On the 19th July 2021 the UK Government will drop most of the legal provisions that have been in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Whilst there seems to be agreement amongst the wider scientific community that the speedy vaccine roll out (thank you NHS) has fractured the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths there is also consensus that the dropping of these measures is a highly risky experiment.

Since the start of the pandemic Collective Encounters has taken a low-risk approach keeping our workforce, participants and audiences safe. We locked down much earlier than most arts organisations and refused to unlock in July 2020 when many social distancing measures were relaxed.

Whilst our programme has continued and, in some cases, thrived online, we recognise the creative value and joy of being with each other in the same space. Over the next few months, we are working as a team to assess if and when it is safe to be in the same physical space.

We are aware that those living with disabilities, long-term health conditions or other risk factors will be more cautious about returning and the plans we make will ensure that no one is left behind.

We will also be consulting with a wide range of stakeholders to explore what has worked and not worked over the last year which will inform our programming and planning for the future.

We will continue to address the digital inclusion deficit by providing access to digital hardware, connectivity and skills for those with limited or no access to ensure they can continue or start to engage online.

We very much hope this is the beginning of the end of COVID-19 and will issue further updates to our approach to mitigating risk in due course.