Step 4 guidance for theatres in England

The government has published guidance for Events and Entertainment sectors for Step 4, which comes into effect from 19 July.

The guidance for this step covers the broader category of events and entertainment, rather than being specifically for performing arts as in earlier stages. 

Read the full guidance on the website.

Instead of legal requirements, this step has moved to being about an individual risk based approach – determined by your own health and safety risk  assessments to identify the necessary measure to control that risk and ensuring that this is properly communicated to staff and audience / visitors alike. There is a reminder that enforcement action can be taken should venues fail to comply with their duty to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety, including the risk from Covid-19. However, it is unclear how this would work as current government guidance is based on recommendations rather than being mandatory and making risk mitigation measures difficult for venues to enforce. 

It is likely that Licencing within your local authority will ask to see your risk assessments to assess them against the standards required within the government guidance. There may be differing interpretations that arise given that this guidance is new. 

Key actions

There are six priority actions given

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from COVID-19
  2. Turn people (staff and customers) with COVID-19 symptoms away. The guidance states that it is against the law to knowingly let someone who has been told to self-isolate to come to work. 
  3. Provide adequate ventilation to make sure there is a supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. It suggests that a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated. 
  4. Clean more often, especially surfaces that are touched a lot and ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and clean their hands frequently. 
  5. Enable people to check in at your venue for example through an NHS QR code. While this is not a legal requirement it is suggested that the facility is still provided. 
  6. Communicate and train to all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.

Face masks

While face covering are no longer required by law in England, the guidance recommends encouraging people to continue to wear them in enclosed and crowded spaces. We have heard that one theatre will be keeping a supply of masks to give out to any customers arriving without them, which may be something you want to consider.

If you have any questions or concerns about this guidance, please get in touch with us at