The First Minister has outlined the first steps out of the alert level 4 lockdown in Wales, with a series of changes planned between 13 March and the start of April, when there will be another review of the regulations.
It’s clear from our engagement with Welsh Government that they are committed to taking a gradual, phased approach to relaxing restrictions, due to their concerns about issues such as new variants and the unknown effect of the vaccine programme.
At this stage there won’t be a wholesale move between the alert levels that had previously been set out, and no changes have been announced beyond the potential reopening of shops and return of all learners to schools on 12 April.
The main areas we’re focusing our lobbying on
We know that members want and need to get back to work and we are seeing some small signs of progress – rehearsal and recording studios remain open, theatres and concert halls can now open for rehearsals without being linked to a broadcast, and the return of pupils to schools should enable lessons to resume in person at some point.
However, we’re aware that the biggest issue is the return of live performances with audiences, and we are pushing for that to be allowed as soon as possible, even if it is at a very small scale, in the hope that once some form of live performance restarts, audience and performance/event sizes can be scaled up later as the situation continues to improve.
Our other focus at the moment is on funding, and we have stressed to Welsh Government that our members in Wales urgently need them to finalise a second round of the Cultural Recovery Fund following the UK Budget while they continue to wait for the chance to restart work and reopen.
We’re working with people and organisations across the creative sector on these issues, and are particularly grateful to our colleagues at Bectu, Equity, WGGB, and Wales TUC for their help.
Current sources of funding for Welsh members
We were delighted when Welsh Government announced in February that they were investing a further £8.9m into the Freelancer Fund, to provide a second round of £2,500 grants for previously successful applicants. This additional support shows the value of our ongoing engagement with Welsh Government and we know that this money will help many members at what continues to be a very difficult time.
Anyone who successfully applied for the Freelancer Fund should have received a letter asking them to self-declare that there has been no change in their circumstances in relation to work. If any members have questions or issues with this letter then they should get in touch via cardiff@theMU.org.
Anyone who was unable to access the Freelancer Fund may be able to access support from the Restrictions Business Fund and/or the Local Discretionary Grant via their Local Authority but the application window for these schemes will close on 30 March 2021.
Actions you can take now
WeMakeEvents Cymru are currently running a survey with the aim of capturing the full value of the events industry in Wales, and we would encourage members who work in Wales to complete it on their website.