COVID-19 RESPONSE

Newcastle Museum. Image: courtesy the museum.

Newcastle Museum. Image courtesy the museum.

Arts and Culture sector reopening information

Stay up-to-date with information on COVID-19 in New South Wales via the NSW Health website.

For information on workplace safety, please visit SafeWork.


General Information for the Sector

On July 1 2020, Public Health Orders in NSW were eased, allowing most businesses including arts, culture and entertainment venues in NSW to operate with the provision of 4 metres per person physical distancing protocols in place. Create NSW anticipates that restrictions will continue to be eased throughout NSW for the rest of the year.

NSW Health is the NSW Government body responsible for issuing and modifying Public Health Orders, and developing guidelines and COVID-19 Safety Plan templates to assist the reopening of industries in NSW. Create NSW will distribute NSW Health guidelines to the relevant arts, culture and entertainment sectors as they become available.

As the public health conditions of COVID-19 are dynamic and subject to change at any time, Create NSW has made this online resource to be updated with new material as it is released.

Create NSW urges all NSW arts, culture and entertainment organisations in NSW to follow NSW Health guidelines rather than guidelines produced in other parts of Australia. Create NSW advises all organisations to look at current Public Health Orders alongside relevant industry guidelines from NSW Health when drafting a COVID-19 safety plan.

Drafting a COVID-19 Safety Plan for Reopening

Create NSW encourages every arts and culture organisation/business in NSW to begin to draft a COVID-19 Safety Plan, using the already published Industry Guidelines by NSW Health and SafeWork as basic guides.

Guidelines and templates for preparing your organisation/workplace to be COVID Safe will be prepared by NSW Health shortly before or at the time that Public Health Order restrictions ease for different businesses, services and industries over the coming months.

There is no standard COVID-19 Safety template for the sector.

Create NSW cannot process or handle exemptions for the sector.

In order to reopen after restrictions are lifted, every organisation must address the following subjects as part of an overall COVID-19 Safety Plan:

Wellbeing of Staff and Visitors/Audiences/Artists/Performers/Students etc

  • including a protocol for staff who are unwell, and displaying conditions of entry/participation.

Physical Distancing

  • including management of venue capacity, the management of gatherings and protocols for artform-specific work.

Hygiene and Cleaning

  • including ensuring bathroom services are regularly cleaned, and hand washing facilities are supplied/maintained.

Record Keeping

  • including a method of keeping information of attendees to your venue/workplace for 28 days.

Each artform your organisation presents or supports will have different conditions placed upon it for reopening, and different variables around the amount of people able to gather at one time. However, it is important to start developing flexible plans that can be modified as Public Health Orders are changed and types of work are authorised to recommence.

Create NSW is working with NSW cultural institutions and industry peak bodies to make their plans or templates available when Public Health Orders are lifted, so these can be shared with small-to-medium organisations.

For more information, or to discuss your COVID-19 Safety Plan, please contact:
Bec Dean
Manager, Project Awake
rebecca.dean@create.nsw.gov.au +61 2 8289 6447


NSW Government Industry Resources

Industry Guidelines for Galleries and Museums

NSW Health has developed guidelines for museums, galleries and libraries to support the development of a safety plan for reopening.

A COVID-19 Safety Plan Template for galleries and museums has also been developed.

The State Library of NSW provides advice regarding libraries.

Industry Guidelines for Dance Studios (within Sports, Recreation and Gyms Guidelines)

Dance studio activities are covered under guidelines developed by NSW Health for sports, recreation concert and gyms.

A COVID-19 Safety Plan Template for health and dance studios, and martial arts training facilities has also been developed.

Industry Guidelines for Cinemas, Theatres, Concert Halls, Drive-in Cinemas

NSW Health has developed guidelines for cinemas, theatres, concert halls and drive-in cinemas to support the development of a safety plan for reopening.

A COVID-19 Safety Plan Template for theatres and concert halls has also been developed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions relating to the cinemas, theatres, concert halls and drive-in cinemas guidelines.

NSW Health Advice for Group Singing and Choirs

Please see the updated NSW Health Advice for group singing. This information is accurate as of 1 September 2020 and will be updated as advice changes.

NSW Health Advice for Wind/Woodwind Instrument Playing

Please see the updated NSW Health Advice for wind instrument playing. This information is accurate as of 1 September 2020 and will be updated as advice changes.

Lodge your COVID-19 Safety Plan

Once your COVID-19 Safety Plan is complete, you may register your organisation/business as COVID Safe.

Public Health Order Updates

Stay up-to-date with the NSW Government’s Public Health Orders (PHO) and restrictions.

Please refer to PHO information when developing your COVID-19 Safety Plan as it may contain clarifications relating to your particular venue, organisation or business.


Sector-developed resources

Create NSW is gathering COVID-19 Safety and reopening resources prepared by Cultural Institutions, peak bodies and arts and cultural organisations in NSW, to share with the sector.

This section will be updated as new material is made available.

Art Gallery of NSW

Newcastle Museum

Sydney Opera House

Ausdance NSW


Create NSW resources

Create Connects Webinars

Audience Outlook Monitor

The Audience Outlook Monitor dashboard is freely accessible and designed to help artists and cultural organisations of all kinds to make the best possible decisions about re-opening and understand how audiences feel about attending events again. The survey data has come from over 39,000 (23,730 from Phase 1 and 15,636 Phase 2) Australian respondents.

Create NSW Sector Reopening Survey Results

Here you can find the results of Create NSW’s surveys of the Museums and Galleries sector, and the Live Performance Venue sector in NSW. Organisations were asked about reopening timeframes as well issues of concern. Museums and Galleries were surveyed at the beginning of June, and Live Performance Venues at the beginning of July 2020.

For further information, please contact:
Bec Dean
Manager, Project Awake
rebecca.dean@create.nsw.gov.au +61 2 8289 6447

Image: Newcastle Museum. Image courtesy the museum.
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