Updated Advice for Creative Studios & Workshops

Photography by Caro Weiss

Photography by Caro Weiss

Article originally published: Friday 21 May 2021 

Article last updated: Friday 24 September 2021 


From Monday 9 August 2021, the whole of Scotland will be moving beyond Level 0 of the Strategic Framework. This means that most legal restrictions that had been in place to reduce the risk of the virus during the past year will no longer apply, and that all places and businesses can open. 

However, it is important to remember that the pandemic is still with us. With Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases high in Scotland, it’s vital we do all we can. Help Stop The Spike by following these five key steps: 

  • Keep mixing with others to a minimum 
  • Try to meet people outdoors wherever possible 
  • Try to keep a distance from others 
  • Continue to wear face coverings when required 
  • Continue to test regularly 

Alongside these key steps, event's organisers and participants, studio holders, tenants and visitors should be aware of, and apply, these additional safety measures:

  • Ventilation when socialising indoors 
  • Cleaning hands regularly 
  • Wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance, even when vaccinated 
  • Following relevant transport safety measures  

Read the latest guidance from the Scottish Government for the most up to date information on the restrictions and re-opening procedure in your sector. 

This article was originally created following the Scottish Government’s update to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels announced on Tuesday 11 May 2021. As such, many of the key guidance notes published will now have changed. Please refer to the Scottish Government for the specific guidelines applicable to your business: 


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  



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 


Studio providers should use the guidance for creative studios and shared workspaces to engage with building representatives, studio users, trade union or workforce representatives.  


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 safety@stuc.org.uk

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


Risk assessments 


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.  

You can download a risk assessment template from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as well as consult their guide on what to include.  

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. 


Next steps   


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.


Further links  


Other guidance and useful links: 



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). 

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Mayanne Soret
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Mayanne Soret