Members of Oxford’s Cultural Partnership will be asking audiences and visitors to culture venues to continue to wear masks or face-coverings after 19 July to help protect staff, volunteers and audiences.
The government has announced that from Monday 19 July people will need to take personal responsibility for minimising the spread of COVID-19 by actions such as wearing a mask or face-covering.
Businesses can make their own decisions about whether they will require mask-wearing on their premises.
Cultural venues including theatres, museums and event spaces are asking all audience members to wear a mask or face-covering whenever possible.
Wearing a face-covering protects other people, and for these venues is a key way to ensure their staff and volunteers stay healthy and don’t need to isolate.
In a collective statement, the Oxford Cultural Partnership said, “We encourage our visitors to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing so that we can all feel safe and protected.
“Hand sanitisers will be available in our venues and we trust that our visitors will make considered decisions in the interest of themselves and everyone around then and make use of the NHS check in app.”
“With a sizable number of staff, performers and volunteers, and indeed the public, not yet fully vaccinated we see this as an important step to protecting everyone involved in creating culture in Oxford, and kindly request that visitors remain considerate during this time.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Oxford City Council, said: “All of Oxford’s cultural partners made this decision together, out of concern for their staff and audiences.
“The message from the government is clear that we all still need to be cautious, and masks are recommended in crowded spaces. Please enjoy Oxford’s events, performances and exhibitions safely by wearing a mask to protect each other.”
The council provides core funding to 18 organisations in the city to enable them to leverage funding from other sources (including Arts Council England) and provide opportunities for more of the city’s residents to engage with their programmes.
The funded organisations include Arts at the Old Fire Station, Modern Art Oxford, and The Story Museum.