South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Recreation and leisure COVID-19 roadmap taskforce announced

The Government has announced a recreation and leisure COVID-19 roadmap taskforce to look at how to support the restarting of this sector of the economy. This will include tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport (Department for Culture, Media and Sport).

The Government has stated that 'reopening currently closed businesses and public places [in this sector] will take place when the science allows, and when they can meet new COVID-19 secure guidelines, which relate to their specific activities.' There will also be separate sectoral sub-groups set up under the taskforces to examine issues specific to the sector.

The aims and role of the taskforce and sectoral subgroups that sit beneath it is to:

  • ensure that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing (work settings) guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input
  • agree and ensure alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance
  • provide key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers

Membership of the taskforce and subgroups will be for the DCMS minister to determine. Members may include as standing members:

  • Secretary of State (Chair)
  • other government department’s ministers (or by invitation, where relevant)
  • government officials
  • Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Public Health England
  • Health and Safety Executive
Others to be invited where SoS requires:

  • leads from specific subgroups inc sector leads.
  • trade union representatives
  • devolved administration representatives
  • other relevant individual experts

Museums and galleries will remain closed and will be considered as part of Step 3 - engagement through taskforce on Recreation and leisure. The earliest step three can begin is 4 July, but this could be postponed depending on scientific advice and whether the government’s five tests for easing lockdown measures are met. These include ensuring the NHS' ability to cope, a sustained fall in death rates, and a manageable rate of infection.

Museums Association Director Sharon Heal said: “Clear guidance and support will be needed in order for museums to reopen to the public and our first priority must be the health and safety of staff, volunteers and the public. Clarity from governments about proposed reopening timescales is useful but each institution will be the best judge of when and if it is feasible to reopen and what support is needed to be able to do so.”