Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
In accordance with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business announced on the 5th June, there are now two remaining phases instead of three, with Phase 3 starting on the 29th of June, and Phase 4 on the 20th of July. Further work is being carried out in the coming days and weeks to determine which actions will take place in each phase. Updates to the roadmap can be found at www.gov.ie. Organisations should review the Roadmap and the updates carefully and carry out a detailed assessment of their activities with regard to the continuing public health measures. Based on their assessment, identify which category in which phase of reopening they will be in a position to reopen safely and in line with the continued public health measures. It is not necessary for businesses to seek official authorisation to reopen.
The National Return to Work Safely Protocol is a guide for organisations in making assessments and adapting their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures. It sets out in very clear terms for employers, employees and artists the steps that they must take firstly before a workplace reopens, and then while it continues to operate. Further guidance is available from the Health and Safety Authority which is the lead agency in overseeing compliance with the National Return to Work Safely Protocol in the workplace. The HSA Helpline can be contacted at 1890 289 389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With regards to the reopening of places of arts tuition as referred to by the Deputy, the Theatre Forum has published guidelines for the reopening of arts centres and these have been adopted by the Arts Council for all arts organisations and disciplines. The guidelines recognise arts centres as places of work for artists, and as places for audiences to participate and engage with the arts. The guidelines are available at this link https://www.theatreforum.ie/assets/uploads/Re-opening-Arts-Centres_Doc-v.1.1.pdf.
I understand that the Department of Education and Skills is engaging with education partners and relevant stakeholders which include representatives of students, parents, school staff, school leadership and management bodies on planning arrangements for the re-opening of schools in accordance with the timeframe outlined in above –mentioned Government’s Roadmap.
The Arts Council has established a short-term Advisory Group to identify ways to address impacts of the Covid-19 Crisis on the sector. This group brings together a number of leading voices from the arts and other sectors and will report to the Arts Council on measures to sustain the arts sector through the current challenging period including the challenges posed by reopening. I understand that the Group will complete their work shortly and I look forward to receiving their report.