Covid-19 Best Practice
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS-CoV and SARS (Cov). The official name for this new disease, not previously seen in humans, is COVID-19. On 11 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorised it as a ‘pandemic’ which, in WHO terms, is ‘the worldwide spread of a disease’.
COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu, where there is close contact between people. If someone with the virus coughs or exhales and is within a metre of someone else, the other person could catch it by breathing in droplets of infected fluid. People can also catch it by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. Most people infected with the virus have mild symptoms and recover, but some experience more serious illness and may need hospital care. People over 40 seem to be more vulnerable, as are those with weakened immune systems or an underlying health condition such as diabetes, cancer and lung disease.
The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. Common signs of infection include a fever, a cough and difficulty in breathing.
People’s health and wellbeing, and stringent measures to prevent the virus from spreading, are at the heart of Wassail Theatre Company's best practices.
Informed and prepared
Wassail will ensure that we keep up to date with Government and public health advice: This is a very fast-moving issue. We promise to keep up to date daily with the situation as it develops in regards to the infection, using official and expert medical sources such as GOV.UK, the National Health Service and NHS 111 online coronavirus service. Government information is being updated regularly.
We actively encourage hygiene protection measures to help prevent the infection’s spread, including:
Making sure your place of work is clean and hygienic.
Regular and thorough hand-washing by everyone.
Encouraging people to use and bin tissues.
Implement 2 metre social distancing or one metre plus where that isn’t possible
The Government and public health advice is that anyone with certain symptoms (such as a high temperature of 37.8 degrees or above and/or a new, continuous cough) must self-isolate at home for seven days from when the symptoms started. People in this situation do not have to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
The Government has recently expanded its COVID-19 testing framework. The guidance covers who is eligible, how to get tested and the different types of tests. There’s an online self-referral portal for those eligible to apply for a test themselves.
On 23 March, the Prime Minister addressed the nation and instructed people to 'stay at home' to stop the disease spreading between households.
In a second address on 10 May, the Prime Minister changed this advice to ‘stay alert’.
From 28 May, a new NHS test and trace system launched in England: anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms can be tested, and if they test positive their recent contacts can be traced. Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate. Anyone notified that they’ve had close recent contact with someone who has tested positive, must self-isolate if advised to do so by the test and trace service.
On 17 July the Prime Minister announced that from 1 August the Government’s advice for England on going to work will change: ‘Instead of government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion, and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.’ This could still mean continuing to work from home, or it could mean making workplaces safe by following COVID-secure guidelines. ‘Whatever employers decide, they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work if it is safe,’ said the Prime Minister.
People’s health and safety are paramount and physical distancing still applies.
Wassail Theatre Company response.
Wassail Theatre Company will ensure they can meet three key tests before work commences.
Is it essential? If people can continue to work from home, they must continue to do that for the foreseeable future.
Is it safe? We have a duty of care to identify and manage risks to ensure that the work is sufficiently safe. We will take time to discuss specific health and safety measures in practice with each artist.
Is it mutually agreed? It’s vital that there’s a clear dialogue between Wassail Theatre Company and our artists so concerns can be raised and individuals’ needs and worries can be taken into account. There needs to be flexibility on both sides to accommodate different working times or schedules to manage these issues.
Health, Wellbeing and Safety
Health, safety and wellbeing during this pandemic is paramount. Wassail recognises that we have a statutory duty of care for our artists health and safety. We also recognise that we have a strong moral responsibility to ensure that artists feel safe and secure about their contract and payments.
Wassail will be proactive in protecting our artists and minimising the risk of the virus spreading. Wassail’s duty of care for the health and safety of our artists includes anyone who is working remotely.
We recognise that artists who may be concerned about the risk of infection will need reassurance. Wassail will communicate clearly to artists that they need to take basic hygiene precautions, such as effective hand-washing, and avoid all non-essential travel and social contact to help reduce the spread of the virus. We encourage artists to follow official public health and medical advice closely and advise us if they think they may have caught the virus, or are at risk of contracting it.
Wassail is committed to communicating with their artists who are working from home and we will look out for their wellbeing as we recognise that it can be an isolating experience.
In case of emergency it is important to prioritise safety: In the event of fire or accident people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe to do so.
Wider Health and Wellbeing Concerns
We are committed to reassuring artists if they have concerns, and keeping them well informed about our policies and contingency plans.
We understand that some people may have real concerns about catching the virus, while others may have worries about family or friends in a higher-risk group.
Wassail will make contingency and return-to-work plans for any artists who need them.
In the event that Wassail need to action a contingency plan with artists we commit to
Introduce flexible timelines
Flexible invoicing and payment schedules
Discrete and careful management of information surrounding individual cases
Mental health charity Mind has published guidance on coronavirus and wellbeing
Self isolating, official guidance