Variety advice

Advice for Variety Artists and Entertainers

Updated 14 July 2021

Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted throughout the UK in the coming days and weeks. A brief summary of the main changes that affect entertainers are detailed on this page.


The key changes for entertainers

Announced 12 July 2021

The UK government announced on 12 July 2021 that the planned removal or restrictions would be able to go ahead in England from 19 July 2021. This means that the country is at Stage 4, with the following are in place from 19 July:

  • All entertainment and hospitality businesses can open including nightclubs.
  • Social distancing is no longer required so venues can be open at full capacity.
  • There is no restriction on the size of gatherings indoors or outdoors.
  • The wearing of face coverings will no longer be mandatory and will be decided by individual businesses, premises and workplaces. Face coverings will remain mandatory on London Transport covered by TFL.
  • There is no instruction to continue to work from home. Return to offices should be phased back in on a gradual basis.
  • Enabling of large events above the Step 3 capacity restrictions.
    Some events remain under review and subject to research where social distancing is
    difficult and there are large crowd sizes such as sporting events, festivals, concerts,
    conferences and large weddings.

Useful links


Announced 14 July 2021

Wales moved fully from alert level two to alert level one on Saturday 17 July - bringing it more broadly in line with England and Scotland. There will also be a further relaxation on 7 August, if cases remain low, to a new level zero which will see most restrictions gone. But after 7 August face masks will still be retained for some settings.

The changes from 17 July 2021 are:

  • Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.
  • Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 people seated and up to 200 standing.
  • Limits on the numbers of people who can meet outdoors, as well as the legal requirement to social distance, will be scrapped.
  • Ice rinks can reopen and children in groups of up to 30 can visit kids' residential activity centres.

    From 7 August (Alert Level 0):

  • All premises, including nightclubs, will be able to open and most - but not all - restrictions will be removed.
  • There will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet others.
  • Face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, with the exception of hospitality settings.
  • Indoors social distancing measures will be replaced with a requirement for firms and venues to assess the COVID risk.
  • Those fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate on their return from an amber list country, in line with the position in England and Scotland.

Useful links


Announced 13 July 2021

From 19 July 2021

Scotland is taking a more cautious approach to the removal of restrictions as it moves to Level 0 from 19 July with the aim to remove restrictions further from 9th August. Maximum gathering sizes are being increased to 10 people from up to 4 households indoors and up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors. Children under 12 do not count towards that total.

Nightclubs are not being allowed to open and face coverings will remain mandatory for the time being.

Hospitality settings can open till midnight, if their current licence permits that, and customers will no longer be required to pre-book a two-hour slot to go to a pub or restaurant but will still be required to provide contact details to assist Test & Protect. Up to 200 people will be able to gather at weddings and funerals.

From 04:00 Monday 19 July, travellers who are fully vaccinated through a UK vaccination programme and children arriving into Scotland from Amber List countries will no longer be required to self-isolate and take a day eight test, but adults and children over 12 will still take tests before travelling and on day two after arrival. Anyone testing positive for or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will still require to isolate for 10 days.

People should continue to work from home where possible.

Useful links

Northern Ireland

Changes to the regulations commenced on 5 July 2021 with further changes expected from 26 July (subject to review from 22 July).


Currently from 5 July 2021: Hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in members’ clubs) are permitted to open. A maximum of six people can be seated together. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household, as long as it is not more than 10. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. Live music is permitted in licensed and unlicensed premises. Music must be at ambient levels that permit normal conversation and with suitable mitigations in place. A person responsible for a hospitality business must take reasonable measures to ensure that social distancing measures are maintained at all times to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.


People should continue to work from home where they can. Marriages and civil partnerships: Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, celebrations and functions are permitted. Post-ceremony celebration at a private dwelling must comply with domestic setting regulation. Live music is permitted in licensed and unlicensed premises. Music must be at ambient levels that permit normal conversation with suitable mitigations in place. Dancing is not permitted at weddings that are being held in licensed or unlicensed premises. The only exception to this is the couple’s ‘first dance’.


Funeral services are not permitted in private homes.

From the indicative date 26 July 2021 (subject to review 22nd July) the following will apply:


10 people from no more than three households will be allowed to meet in a private

dwelling and stay overnight. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. If a single
household has 10 members, the maximum is increased to 15 from no more than three households. (Currently six people from no more than two households).


15 people from any number of households will be allowed to meet in a private garden. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. (Currently: Up to 15 people (including children) from no more than five households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, maintaining social distancing.)

Household Bubbles

Will end as they will no longer be needed.

Social distancing

The legal requirement for social distancing will be reduced where relevant to a
minimum of one metre indoors and remove the requirement for all outdoor activities and public
transport. On public transport, one metre should be maintained unless not possible, in which case
other mitigations must be in place.

Entertainment, leisure activities and cultural attractions

The return of audiences will be permitted in theatres, concert halls and other venues, as well as the return of conferences and exhibitions. Live music without restriction to volume will also be permitted in concert halls, theatres and other indoor venues. (Currently: Outdoor and indoor visitor attractions are permitted to open (theatres and concert halls are not included) and are subject to the requirements on gatherings to determine the maximum numbers permitted access. Live music is permitted at outdoor events, without restriction to volume.

Close contact services

Close contact services will be permitted to operate without appointments and to undertake overlapping appointments. (Currently: Close contact services (including those provided from a mobile setting) are permitted to open strictly by appointment.

Useful links



Equity Contacts

England, Mike Day

Wales, Simon Curtis

Scotland and Northern Ireland, Adam Adnyana