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New Advice for Members in England’s Tier Four Published

As our many of our members across London and south-east and east of England fall under the Government’s new tier four level restrictions, we’ve drawn up guidance on how these rules may affect musicians.

Published: 22 December 2020 | 3:18 PM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
Photograph of an empty Hastings Pier, with a stormy sky in the background.
The Government’s guidance for those in tier 4 is to stay at home. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The UK Government announced on Saturday 19 December that much of the south-east and east of England, and all boroughs of London, would be moving into tier 4 – with the guidance being to “stay at home.”

Here’s how we understand the tier 4 rules may affect musicians:

Recording and broadcasting

  • Professional Activity: Recording & rehearsal studios remain open for professional use where the studio is a Covid-secure venue. Professional recording and rehearsing can also take place outdoors.
  • Non-Professional Activity: No non-professional recording and rehearsing can take place, unless in a household group or support bubble, within the home.

Gigs and live performances

  • Bars, pubs and restaurants: These venues will only be open for takeaway, delivery or drive-thru service, so no live performance to audiences will be possible.
  • Weddings, wedding receptions, funerals and wakes: Only 6 guests are allowed at weddings, civil partnership services and wakes. 30 guests are allowed at funerals. Musicians are not included in these guest limits. Wedding receptions are not permitted.
  • Theatre and large-scale live performance: Theatres and concert halls are only permitted to open for professional training, rehearsal, recording or streamed performance without an audience.
  • Busking: Our understanding is that busking is allowed for work purposes as long as it is not encouraging mass crowds. Audiences will need to adhere to the appropriate social distancing guidelines. Check with your local authority before you go ahead.

Orchestras and choirs

  • Recording: Professional recording and rehearsing can take place in COVID-secure venues and outdoors. No non-professional recording and rehearsing can take place, unless in a household group or support bubble, within the home.
  • Performances with audiences: No performances with live audiences are allowed.

Music education

  • Schools: Now closed and likely to reopen as normal in January, possibly with staggered openings. We expect instrumental/vocal music lessons to be permitted, either with a classroom teacher or a visiting music teacher. Ensembles likely to be permitted within Covid-secure guidelines. All teaching is subject to schools' discretion.
  • Online: As always private online music tuition is permitted and is the safest option where technology and connectivity is available. Follow our advice for teaching online.
  • Private teaching: Private tuition is permitted for students of all ages in homes and studios within Covid-secure guidelines. No cap on numbers as long as Covid-secure measures can be implemented. Learning must support formal education, e.g. working towards graded exams. Follow our advice for teaching during Covid-19.
  • Private music schools and music centres: Permitted for all ages, with no cap on numbers within Covid-secure measures. Learning must support formal education.


  • If you are in a Tier 4 area, government advice is to stay at home unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. Reasonable excuses include going to work where it isn’t possible to work from home, and for accessing education. You are permitted to travel both locally, or outside of your local Tier 4 area into areas in other Tiers for these purposes.

For more information on the rest of the Tiers in England, as well as the current measures for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – see our current restrictions overview page.

Take action now

Whilst so many musicians across the UK face increased restrictions, it’s more vital than ever that the Government invests in musicians.

We need to show them how much goes into what you do, add your voice to the call to Invest in Musicians by sharing your story now.

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