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UK Government Reinstates Quarantine Exemption in England for Performing Artists

As of Wednesday 22 September 2021, performing artists returning to England from work abroad can benefit from a quarantine exemption.

Published: 24 September 2021 | 4:33 PM
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The exemption only applies when you have a professional paid commitment with the producing venue or organisation. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The application for the exemption is being administered by Arts Council England (ACE) and is applicable to those artists returning to England. Further details can be found on ACE’s website.

The application has to be made by a producing venue or organisation, on behalf of an individual domestic artist and their crew, technical team etc. If you are returning to England from professional activity abroad (not holidays) and you are engaged to work on a specific professional production within ten-days of returning, the organisation or producing venue engaging you can apply for you to be exempt from the quarantine rules.

The exemption only applies when you have a professional paid commitment with the producing venue or organisation. For anything else you are required to self-isolate.

Also, this does not apply if you are coming into England from a red-list country. For a full explanation of the rules see this PDF from ACE.

There is a high level of detail required for the application

The types of activity that are applicable are all based on live performance, not teaching. You cannot make the application yourself; it must be done by the venue or organisation hiring you. There is a high level of detail required for the organisation to make the application on your behalf.

It is also a key requirement that the organisation making the application on your behalf supplies you with a letter which you must carry with you. Personal information is required on this letter which includes passport number, address, phone number etc, as well as the details of the engagement for which you require the exemption.

Further to this document you must also carry an accreditation letter from ACE confirming your eligibility for the self-isolation exemption.

ACE state that applications will be processed, and a response will be forthcoming within ten working days maximum. The decision from ACE can be appealed if the applicant feels that ACE has not followed the published process.

Dave Webster Live Performance Organiser for the MU said:

“The music industry has been seeking an exemption for performers for some time and it is good that the Government has chosen to reinstate these provisions, however the amount of information needed and the length of time it takes to process means musicians have to be thinking ahead to take advantage of this and speak to the Organisation or venue engaging them.

“Any last-minute gigs that musicians often accept means they may well have to self-isolate on return to the UK regardless.”

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