This article was created following the Scottish Government’s update to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels announced on Tuesday 11 May 2021.
We have rounded up some of the main guidance notes and links for providers and users of creative production facilities and studios, and those running workshops and classes in Scotland during the pandemic.
Read more on the Scottish Government website: guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces and guidance for the community learning and development sector.
A previous article “Post-Lockdown: Advice for Creative Studios & Workshops” was published on Friday 3 July 2020, following the Scottish Government's move to Phase 2 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) plan. This is an updated version with the latest guidelines.
Five key areas to consider for all businesses and practitioners
When planning for a restart and ongoing production businesses, organisations and practitioners should consider the following key areas to minimise the transmission of the virus:
- Assessing risk: involving the workforce in a risk-based approach to a safer workplace
- Workforce planning: supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not
- Operational guide for studio providers: changing the studio environment to keep everyone safe
- Operational guide for studio users: working together safely
- Training and compliance
Physical distancing duties are set out in The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
1. Physical distancing for creative studios and workshops
Creative studios and workshops will want to consider the following factors:
- Facility layout and signage with clear marking of 2 metres boundaries around the workplace and workstations, and signage which reinforces expectations of workers at relevant points
- Limiting access to parts of the workplace required by an individual to do their job as this will limit the chances for interaction with others
- Staggering entry and exit times
- Staggering break times and adjusting canteen arrangements
- Splitting the workforce into specific teams
- Considering opportunities to introduce additional technology support and systems to assist in managing the safe working practices and physical distancing
2. Physical distancing for running workshops and classes
When running a workshop, organisers will want to ensure:
- A distance of 2 metres is maintained between any person on the premises, and any person waiting to enter the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
- That they only admit people to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
The use of floor markings and signage can help to remind people to maintain the protocols put in place.
What does Studio Holder mean?
The guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces applies to a range of studios, for example:
- Single business renting a number of rooms with a single main access point
- Shared workspace in which creative activities are undertaken by a variety of non-resident workers
- Shared workspace in which many people rent desks for a settled period
- Community-operated workspaces such as makerspaces
- Individual studio spaces with shared communal kitchen and toilet facilities
- Individual studio spaces with no shared entrance/exit and kitchen/toilet facilities, but which may be visited by clients and/or collaborators
- Business providing spaces on a flexible or fixed term basis
- Recording studios
If you intend to run workshops in studios, please follow the guidance for the community learning and development sector.
Studio providers should use the guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces to engage with building representatives, studio users, trade union or workforce representatives.
The Scottish Government have provided a checklist of actions that studio providers should take (opens PDF). This includes mandatory actions as well as actions that should be considered where relevant.
1. Employees and studio users
All businesses must consult and involve their workers in the reopening process, where appropriate. This should be through recognised trade union health and safety representatives, or relevant employee safety representatives.
For workplaces without union representation, union health and safety representatives will be available upon request to support the development of workplace risk assessments. For businesses wishing to use this service please email email@example.com.
An individual risk assessment guidance and tool has also been developed to help staff and managers consider the specific risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.
2. Visitors and workshop attendees
Many people may access studio facilities who are not studio users, employees or tenants, such as visitors, trades people or people attending workshops.
Studio providers should ensure clear communication around the expectations for how everyone should behave within the facilities, including entering and leaving the site, clarifying responsibilities for everyone around maintaining good hygiene and physical distancing.
Delivering workshops and classes
Workshops can now take place following the guidance for the community learning and development sector.
In Levels 1 and 2, for learners under the age of 18, learning is permitted indoors and outdoors with a maximum number of 30 people in any space, including facilitators. For learners over the age of 18 this number is limited to 15 people in any space, including facilitators.
In Level 3, the preferred method of delivery for workshops is online or outdoors.
Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and Public Health Scotland have produced guidance for community groups, organisations and volunteer networks resuming services after lockdown. Read it on the SCDC website.
1. Creative studios and workshops
Studio providers should carry out and regularly review an appropriate Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk assessment and action plan.
Enough time should be allowed for adequate planning, anticipating access requirements of disabled visitors and the potential need for briefings and inductions, and a limited-scale pilot to test systems, where practical.
Employers have a duty to consult employees on health and safety. Consultation should occur, where relevant, with full and part-time staff, contractors, shift workers, security staff and facilities and cleaning staff.
Further guidance and accompanying tool on individual occupational risk assessment are available from the Scottish Government website.
Where a workspace is shared with other organisations or rented from a landlord, individual organisations maintain responsibility for developing a risk assessment for staff and volunteers.
If studio providers suspect a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, they should immediately inform their local NHS board Health Protection Team (HPT).
2. Workshops and classes
When running workshops, studio providers should consider what measures need to be implemented to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workshop facilitators and learners.
Risk assessment for workshops should focus on hygiene and physical distancing.
A workshop facilitator may be required to undertake work in a range of locations and settings. This could create an additional risk of transmission and it should be factored into the planning process and reflected in risk assessments.
Where PPE is required, users must be provided with adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure it is used and disposed of correctly.
Organisations providing workshops and classes are asked to limit travel for facilitators and participants as far as possible while providing services. Employers and service providers should communicate information from the transport transition plan on how to stay safe whilst using public transport with the workshop facilitators.
If you have any questions about opening up your studio or workshop space, contact your Local Authority Environmental Health Service.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis provides an indication of the order in which the Scottish Government will seek to lift current restrictions.
Easing restrictions will not mean returning to how things were before the virus. Physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other critical behaviours will be essential in each area to ensure public and workforce confidence.
You can find further business support available for the Scottish Governement and UK Government at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot.
For creative studios and workshops: guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces.
Additionally, for creative studios and workshops which are planning to reopen in hospitality or retail spaces: guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector.
For creative studios and individuals delivering workshops and classes: guidance for the community learning and development sector.
Further Scottish Government guidance:
Other guidance and useful links:
- NHS Inform advice for key workers
- Citizens Advice guidance for businesses and workers
- UK Government guidance on working safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Health Protection Scotland (HPS) guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) non-healthcare settings
- Healthy Working Lives Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance
- SCDC Supporting Communities Safely resource
This article is for information purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional or legal advice. Always seek the advice of your local authority, trade union, the Scottish Government or the UK Government on matters relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).