Emergency funding available for arts, culture and heritage doubled to £60 million to tackle impact of Omicron

Funding now totalling £60 million will give crucial support to museums, cinemas, theatres and heritage across the country, with more time to get applications in to benefit as many of those affected as possible. 


Now open for applications, emergency grants will safeguard local museums and heritage, independent cinemas and regional theatres so that they can continue to support jobs, contribute to the economy, and make sure everyone has access to culture and heritage on their doorstep. The government is also extending the application window by a week until January 18, to give more organisations a chance to apply to the fund and help protect even more jobs.


  • Additional immediate support also announced for creative freelancers impacted by the pandemic over the Christmas period.  

Government funding via Arts Council England will provide an immediate £1.5 million to support freelancers affected by the pandemic, alongside a further £1.35 million contribution from the theatre sector. This will provide grants of £650,000 each directly to the Theatre Artists Fund, Help Musicians, and £200,000 to a-n, the Artists Information Company, a charity for visual artists which will distribute cash to freelancers over the coming weeks.


COVID-19 status checks are mandatory for venues such as nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques, and late night dance venues, regardless of whether they are hosting an event or how many people are attending. For other venues (such as indoor or outdoor sport stadia, conference centres and exhibition halls, live music venues, theatres and concert halls), COVID-19 status checks are only required where they are hosting an event which meets the relevant attendee threshold. The reasonable measures that venues must take to check COVID-19 status should usually consist of checks on all attendees before allowing entry.  Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques and other late night dance venues must carry out checks on every person before they can enter.However, you may allow people to enter to avoid injury or escape a risk of harm (for example, to address a medical emergency) without checking their COVID-19 status. This applies to all venues and events of all sizes.

Circumstances where spots checks are allowed

There are also other limited circumstances where it may not be reasonably possible for you to carry out COVID-19 status checks on all attendees at events where this is mandatory without endangering the safety of those attending the event or others. The overwhelming majority of events will check the COVID-19 status of all attendees.  Spot checks may be used in the following limited circumstances if it’s not reasonably possible to check proof of COVID-19 status for all attendees at these events:

1. The event is:

  • an indoor event with 500 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
  • an outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
  • any event with more than 10,000 attendees

2. The majority of attendees are expected to arrive for a fixed start time, where entrants are likely to all arrive in a short space of time.

3. It is not possible to set up checkpoints away from the entry points, and carrying out a check on every person would lead to a crowd gathering outside the venue or event.

4. That crowd would either present a risk to the safety of the persons in the crowd, or to any other person, or provide a potential target for terrorist action – read more information on hospitality security considerations

In these circumstances, if it is not practical to check the NHS COVID Pass of all attendees, you must carry out an assessment of risk and determine the percentage of checks that can safely be carried out. The responsible person must submit this assessment of risk to apply to the relevant local authority at least 10 working days in advance of the event.  The local authority will either approve the measure, ask for alterations or reject the proposal thereby requiring the venue to conduct 100% checks. If the local authority replies less than 5 working days before your event then the spot check application will be treated as approved.

For events held between the 15 December and 30 December (inclusive), event operators that meet the criteria and want to apply spot checks must submit an assessment of risk to their local authority. If the criteria are met and the submission made reasonable requests, spot checks can be used without local authority assessment.

The responsible person for the event or venue can use the template attached to complete the assessment of risk. They will then need to submit it to the relevant local authority.

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