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  • Elidh Gardiner

The Studio and Covid 19

The Studio is not currently usable as an art room after 4th July until the Government restrictions are further eased.

The risk assessment that we undertook in order to be able to open as a Gallery uses the Studio in two ways.

  1. As a passing place, to avoid people without masks *passing on the stairs

  2. As a waiting area for when we have too many people wishing to access the Gallery.

(*The new 1M+ rule allows people to pass on the stairs if wearing masks. We cannot enforce the wearing of masks!)

The situation re the Studio and current laws on Social Distancing after July 4th 2020

The Government has announced the opening of many places, including ‘community centres’ and Libraries and they will be expected to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

The COVID -19 Secure guidelines that may apply to the Studio (if it is defined as a community centre) are still being worked on by the Government as I write

The Government also says that from 4th July, only two households can gather in groups indoors.


"You should not:

  • gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub

  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship"

This strongly suggests that meeting in the Studio would be quite possibly against the law. Social interaction is inevitable in an art club or class. The room is simply too small. The maximum capacity of the room with one person to a table sitting still and all the tables 2M apart is 6 - 8 persons.


"From 4 July, people should either stay 2m apart or ‘1m plus’ – which is one metre plus mitigations. These mitigations will depend on the workplace or setting. For example, on public transport, people must wear a face covering, as it is not always possible to stay 2m apart.

In other spaces, mitigations could include installing screens, making sure people face away from each other, putting up handwashing facilities, minimising the amount of time you spend with people outside your household or bubble, and being outdoors."

Once people move out of their seats in the Studio with the current table arrangement they are less than 2M apart.

Rearranging the tables helps to create space, with all the seating facing a wall. People could sit side by side (safer) on the larger tables. 1m+ rules also say to minimise time spent with people outside your household. Face masks may have to be worn all the time the person is in the studio. Good ventilation is likely to be recommended, windows would have to be open. Thats quite a lot to put up with for one mornings painting in company


"We know that people 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women may be more clinically vulnerable, so we have advised them to take particular care to avoid contact with others.

Although such individuals can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July, indoors, you and they should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene."

Social distancing is even more important to maintain due to the age of our volunteers and community groups. This applies to committee meetings (which will continue by Zoom) as well as community groups renting the Studio. 

Finally, as soon as the Government have issued the next set of guidelines a Risk Assessment will be compiled. That would form the basis of a new contract for using the room.


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Coquetdale Art Gallery, Court Buildings, Front Street, Rothbury, Northumberland, NE65 7TZ Registered Charity 511897

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