Theatre Forum 7 September Reopening Forum
9:31AM Sep 7, 2021
Hi everyone, you're very welcome to this reopening forum this morning, and we've received a lot of questions following the government's announcement of the two step reopening plan last week, and we've assembled a panel that we hope will answer these questions, and we can obviously add in additional questions along the way. And we're going to focus in the first part of the meeting on everything, front of house from audience perspective, etc. And then we're going to move in the second part of the meeting to all things backstage from an employer and employee point of view. So our aim is to work with you to develop a common sense, informed approach to the next seven weeks, and with that in mind, I'm going to hand over to Anna who's going to just give a quick update on where we are with guidelines.
We belong, Stan, standing discussion about guidelines and all the intricacies, I suppose the first point that we'd ask you to remember is that we're talking about two periods. The next interim period of seven weeks, where the reframing the challenge document published by published on gov.ie earlier this week is the one that overrides all previous issues and numbers and capacities, and lots of organizations including ourselves produce guidelines, over the last 18 months, and updated them as government guidelines changed, and we would suggest that you look to those guidelines for everything other than capacity and numbers, because the practices and protocols suggested in for public health and safety are still valid. And we will however update those guidelines. Once the new HSE work safely protocol and return to work safely and protocols are published Twitter jus before the 28th of September, because those will change some of the guidance in relation to workplace and employee cast crew issues and how you deal with vaccination status and lots of other related issues. And so for the moment, and the reframing the challenge guidance from the department, combined with the common sense interpretation and application of guidelines. Previously in place, and once the hater see work safely protocol is published and reissued, we will direct you to that, and update the guidelines accordingly. And the, I suppose the eye sight there also for the Ireland guidelines are relevant in bars and restaurants and cafes situations but I said everybody with with those that part of their operation would be very familiar with those already. and from Monday. We have been organizing, or we've been talking to the department extensively and asking them all of the questions that you posed to to us. We're very pleased and very appreciative of the department team, being on the call this morning, And I just like to ask Sharon. Sharon Berry, of the cultural, sports unit to give an overview of the guidelines, and then we'll pull some of your questions that may not already have been answered.
Thanks. Thanks, and it's great to see so many people here this morning, my colleague Giovanni is here as well she's in our COVID support units and we're just going to talk to the more specifics of the plan, and we're trying to answer as many questions as we can today and if there's anything that we can't answer. We'll come back via email throughout later in the week. I suppose because everybody's aware at this point, this day last week the government published a new plan for the next kind of final phase of our responses to the pandemic which is called reframing the challenge continuing our recovery and reopening this phase, we'll see the majority of restrictions lifted and replaced by guidance and advice. So we do have this interim period now between the sixth of September and the 22nd of October where there are some restrictions remaining in place and you're ever going to add more detail on that, but hopefully the plan would be subject to the vaccination program, continuing a piece that on the 22nd of October, we'll enter the final phase of the plan which we'll see most all instructions are a couple things around face mask wearing etc, remaining in place. And I suppose now in terms of vaccination, there's about 88% of population over 18 fully vaccinated. Over 92% of adults, and having received at least the first dose. So the hope would be by October that 90% of people over the age of 16 vaccinated, which, you know makes calculating much safer. And hopefully I suppose the plan, even, you know, why the restrictions still remain in place, hoping that, you know, having a plan, brings some clarity to your sector in loads of start planning events which obviously was very difficult prior to this and you know certainly having 50 people in the theater is not an experience, most of us want to have, are to repeat again hopefully ever. But, I suppose, just to say when we talk about guidance as well I know there's there's lots of sexual guidance out there we tried to put it all together on our website. There's also a set of guidance that the department has been working on with the live edge team working groups can meet up with industry stakeholders, more focused on the larger venues, but still the same principles will apply across all venues, and that's currently being finalized and we hope to publish that. Probably by Thursday of this week and much more on our website and we can send the link to Anna sent out to all of you, so I might hand over to Deirdre now just to kind of do a quick overview and we'll come back and answer any questions that you might have them after that. Thanks a million.
Thanks Sharon and Anna and I suppose everybody for being on this call and just introduce myself my name is Deirdre Mahony, and I had a burger or COVID Support Unit, and hopefully not for too much longer we all look with great positivity towards the 22nd of October. And it was at its meeting last Tuesday government decided to take a new approach to the kind of public health measures moving away from these kind of very rigid regulations based restrictions to toward a model of kind of personal responsibility. In doing so, I suppose government was anxious to kind of simplify things, as much as possible. Based on these key principles, you know, outdoors is safer than indoors vaccinated is, is, is safer than kind of unvaccinated or mixed groups, so they came up with these kind of the simplified matrix matrices. And I suppose the headline changes which you'll all know Debbie, be familiar with at this stage for outdoor activities the capacity, the recommended capacity is 75% for vaccinations or recovered groups, including accompanying minors, I think that's important. And because that that brings it into line with what's currently happening in the hospitality sector. And then for mixed groups mixed being kind of a mixture of vaccination and vaccinated, and the capacity outdoors is proposed at 50%, in terms of indoor activities which I imagine is of more relevance to this group, and the recommended capacities 60% for vaccinations recovered and accompanying minors. know where you want to, I suppose, a continue with your programming maybe that you've, you've, you've already planned for, and you don't want to start asking people about their immunity status, or asking them to check a box or they're buying their tickets, and the provision for 50 people to attend a theater performance and still still exists. So I see that a question has come up in the chat here for classes of school children attending the theater before 22nd of October, what is the capacity. So I guess the capacity there, the simple answer is it would be 50. No, obviously, if there are other ways of organizing it, and again we've had some clarity from the center on this, the hospitality settings, currently allow group sizes of six adults and up to nine children, as kind of distinct groups at distinct tables, that's possibly something that you could look at, in terms of of kind of dealing with maybe larger groups if there is a leader, and you know up to nine children, but I suppose in all these things we're kind of moving away from us providing all of the answers into that space where we're hoping that people will take a kind of a sensible approach based on. Well, is this a risky activity, or is it a less risky activity, and what's the kind of the less risky option for my organization, and moving into the kind of the 20th of September, we see an extension of this kind of principle into kind of group activities. So, I'm not sure if you're kind of familiar with, with those numbers yet but they, the restrictions on kind of group activities for outdoors are lifted largely, and the public health measures in place for going to indoor activities are for vaccination recovered and accompanying minor groups, you can have 100 people, and for mixed groups, you can have pods of six. And so, I suppose those are that the headline changes. And just to mention as well somebody raised the, I think it was your cell phone or you mentioned before to Ireland guidelines for to Ireland have updated their guidelines and they should be published a, I suppose in the next hour I believe that they were aiming for kind of 11 1130 but these things never go as smoothly as we hope. And so there will certainly be published today and we're hopeful that they'll be published before. And before lunchtime. In those guidance, you'll see a kind of a distinction between general hospitality and events. So general hospitality and I assume this is kind of relevant for some of the people on the call where you have a bar or restaurant or a cafe for those parts of the venue, you're applying the general hospitality rule so that's the one meter distancing, you know, back of church back of chair, and for the auditoria you're dating with the perhaps the 60% capacity.
So, I'm sure. I hope I'll have a lot of answers. I'm sure I won't have all the answers and and we find this at every change in the regulations that sometimes we have to look into our hearts, sometimes we have to engage with our colleagues in Public Health in the Department of Health and sometimes we have to go back to the colleagues and T shirts to get additional information perhaps about the government decision but I'm happy to take those questions and do that and and I'll feed back to the group through, through, through Sharon, and I'm also ably assisted here by people who know more about everything that I do, particularly kalila and Sarah Taff, and again, they'll both be available after the meeting if you have any particular questions.
Could I just ask we've had a lot of questions on masks. And so, like, our masks a definition in terms of is it just while moving around front a house etc. Or is it while you're actually Seated in the auditorium as well. And what about people. There's been some confusion around the cinema guidelines as well because a lot of a lot of theaters would also show film as well. So, do they then use cinema guidelines around that, I suppose people are interested in. If people are consuming food or popcorn or drinks or anything like that. What's the situation on masks front a house.
Sure, I suppose, there are certain regulations governing face masks, I'm not sure that they're specific for kind of every described venue, but I think when it comes down to it, if you are trying to eat popcorn, it's very difficult to do with wearing a mask so I don't think there's any challenge in in removing your mask for that. It's certainly the the expectation is when you are moving around so we're going to your seat leaving your seat. Using a toilet in a four year, and the expectation is you would wear your masks then. And, but if you could let me a little bit of time just to check the regulations to see if there's something specific, but auditoria but I don't think there is so I think that kind of once you're seated, similar to what happens in hospitality setting. And, you know, you can, You can remove your mask then
that's, that's really helpful times, and I suppose, just when we're coming back to the mask thing as well some people are wondering about, children under 12, the way they will be exempted school. Would it be fair to say they'd be in the same situation in a theatre contact Yeah,
they're they're exempted in all settings. And one thing I would say that the plan is quite specific, in, in calling out certain activities as as carrying a higher risk and again this kind of speaks to this idea of, of personal responsibility, where the environment is is low age people are encouraged to shout, I'm thinking in certain theater settings I don't know if anybody has scheduled Mamma Mia for the next six weeks, but, you know, where people are singing they're obviously producing greater droplets and the risk of transmission is, is sort of increased. So kind of in your programming, you might have regards to, to kind of what's appropriate based on, on, on the kind of the noise levels, and whether people are sitting silently and just enjoying a show or they're more likely to sing, or shout panto season is approaching also.
If anyone else has any. I have one more mask question but if anyone else has any questions on that, we can just start opening up to questions. My other question was that we had a question about like singing choirs that kind of thing. I suppose from a performance point of view, would they, is there anything in the guidelines that say that they have to mask,
and no there's nothing in the guidelines to say that they have to mask it, there is guidance on the hpscs website around music and performance. Now it's it's it's deeply hidden in the kind of religious ceremonies section which kind of suggests, all of the things that you would intuitively know anything that produces a lot of space your woodwinds, for example, that kind of additional precautions should be taken or if possible it maybe you don't include those. but there's no thing in in in the regulations that said, you know, put away your clarinets ladies, you know, jazz season is over. So again it's it's about being practical and in your in your own guidance in your own theater forum guidance I think you have a lot of very good recommendations about how to kind of deal with with those sorts of situations for performance as well don't you perspex screens and that sort of thing.
Yes. And insofar as, you know, again, it's the common sense interpretation of those in the interim, I see Nick wants to come in here and we defer to Nick, Anton on all things, all things technical and all interpretation of the guidelines. So, was there something that was you
just it was just there's, there's a lot of questions there on masks. Zoom. Good, glad you were on the zoom with us. And there's a few questions there about masks, and specifically with within the capacities. So, as, as was said there were days where we don't actually have a proper answer to the 60% capacity, but going from the previous, previous meeting that we had when with the department a few weeks back, can't remember when, and the 50% capacity came in the masks were mandatory. And so far there's been no change to legislation, other than capacity, so one can only assume that in the 50% capacity with a mixed audience that the use of masks is mandatory and it's, it's recommended not to remove them during the performance. Because the nature of the mixed audience. So that was definitely in that previous meeting, so I don't know whether it's whether it's still the answer and then there was another question about the about the backstage thing, the backstage capacities, again, none of that's changed until the work in the new back to work protocol changes on the 20th, so anything after the 20th is a little bit up for grabs. But at the moment, we're the only thing really that has changed for us. There's a question on the masks, but the only thing really that has changed for us is the 60% capacity, and that's 40% use for social distancing just to clarify that. It's not 60% capacity it was two meters social distance and you do the best that you can with the 40%, so you may opt to only go with 120, because that's the way that your seat and rake models out that you can, you can make at least one seat between pods, or you may end up being able to put in. You know, the full 60% capacity that's just going to be venue to venue. It was just that. Okeydoke.
Thanks Nick and I think that's a very valuable point on the capacity when you are in the auditorium, it is 60% capacity, and there is a kind of a general agreement that a you aim for kind of maximum social distancing between your groups then maximum available social distancing so you've kind of moved away from the kind of the two meter one meter model because it's based on the capacity of the auditorium and perhaps in that auditorium at nine centimeters is, is the best that you can achieve, depending on your spacing, but But the objective is to try and achieve as much as you can between those groups. And one other point of clarification we had from the live entertainment as well, is that the capacity is based on your seated capacity. And rather than kind of, you know, a maximum area. Now, within that seated capacity, you know some of your venues might be more flexible there might be, you know, you might have had a mix of kind of sit, stand, total capacity, and maybe in those standing areas now you're putting in temporary seating so that temporary seating can be counted. And, you know, as part of your total seated capacity so we've clarified that with our colleagues as well.
And we've had lots of, lots of questions on young audiences, and I'm just going to see if anyone else wants to come in on that one. Just to the understanding is then it's 60% capacity, If it's kind of a public family audience type thing. And then if you're going at the moment if you're doing more of a school group, and you're back at the 50 capacity, just in terms of the, there's no mention of that being updated at the moment until the 22nd of October, and does that mean, am I right in saying that, or did I get that
slightly wrong. No, you're on percent right. So, I actually got in touch with the department about this yesterday because we are, we've got Barnstorm coming so Vince and I were chatting yesterday and it was also on the tech forums. So the school shows will barnstormer actually going to be on tour over the 22nd, so they're going to be in with us, and we can have 50 people and then the following Monday, they're going to be able to sell a full house to someone, but the, the way that the, the way that it's worked is a little bit of a knee jerk reaction, but I suppose it's just trying to, trying to get an answer to it. So you can have that, that poll of 15 with six idols nine children. Okay, however, so that would be six vaccinated adults and nine children that their vaccination status is unknown, however, because you. That would be every teacher in the school coming in with one group so that's not going to happen. So I think that the only way to be able to do it is to treat it as a mixed audience that there there's no, because we can't go ask and under a teens for the vaccination status. They'll just have to be a mixed audience, there's just no, I can't see a way around it and it's similar with. And it's really unfortunate too, because people who can't be vaccinated for genuine reasons, like medical reasons won't be able to come to won't be able to come to shows, unless you're on that 50% capacity as well there's no delegation written in there for a medical reason to for non vaccination, you have to produce a vaccine certification, and have a form of ID with you. Whether we asked for the form of ID as well or take it as read. I suppose is going to be venue to venue. But yeah, so, in terms of school shows will only be able to sell 50 For Barnstorm and whoever's at the following week will be able to sell a lot. Hope that answers.
Could you clarify further about the actual. You said that we'll have to treat that as a mixed audience, so if we had groups from different schools, would we be able to mix those schools together or how would they
you'd Absolutely, you would absolutely be able to mix those schools together, but only to a capacity of 50. So you could have a class from, you know the OT y from the boys school and the T y from girls school, but up to, up to 50, but that would be with full social distancing and masks so that would be 50 people to meet or social distancing and masks are mandatory. And then well up until the 22nd of October and then all of a sudden, all bets are off so you can bail as many children into the room as you want or as you're allowed to fit under the fire regulations, just to be on the safe side. But yeah, so that no, that's, that's exactly Patricia you can mix the schools because it's a mixed audience so it's the same as two families come into the show, but, but only to that lower capacity.
Well this is a particular area of concern because a lot of venues, children's festivals in the early part of October and it falls within this sort of challenging next seven weeks. And just then in relation to that, to those kind of mixed audiences for family shows them where you've got a mix of parents vaccinated and unvaccinated children are we also teaching them know
if you've got a children's show that families are bringing kids to Bosco or whatever, that's when you're six and nine rule comes in. So that's your maximum capacity so you can sell a pod of 15, that would be six adults that are vaccinated, and the under a teens their vaccination status doesn't have to be clarified. So they're welcome to show a vaccine certain for one, but, but you don't need to ask under 18, that a book there. So, you could have your 60% capacity for the likes of Bosco or whatever, but it still shows that are going to be the real problem because with all the other shows its parents bring in kids, you know, so it's, it's 60% capacity, but it does depend on that, if, if you end up in a situation where you, where you particularly want to have audience members that are over. Well actually this is something that was going through my mind it was there was possibility that you could you could run a short with a 50 capacity. A second shore with a 50 capacity to allow for people who can't be vaccinated. In certain circumstances, but that's the only way I think you could get around it so if you. So we, well, for example, we've got a film on Thursday morning. And so we can have 144 in there, roughly, we wouldn't have that but we could. And we just have to ask them where it's a private group, and it's the next stage. But we asked them to all be vaccinated, so that we could get the capacity because we didn't want to disappoint more of the children, and as it happens, what one family, on, on attendance, as a result of that, but it's, it's one family out of the whole lot I mean it's the vaccination numbers are so high, that it's not going to be a massive problem to us but it will be a problem because we all know only too well that we are going to have a John and Gemma brigade banging on the door saying, I want to come to a show why can't I come to the show. So, you know, we're gonna have to be prepared for that to an extent,
just further clarify them for these. If we're using the 6% rule. And I will be talking about when we have a family show, with parents and children, are we going back to the the bubble of 15 Or is there any is there any kind of cutoff point where you can only have so many children under the age of 18 included in the performance.
No that your, your maximum your maximum bubble in that instances is 15 is six, It's six adults, and nine children. So you just treated pair booking. Yeah, Harry. If you've got the, you know, so you'll have you'll have a massive mix of two adults and one child and one adult and three children, but as long as you don't go over that six nine rule, then that's the, that's the key to it. Okay.
If we can continue to add in questions on this, but it'd be good to just have a look at a couple of the alcohol bar questions that have come in if that was okay. So alcohol cannot be served in any place that has a license for the sale of alcohol and must be consumed ceases and I'll post the Folger Ireland guidelines again there. But we've had a few questions on that. And so the questions would include can drinks be bought at the counter. most drinks be consumed seated or can people offer kind of fixed standing areas you know the way we kind of do it sort of intervals that kind of thing. Interval drinks. And what about if people strip out their seating and move to cabaret style, accepting that there's about implication on those tickets, but can drinks them be served and consumed at the auditorium, all that kind of stuff.
And thanks very much. This is something that we've been working on. We did try, and I suppose, try and have the regulations amended to provide for consumption seated or in a designated area, kind of thinking about yourselves in particular, I suppose. Unfortunately, the plan and the decision of government didn't kind of allow for that kind of specific change in the regulations so currently they still provide for consumption seated. And I suppose, in practical terms if you strip out your seats, and you arrange it kind of Cafe theater style, and you are just operating the entire venue then on a kind of a hospitality basis your, your, your, your, I suppose you're like a hotel bar with a, with a guy playing, you know the piano or whatever is in the in the corner, so you'd have to adhere them to the kind of, you know the one meter back to back chairs and things like that. and so we would just, you would move away then from your kind of 60% capacity rule.
Okay, um, does anyone else have any specific bar con type questions that they want to pop in at this point or, sorry, sorry, just
a second before we got in the bar, can I just say that the 60% capacity is a maximum capacity, and the 50 people is a maximum capacity, if you can't get to meet or social distancing on your 50, you can't put in 50 this questions come up a couple of times there. So if your capacity is 34 with to meet or social distancing that says 34 And there's no, give or take on that. Okay, that was just back to the bar, sorry.
I suppose that we've, We've had quite a lot of very specific questions around bars and if people have questions around, you know mix of standard seating tables all sorts of different questions. Sure. Is there a place that they should direct those specific questions to maybe Folger Arlen directly, would you think or
I suppose fall to Ireland are very much dealing with the kind of hospitality setting. So if you're operating your, your whole venue on that kind of hospitality basis the Folger Ireland will be able to kind of assist you in that. And what we're doing is we're kind of a midpoint, as I said at the outset, we often need to kind of run these questions by our colleagues in public health, and by our colleagues in T shirts to get kind of clarification on what the intention of government was. And so I'm quite happy to take those if we don't have, have an answer for you. And, but I would sort of caution that sometimes. Each answer brings its own kind of rolling kind of set of additional queries then about the specifics. Sometimes we can, it can just take a little bit of time to kind of bottom out about the query, and just, we had one yesterday on kind of conferences, and the prescription on multiple bookings for restaurants so if you have a conference in your hotel. Can you take a multiple booking in your restaurant, and you know we clarified that and then what happens when you've two separate rules applying in your restaurant if you're still accepting walkins, or whatever. So sometimes it just takes us a bit of time to get to get to the bottom of it but in principle, if you're operating as a kind of Cafe the issue of your entire venue is operating, is that kind of licensed premises, then the hospitality kind of rules apply. If you're owning operating your bar on that basis then it only applies to the bar and the, the auditorium kind of operates for the 60% capacity of the 50 Max,
and we don't have an email, which I'll give to another thing circulate around a cultural support unit, and we can take queries into that and try and direct me in the right direction as well so if there's anything specific after the fact, you can send emails to that email address.
So can I just be really explicit on this. What you're saying is, at the moment, that if a theater lobby is laid out without seating, as the vast majority of the buyer. The buyer can serve alcohol.
Pretty, pretty much, because you have to consume it, seating, and the regulations have been changed in all sorts of dramatic ways following the government decision, but the one constant has been the provisions around the consumption of alcohol, and the 11:30pm closing has not changed, and the consumption seizure has not changed.
By the looks of things in the draft ePHI document, it does just see your seats. So, depending on the House policy on bringing drinks into the auditorium. I would imagine that as long as they're sitting in their designated seats in the auditorium, that's allowed, or if they're gone by. I don't know, Liam if whether you have one of these trays with a screen you could just put bottles of beer in it, and bring that around, but it's, it's, it's a really muddy, it's a really muddy position in between the. And I think we've got to be really careful of going down the, the hospitality. The hospitality thing as well, you know, because there are going to be subtle differences. The, the, there's, there's word in the draft document and this may have gone out by tomorrow about counter service, which you're not allowed to do in the hospitality industry unless that is also changing at the moment, because it's all got to be table service knows Dell industry. So you can't go up to the bar and order your beer, but it does, it does look like, and as I say it's only a draft so it may change by this morning. It does look like you can go up to the counter in the theater and buy a beer, and take it back to your seat. So
I think Nick we all remember the pitfalls of looking to too many different sets of guidelines and finding where they don't agree or they don't necessarily match up, and you know I think the, the common sense interpretation of what people have been doing and what people are familiar with. And by exception where there is a very particular type of event, and maybe Sharon Dierdre and the team would take those queries directly because not only are there COVID implications but there are vast implications and there are all sorts of other implications as well. And did, could we at this stage, maybe bring Paul Fadden of ticketsolve and Patricia and hang on to Liam and Nick and their expertise. And just maybe look to Paul first who's been working with so many of his, his own clients, and on conditions of sale for ticketing and sorting through all the GDPR issues that we did have a whole series of questions about those as well. But if we go firstly to Paul for an overview of what's been done and what's available to support people, and then maybe take questions in that area, and if that's if that would, if that would work for you, Paul. Yeah, that's
perfect so turns on it. Can I just deal with the vaccination certs, first of all, if that's okay because there's a lot of people and a lot of organizations have come and asked us about, you know, capturing vaccination status at the point of purchase a point of sale, or required proof of vaccination status at some point in the customer journey. Like that is possible within the technology within our platform you can ask that question but we advise against that because it should be varied due to GDPR so I spoke to a lot of customers as well and they're all avoiding that point, and I'll explain why in a second, because we don't believe that you need to ask that it's just adding in that extra piece, then also from a GDPR perspective, you just, you're, you're, you're going down that that rabbit hole where you're gathering data on people in sales, which you should not be doing. So that's the first thing. The second thing is dealing with shows that are already programmed, so the communications around that. So, while it was welcomed and awful our customers found that, just going back to costumes and tell them about the new restrictions in terms of how they've been lifted, but then having to have your COVID passport with you went on arrival. That was something that was a bit of a challenge but obviously you've got around that and I think we're quite lucky as well because an awful lot of the pubs and restaurants have already set the tone, were just personally as well I was at a restaurant at the weekend where and on arrival you're asked for your certain scans and where you go, so that's, I think, you know, the majority of people out there are very open to that. And there's very little pushback that we're hearing from our customers on their customer side. So that's, that's hugely welcome. The second thing is, which is really important is around secure communications throughout and I think that's something that our customers are working on a lot. So, on the website, whether it's on your show page, your T's and C's. The ticket purchase points their confirmation emails and appreciate show emails. And again, that's really important that that's clear exactly how you're going to do that, when people arrive at your, your venue or your organization. And that brings us on to the last part of it is just around the logistics around that and again I've been speaking to an awful lot of people on that. How is that going to work. So, a lot of who I spoken to, is when people arrive on the day the first point that's going to happen is is that they're going to be scanned using the government, scan on their passport, and if you don't have that, you can't get an entry into the, into the building. So that's what we recommend and that's what we're hearing from an awful lot of our customers as well. We also have created a blog post just on this detailing some of the communication some of the customers don't and I think all we have done a very good job on that that's going International Arts Festival, just in terms of their email and touchpoints that they have on the website as well, to inform people exactly what's going to happen when they arrive on the day of the event, and what's needed, and that they must produce their certificate, and that will be scanned before the game entry. So they're the kind of three main things, it's like, Obviously the pre shows what you have to do with that obviously you got to communicate to the customer just let them know. Also all the columns that are available to you and I think there's a huge amount of columns that are available to everybody in terms of from your website all the way down to your pre and post emails. And the last part, but then again, and it varies by organization because I was speaking to some customers as well as that they might not have the resources to scan people on the way in, because that's one point that they need additional resources, and then to also check people's tickets, once they get past that point. So, again, there's, those are the kinds of things that people need to bear in mind. Okay, anybody has any questions on that, delighted to.
I've posted your blog, and you're just really helpful that has so much information and I'll just post it again just in case anyone missed it. Any other questions on that one or we move into Backstage. What if sorry.
Apologies. May I ask a question, Irma. And this is to the room particularly Sharon and maybe Paul as well. What if a customer says that there's a legal issue around not letting them into performance because they don't have a medical certificate. Even if you have your terms and conditions that says they are subject to government guidance and subject to change any guidance on that or or or just,
um, I'll take it is the trickiest question. Currently, the regulations that provide for indoor operators and it's kind of indoor hospitality operators are the only power in legislation to, I suppose, seek proofs of of immunity, and we're taking a kind of a very liberal or not liberal. So, we're taking a broad interpretation that theater is with licenses are licensed premises and therefore are entitled to, to this regulation to seek these proofs of immunity. And as I mentioned, we are still bottoming out on some of the queries, this is one that we have referred to our legal adviser just a I suppose for a little bit of belt and braces intuitively it's, it seems, robust but we just want a little bit of additional cover on that for you. But in principle, that power is provided a you if you if you are licensed premises for what I would say and if you're not, and if you're not, then there is no power in regulation to seek these proofs of immunity, the advice from the AG is in those situations, and you're depending on the I suppose you're depending on contract law. So somebody has purchased a ticket, offered by you, under certain conditions, they've checked the box saying they are vaccinated, which is interpreted as providing consent for you to review their their immunity certificate, and at the door.
So for the non licensed premises, such as a bespoke arts space for the festival event or something like that, like, the Dublin Theatre Festival event or something like that, where it's non licensed premises.
Yeah, you're depending on contract law there, and you would have to, I suppose, all of the things that the previous speaker had kind of mentioned about the communication about the check in the box about making them aware that that. No, I
understand that part, I just want to clarify something. As such, then if you're depending on contract law and you're not subject to the SI that dictates entry based on a COVID certificate. Yeah, can you then avail of 60% 60% is guidance.
60% is not provided for in any regulation. So, it is guidance only so it's, it's the operators in the first instance, taking, taking that guidance so you can certainly available share
price. Can I hop in, Aaron have a quick question, just we've had customers have asked us if their daughter vaccinations can they again entry with a negative PCR test. A.
The DCC was due to be extended to incorporate a negative PCR tests, and Phase One was your vaccination Phase Two was kind of proofs of recovery were incorporation to the DCC. I have to say I don't know where that's at. In terms of the negative PCR test as as a means of getting your DCC but if you live with me I'll I'll follow up on that in the afternoon, degrees, thank you.
I think one other point as well and it's a fair question. So, in terms of people that don't purchase prior to these new regulations coming into play, what should you do around in terms of giving a refund, and I think, to be fair if somebody comes and said listen I can't attend. Now, due to X Y and Zed and the regulator's I don't vaccinate etc. I think in that scenario you probably do have to give a reformed customer. That said though, like based on data again, and the data it tells us that the majority of people who have been sent, comes around this, to let them know what the new regulations, there's been very, very little pushback from customers. So in general, customers are very open to this, as I said, the restaurants and the pubs have already set the trend on this, so you're not you're not getting an entry into a pub or a restaurant unless you provide your, your certificate. So I think that they've already kind of set that kind of process in place that people are willing to adhere to.
Paul, the sample communication in your blog, says that the pod system will no longer be in operation is, is that we were supposed to go. Then do you know or do we still need to operate pods.
Yeah, again, Shawn That's just, we didn't draft that that's based on one of our customers observed that that's their terminology around that and again I would open that up to the floor, is that something that, that we don't have to adhere to now as an industry, is around pods.
I might take that poll. The the intention is that the capacity. I suppose the percentage capacity doesn't eliminate the need for social distancing between groups but it kind of removes that specific to measure one measure, a requirement. So, the language that we've been using, and we're asking other people to use is 60% capacity with maximum available social distancing between groups, because obviously that's going to vary by venue. So it's to give you kind of, I suppose, flexibility in in what that exact number is, but whilst retaining this principle of ensuring the maximum available space between groups, and obviously you know the groups could be quite large, if you have like six plus nine. And that's, you know 15 People, you might have more space between your groups if you have lots of those you'll have less space between your groups if you have lots of smaller groups.
Deirdre and Sharon. Can I just jump in there just to double check the Department's view on mask wearing during an indoor performance.
We pair and go you know we've shows up and running and we've ramped up to the 60%. And part of the strategy has been we've just taught customers, you know, digital cert on the door but also mastering throughout their
time in the building, including during the performance of it is that now, different, you know, is it not a requirement to wear a mask during the performance.
I'll take that as I said I had to double check the regulations and what they say about auditoria but in answering the question, I suppose somebody had mentioned cinemas. And if you're eating your popcorn or whatever, you know, obviously it's difficult to do that with a, with a mask on. And so if it's okay I'll come back with that, I suppose, the general principle, always applies. So what is the safest way that we can operate in these situations. So the safest way is to wear your masks, unless you need not to, you know,
just while on the subject. I've had a couple of people contact us over the last few days to say that they have been contacted in their contact centers, and asked out strange data, a particular patron has a aversion to wearing masks that they claim is backed up by a medical reason. How far do you pursue us proof. Or do you just literally take us as read. And I suppose
I had a look at the regulations before it came on this morning about what constitutes a kind of a reasonable excuse, and, and I suppose it's kind of, you know, a physical or other kind of medical reason why you can't, or where it will cause kind of significant distress. I suppose the extent to which you know you need to see a letter from a GP or something is really a matter for the venue owners themselves. If you know the Patron if they're genuine. I mean I think you can take that on faith, a fault Ireland don't have any specific guidance on this. And so again they you know they're they're kind of leaving it very much up to the venue operators and I think as we move toward this model of personal responsibility. That's probably kind of appropriate rather than you know trying to regulate for all situations, some of which could be very very difficult for for both the patron and the and the venue.
Okay, so completely cynical hat on here. What you're effectively saying is it's a free for all.
I'm saying that you ask for a reasonable excuse and then if you are satisfied that the excuse is reasonable. Then, then you may proceed as, as, as you think appropriately.
Can I just which is probably the same. Does that also apply them to vaccination status of people are saying look, there's a medical reason why they, they can't be vaccinated. Is it is it a case of personal responsibility, Is it a case of each individual Art Center having its own policy in place about how they accept that whether they take it at face value, or whether they seek evidence.
And I suppose on that, and certainly for licensed premises, the situation is clearer, there is not as far as I'm aware, any reasonable excuse provision in the regulations that govern governance, and indoor hospitality. So it is a requirement to check proofs of immunity into into licensed premises and, and, also, as may be necessary to seek evidence that the vaccination certificate that you're reviewing pertains to that person. So there's a secondary provision around asking for a photo ID. So it is not the same kind of reasonable excuse derogation was reflected in our licensed premises.
So, we may have to bar entry to someone who can't provide proof of vaccination. Okay.
Yeah, in the same way that you know somebody's trying to gain entry to a pub or a restaurant on the same basis would not be provided with entry.
Thanks so much for answering those questions, we might just expand out from okay now, and to look more at the backstage area of things. We're joined by Pete Jordan, who's going to give us an overview on the work safety protocols, and then we will answer some questions on that. And so people want to
often Yeah, okay, they can hear me. Yep. Yep. Good. Yeah, thank you. So at the moment are limited references for the reframing the challenge documents to the return to work within the roadmap, but we can take that the updated work safety protocol will be a key guidance document. The Roadmap States public service organizations will develop long term blended working and return to our policies having regard to operational requirements, and in line with public health advice. It is reasonable to assume from that, that the government will expect private sector organizations to take a similar approach and how this affects this sector is probably a much larger conversation. So as discussed from October 22, a number of restrictions will be removed. These include social distancing to accommodate to wear masks outdoors and then indoor private sector settings but the government has said you don't have to wear a mask in the office but wearing it will be advised and allowing a return to physical attendance in the workplace in the face or cautious basis appropriate to each sector, but procedures are on how we manage infection control, including how are here to stay and to be integrated into normal working operations, each sector, each sector as Tanana stated is advised to review to review and align sector specific guidance and protocols that are appropriate to the public health management of COVID-19. At this time, presently along with the guidelines issued through Piriform the Art Council 5g Ireland COVID-19 venue guidelines and to hedge their online portal, don't look there are many really valuable resources in the form of templates and checklists, and especially on the HSA website, and cover essential topics like infection control induction training ventilation, which is the name of the game for the sector we're in antigen testing and returning to the office as deer just talked about re vaccinations and developing guidelines, it's important to consider what the tarnishes said that the government will consult, employers and trade unions but it is unlikely that employees will have a right and our employers will have a right to know of vaccination status of employees, and there may however be exceptions where workers are working with vulnerable people. It should be noted though that if you are fully vaccinated, and if you are a close contact and do not symptoms of COVID-19 You may not need to restrict your movement or get a test, I conduct tracer will tell you what to do when they, when you make contact and then close kind of situation, but of course if you develop symptoms are normal procedures apply. So it's incredibly important for people to update their current COVID plans and make sure it's in line with public health guidance, etc. So in the meantime all venues producing companies employer to review their audience capacities as discussed previously, staff company inductions, emergency plans related to change, especially with ongoing discussion around formats cabarets etc. Look at your COVID-19 plan, the existing operational plans, and the operational risk assessments, including COVID-19 does all the normal pre COVID risks to make sure that they're sufficiently robust and familiarize yourself with the latest government guidelines and public health advice with a core message to all staff and audience is not to go to work or to attend the venue, if they have feel symptoms of COVID-19, which is an underpinning message to everything. So that's where I, that's my spiel over with.
That's brilliant. Thanks so much peace. We're actually got a few questions and people want to pop. Other questions in about backstage stuff into the chat, but we will get got quite, quite a few questions about non professional events, and if they've if they're able to go ahead and such as armature community drama and musical side groups and we did get clarification on that, and they're ready to go ahead indoors with 60% capacity. We're all patrons are immune, but what about backstage can performers, upgrade as normal backstage and onstage of all adults. Adults are vaccinated and children are accompanied.
It's still the same open till October 22 We're still working to the walk safety protocols are all existing protocols don't stand. Perfect. And that applies for non professional groups backstage. Yeah, all groups. Perfect. Okay, those, that's all the questions I've got coming in. I'm sorry we're in the chat.
Where do all volunteers fall in this. Do they count as staff. Can we ask about vaccination status. Not
the same staff and volunteers have exactly the same rights as staff members, they're doing the volunteer part time workers full time workers, Euro class does the same thing you'll have the same rights. Pete did you said that about the 22nd there is the banked work protocol not being altered by the 20th tillow for offices returning to work.
Yeah, well, okay, the 22nd is the official lifting to the roadmap of the social distancing this is like a dirge or Sharon might have an idea about when the expected review rucksack document is going to be issued.
And Nick Yeah, I've just had something pop into me in my box just before this, I suppose. Around this there is going to be, I suppose some additional guidance coming through from the HSE, they're preparing kind of checklists and and I suppose to help with things like ventilation. in particular, and the extent to which the work safety protocol itself is being reviewed. I think it's possibly not being reviewed in that very kind of comprehensive way until the 22nd of October that we're probably looking at more of these kind of additional resources as opposed to substantial changes to the work safety protocol, but as I say this has just popped into my inbox so I don't know fully yet. But in any event, they are moving very very quickly on this. The leaf are meeting again very shortly, and we should have a, I suppose, more clarity on this by the end of the week.
Just an answer to Patricia's question there about the max immunity. This, the sixth, the, the part of the COVID Digital search check is for audiences. It doesn't actually take into any account, what the vaccination status of the staff that are working with them is, or the performance on stage is purely about audiences, it's exactly the same as you can go into a pub and get table service from an 18 year old, that hasn't been vaccinated, or a 50 year old that hasn't been vaccinated. So it's, it's, it's nothing to do with staff at all it's purely for those 60% Audience members that are coming into your interior auditorium. Question valuable clarification Nick, I think that's,
that's my question, centering around, should we be doing testing of artists from a business continuity point of view. That is the decision that every single production is going to have to make, because if an average staff in a factory or whatever, lose 5% of their staff to to isolation, there's not an issue. But if, if a cast loses five or 10% of their staff to isolation, then the clearly is. So, the, the business continuity side of the equation hasn't really changed. You see, every production still has to make a decision about whether they're going to have sufficient understudies to step into the roles or whether they're going to implement testing programs, or whether they're going to interject into meant implemented mobile systems, and mobile systems are really difficult. Don't Don't be deceived as to, we'll call it a bubble and it would be grand. That no mobile systems are people living together, and paying for accommodation. You know that they are very expensive and very convoluted to put together. So testing regimes are not gone away from the cost point of view, or potentially from crew point of view, necessarily yet, because it boils down to, are you willing to take the risk of not having the show on. That's nothing to do with audience capacity or COVID certs, or anything else that's to do with whether your business continuity models, when you're putting the show together in the first place, allows for cancellation.
I think Liam as well that question is prompted by, you know, that kind of getting back to the basic responsibility we have to create a safe environment for for staff for artists and the public, and how we, how we monitor that I think a lot of people are struggling with that kind of disparity and the rules that apply to the audience, compared with what we, what we do with artists and and staff
see a duty of care to an employee is hired and duty of care to a public,
always has been, it's just exactly the same with all previous health and safety legislation
also depends on what you're asking your employees to do. So, your, your, your public are being distanced as best as possible for the next five weeks and after that they're making a choice to come to the theater and even if it's at 100%, your employees are being directed to do a particular task, be it on stage or in the wings that task may put them at an increased risk due to proximity with other people. And that is where, if you have to put them close together, then there has to be another mitigation. So did you do care and that sense hasn't changed. You may have taught testing regimes together, you may have to push mask wearing mitigations or whatever in the wings wherever it's possible, or you may have to program shells, but less people in them, you know, there's all sorts of different types of models of how you achieve this and a lot of them unfortunately boil down to money,
and there isn't nice, because I think guidelines are wrong that isn't down to the individual management's to develop their own protocols in relation to these.
They are all employees so there is protocols out there the return to work documents do exist. And if you're going outside, The Return to Work document, ie, if you have two performers on stage who have to embrace or something like that, that's outside the realm of what's provided for in return to work documents. So that's then is an individual risk assessment pair production as to whether those two people who have to get very close for whatever reason on stage, I have the appropriate mitigations in place.
I think Liam. Is it is it fair to say that the interim periods the period coming up is all about. A common sense interpretation of existing guidelines and making the best decision in the circumstances, but post October 2022, the new HSE work he just say sorry work safely protocol is going to override everything else onstage and backstage, and for employers, whether they be arts organizations or art centers or theaters that the word political will be central to how operationally arts centers theaters production companies will work.
Yeah, effect yes both that's from a health and safety point of view, from a business continuity point of view, we still have to make decisions about whether we have sufficient mitigations in place that the cost, don't end up in isolation and that they don't end up having to have a canceled show as a result,
and have to take account, everybody will have to take account of the difficulties around asking questions about vaccination status of employees or visiting companies or touring companies, and it being discriminatory to ask those questions when, you know, deciding who to cast in a particular role or who works on a particular show,
because this goes beyond health and safety. This were, this is where we're straying into business continuity now. Yeah. Yeah. Can we afford to put a show on where we don't take those mitigations. Yeah, it's a bit it's not going to be nice but it's going to have to be the case because we have to know that we can actually put a show on and continue to put it on and have the appropriate backup and support from whatever level of cast and crew are involved.
Did you just cast and crew and free tickets to a film and then scan them on the way in
the end. Other, other ways to circumvent various situations. And did you just want to make mention Liam, of. It's a sort of a post October 2022 issue that maybe we've all forgotten a little bit about, and significant as it is going to be as we emerge from all of this, but did you just want to make mention of Brexit and the landscape ahead, as you were briefly.
Yeah, well look, it's very simple, there's, there's a monster hiding in the next room that we haven't entered yet. And we've all been shielded from this, there are significant issues to be dealt with in terms of importing or exporting sets of equipment, personnel, staff sets could be quite a significant issue if they're being hired hiring clots from abroad hiring lighting equipment sound equipment, whatever your usual suppliers, whether you realize that or not regularly so hire equipment from outside the state. That is going to become more difficult. If you are used to being able to get certain equipment at the drop of a hat. Talk to your suppliers, it may not be the case in the future that it's as easy they might need more notice, they might have to charge more. The difference can bring in a truck, just as an example. It used to cost about 150 to 200 euros to bring a palace, from the UK at short notice. It's no closer to nine. So, just basic stuff like that is gonna impact. Even if you're used to dealing with Irish suppliers, talk to them, Find out where they really get their gear from, because there's a lot of people appear to have very big warehouses, but in actual fact, a lot of that's just transit equipments coming through from some of the large global suppliers. So, but there's huge things and don't don't ignore us. That's all the size, start to get started looking now because we've been shielded from Brexit retail haven't. They've seen what what the problems are, but we haven't seen the problems yet.
And just, thankfully, and I suppose, maybe we might just look to, or look to Keon, for an update on NCFA activities because long before COVID And in fact during COVID, and the recent, the 18 months of crisis that we've lived through. And there are taskforce recommendations with the department. And one of the most key one of those is the UBI pilot, and, and, as we emerge from as pop payments are reduced over the coming months and into early next year, and AWS as supports will also be reduced over the in the coming months and we're still waiting I think for quarter four guidance as to what's relevant and applicable on AWS s, but I think all of those issues investment in the sector and artists being paid conditions pay and conditions are all still issues that need to be tackled. And I think the NCFA have been have been working long and hard over the last number of months to bring those issues to the attention of the department administering government. And I think a lot of the lifting of restrictions in the last few weeks has been done to a lot of their efforts and the efforts of other people on this call, but key and above, at this point. And did you want to give us just an update on some of the activities that the NCFA are currently pushing and lobbying for and working for.
Thanks, Anna Hello everybody. Yes, I suppose, whereby two. We're about to launch our P budget submission, which we would have done a number of weeks ago, but we were slightly delayed by all of the reopening meetings, and stakeholder meetings over the last few weeks so we we have, we will launch it next week, or later this week depending on the graphic designers, availability, but our current kind of I suppose focus in relation to that has been already having conversations with the major political parties, and we've had very, I suppose positive engagement across, across the board from the major parties in relation to the contents of, of the pre budget submission, and we'll be meeting the minister and her senior officials in the department soon about us. And I suppose our kiosks are around funding around for the Arts Council and culture Ireland increases 250 million for the Arts Council as per their own pre budget submission and increase to 7 million for cultural Ireland, we're proposing a creative bonus is sustained for the further for further five years it's due to finish up next year and that's looking fairly, fairly positive big focus has been our work around the basic income pilot for artists, it's not a UBI, it is a it is a different scheme as far as we understand there is an oversight group within the department, to whom we have presented, and our I suppose our requests around the basic income pilot are that it matches what is in the taskforce report which is the payment around 327 Euro, a week, that it's run by revenue department, and not by social protection that it's not means tested, and we're proposing a form of a lottery, that would give them the most accurate, I suppose, trial, given that everybody who may be eligible for it may not, they may not have enough places for for them on the, on the pilot, we don't know the numbers yet we're waiting for the, the outcome of the oversight groups recommendations which are due in advance of the budget, and we would hope that the pilot would begin from January 2022 But that may be. That may be a pipe dream that may be slightly later in the year, in order to actually build the build the whatever kind of system they put in place the pre budget submission will also address a number of other kind of structural issues in relation to local authority funding and ring fencing review of of tax insurance reform, looking at issues such as sustainability climate change, wider access and diversity in the arts, and a big focus for us on research and establishment of a research unit in within the department. A lot of the, I suppose the information that we need as a lobbying group or maybe even that the, the Art Council might need or other bodies, has been significantly enhanced by the by the work that the Archives has been able to do with for example, a why over the last year and a half, that's given us information about the sector that we don't have. And so we're calling for the, the establishment of research unit in order to be able to, to, to be able to have that information to hand. We'll be in touch. The local constituency coordinators will be in touch with with everybody about how to communicate with your local representatives whether TDs or local councillors on with information on, you know how to communicate the chaos within it and we'd really appreciate people's support of Nash. So that'll be our focus. And then, and then really trying to make sure that we are able to deliver. I suppose the basic income pilot or that the department would be able to deliver the basic and compilers that were supposed to be a key focus of our lobbying to the end of the year. I'm happy to take any questions. Thanks.
Thanks so much, Ken. Would anybody. If anybody would like to ask a question, and just in relation to all of those NCFA asks which I think are very well publicized and available on the NCFA website and. But meanwhile, if people would like to just I suppose knows that the AGM theater Forum's AGM will happen on 30th of September, and the pay scales surveys which have been carried out, and looking at the years 2019 and 2020 have already been published on our website, and those pay scales findings will be a key agenda item at the AGM meeting for members on the 30th of September, and we will come back to you with a members meeting, as soon as the new work safety protocol is published, because I think it will require quite a bit of attention from everybody in order to implement it and interprets it and apply it correctly, it does have ventilation requirements as Nick mentioned earlier, but I think that's the subject of an entire meeting on its own. And I think that also. There are other issues as we get to the end of the tax year, and or tax returns for artists who were have been self employed, even if they haven't had work over the last while, but there are, there was a tax implication on pop payments and pop payments are being phased out over the coming few months. So again we will we will convene a workshop, and share whatever expertise we can, and is relevant to you, in, in approaching the end of the tax here. And, as always, if there are other supports that would be useful, please talk to, Irma, Katie or myself as, and we welcome suggestions input, and are hugely appreciative of the expertise of everybody here this morning, and your willingness to share it with us, as well as with Org members. So thanks to everybody, and look forward to seeing you as we emerge from this COVID period, extended COVID periods in the coming months. Thanks again.