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The emergence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant and the subsequent increase in cases across the UK has led the governments of the UK nations to introduce new measures and restrictions, which we know have already resulted in members losing work.

Our in-house solicitor has provided some advice regarding cancelled gigs. The MU has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to ask that targeted financial support be considered for musicians who lost work during this period. Contact us in the first instance if you require advice or support.

Browse the current Covid-19 rules by nation: 

Rules in Wales

From Sunday 26 December, new restrictions came into place, including a two-meter rule on social distancing in offices; extra measures to protect customers and staff such as physical barriers and one-way systems; and a requirement for nightclubs to close. Learn more about the new advice for the Christmas period in Wales.

£120m will be available to support businesses affected by the new restrictions. Welsh Government provided further information on 23 December regarding the support package they are making available.

It has now also been announced that sports events in Wales will be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day, with a £3m fund to support affected clubs and sports venues

The Covid Pass scheme is still in operation in Wales, but anyone using the pass will need to login and get a new copy of their pass.

There has been a significant amount of confusion, uncertainty, and misinformation about the restrictions and guidance in Wales, partly due to the changes and processes in England, so please check the Welsh Government website for accurate information.

We know that the current situation and the advice above will affect musicians’ work and the broader music/arts/culture sector in Wales even without the introduction of further restrictions and guidance. We have been lobbying Welsh Government for further financial support for members and businesses in the music industry in Wales, making it clear that is needed already regardless of any additional restrictions that are introduced, and will continue to do so.

To support our lobbying, please let us know if/how the guidance and restrictions in Wales, as well as more general issues like consumer confidence and isolation requirements, are affecting your work.

You may find this information and guidance helpful:

Vaccine and boosters

  • In Wales booster jabs are mainly being delivered through appointments, so that they can be prioritised, rather than through walk-in sessions. All eligible adults will be contacted by their health board with their booster appointment, and you do not need to contact your health board unless you need to re-book.
  • Welsh Government is asking employers to be as flexible as possible to enable staff to attend their vaccination/booster appointment.

Self isolation

  • The guidance on self-isolation is different in Wales compared to England. For instance, at the time of writing fully vaccinated adults and young people aged between 5 and 17 should self-isolate if someone in their household has symptoms or has tested positive unless and until they receive a negative PCR test result. Please read the information on the Welsh Government website for full details.
  • People on a low income who cannot work from home while self-isolating could get a payment of £750 to help with loss of earnings. Please read the information on the Welsh Government website for full details.

Schools

  • There will now be two additional planning days at the start of the spring term in January.
  • Schools have been advised to plan that mitigations from January onwards are based on the “Very High” risk level in the Local Infection Control Decision Framework for schools, and will be allowed operate staggered start and finish times from the start of the spring term time if they determine it is appropriate.
  • Face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in all indoor areas of educational settings where physical distance cannot be maintained; worn by secondary aged learners in the same places; and worn by secondary learners on school transport. Learn more about core interventions to be implemented in Wales.

Find more on our advice on music teaching in Wales.

Rules in Scotland

As of 21 March most of the remaining Coronavirus legal requirements for workplaces in Scotland have been removed, including:

  • the requirement to collect and share visitor information
  • to follow Scottish Government guidance about mitigating the risk of exposure to Covid
  • take reasonable measures (per the guidance) to minimise incidence and spread of Covid-19.

The Guidance for Businesses and Workplaces has been updated to reflect these changes.

It is still a legal requirement to wear a mast in indoor public places. This is due to be reviewed on 29 March with any changes taking effect from 4 April.

Schools

Pupils and staff in secondary schools are no longer required to wear face coverings in classrooms but should continue to do so in indoor communal areas and in classrooms by adults when physical distancing is not possible. Any young person or staff member who wishes to still wear a face covering in the classroom should be fully supported in doing so.

In primary schools, face coverings should continue to be worn in classrooms by adults wherever they cannot keep physical distance with other adults and/or children and young people.

Read more guidance on reducing the risks in schools on the Scottish Government website.

Rules in England

From the 24 February 2022 the Government has removed all remaining domestic restrictions in England, meaning there is no longer any legal requirement to self-isolate should you test positive for Covid-19.

The Government still advises taking the following steps to help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19:

  • Get Vaccinated
  • Let fresh air in if meeting others indoors, or meet outside
  • Wear a face mask in crowded spaces
  • Get tested if you have Covid-19 symptoms, and stay at home if positive

Read more on the Coronavirus guidance in England

Rules in Northern Ireland

As of 15 February Covid-19 legal restrictions in Northern Ireland have been replaced by guidance. There is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings in public areas and there is no limit on numbers of people meeting indoors in private homes. Covid certificates are no longer legally required in nightclubs and large outdoor events.

However, mitigations such as the wearing of face coverings, social distancing and meeting in outdoor/well ventilated settings are still strongly encouraged and the use of Covid-19 passports and certificates will still be available.

Self isolation rules in Northern Ireland have not changed as they were never enshrined in legislation.

For more information on this, including up to date guidance on self-isolation and close contacts, please visit the NI Direct website.

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