s right for you to continue to operate business as usual.

However, if you or a member of your staff feels ill, you/they should stay home, isolate and visit https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19 or call 111 for advice.

If you haven’t already done so, you should review your contingency and business continuity plans.  You might wish to consider the following in guiding and supporting your staff.  You should encourage staff to stay at home if they’re showing any of the signs of Covid-19.  Otherwise, you might want to check:

  • Are staff able to work at home easily if this is needed?
  • If a member of your staff/cast member/backstage staff member is unable to come to work because of self‑isolation (or a family member being ill), do you have sufficient back‑up/understudy capability to continue?

There is obviously some concern about the implications of the cancellation or postponment of performances, exhibitions and events etc.  This is a fast-moving situation, and the position is unclear with respect to insurance in the case of cancellation.  In all cases, you should consult with your broker/insurance company.

You should remember:

  • Productions – some cancellation cover might include losses arising from “communicable diseases”, although this might be affected by specific exclusions and the timing of when a policy was taken out.  (There’s little prospect of Coronavirus being covered in policies taken out in recent weeks.)  The amount of cover might also be limited, and only sufficient to cover short‑term cancellation or closure
  • Venues – the standard policy for Business Interruption might contain an extension clause covering communicable or infectious diseases, but these tend only to be effective if the disease is found at the premises.  A government imposed closure would not normally be covered, even if beyond the control of the venue.
  • Employers – under liability insurance, companies have a duty of care to staff and to visitors.  It’s therefore important that the latest government advice is distributed and adhered to in order to avoid potential negligence claims.

At the present time, policy on ticket exchanges or refunds remains at an individual organisations’ and companies’ discretion.  This is linked to the current government advice that there is no clear rationale at the moment to cancel events.  If this advice changes, then ticket policy might also have to change at that time.

We’re collecting intelligence from across the sector so we can better understand what’s needed in the short and longer-term.  You can also share information with us about what is happening to you at coronavirus@arts.wales  We’re already receiving a large number of enquiries and to which we’ll respond as soon as we can. However, given rapidly changing events, please bear with us while we work our way through the queries.

Finally, our key message is to take care and look after yourselves, your families and your loved ones.  The current situation is deeply worrying, but we’re determined to do everything that we can to help protect the resilience of the arts in Wales.