Advice & Information about Covid-19
Last updated: 12th February 2021.
We understand these are challenging and uncertain times and urge you to contact us if you have specific concerns, including gaps in support provisions announced to date across the UK. We will collate these and feed them into our on-going discussions with BFI, ACW, Welsh Government, broadcasters and others, helping to shape the collective response, advice and support packages.
For immediate health concerns please see NHS Direct Wales.
General Advice & Support
- Following Wales moving into alert level 4 from 20th December 2020, Welsh Government have updated their guidance for the creative industries here.
- The BFI have useful advice and guidance, including a recovery plan for the sector.
- The Film & TV Charity have launched an online community platform that supports mental wellbeing. It's accessible and free for everyone who works in the industry 24/7.
- The Welsh Centre for Action on Dependency and Addiction also offers free substance abuse support services.
- The NHS COVID-19 app for Wales and England can be downloaded here. It is additional and complementary to the existing Welsh Government test, trace and protect measures, and businesses, including cinemas, should continue to collect and hold current contact data on their customers (for 21 days from their visit) and employees. We would similarly advise that production companies and education practitioners collect and hold current contact data on their cast, crew and those they work with.
Ffilm Cymru Support
We put in place a ‘Pivot Plan’ team, made up of Board and senior management, who are shaping our response and how we redeploy funds. Importantly, this group considers any available data and feedback – from insights from online meetings with professionals from across the sector, to rapid research being undertaken by the BFI research unit and line-feedback from colleagues across the UK who are similarly implementing programmes of support.
Ffilm Cymru announced a support package worth £530,000 for the Welsh film sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, including:
- An Emergency Relief Fund for writers, directors, producers & film education practitioners experiencing financial hardship.
- An accelerated Development Fund for creative teams developing feature film projects
- An increased Horizons Fund to support emerging talent, and additional funds to support business innovation.
- New Change Award loans for Wales-based film production companies.
- Adapted operations to support film exhibitors in these challenging times, including accelerating payments to cinemas to swiftly meet their immediate needs, and advancing funds to film festivals & pop-up providers.
Training & Networking
We have redesigned training and commissioning strands to take them online and are hosting online meet-ups and sharing resources that may be helpful to filmmakers, exhibitors and film education practitioners.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been advocating for support for the Welsh film industry - for people that have not been able to access job retention or support schemes, for support for independent cinemas, and for UK government to address Covid-19 exclusions in insurance policies. We have done this through participating in taskforces, as well as giving evidence to UK and Welsh Government committees and inquiries.
Welsh Government Support
- Welsh Government announced a further £8.9 million to support creative sector freelancers through the Cultural Recovery Fund.
- The Welsh Government's £180m fund for hospitality, leisure, tourism, and associated supply chain businesses opens at midday on 13th January 2021. Cinemas, including those that have previously been awarded Cultural Recovery Funds, are eligible to apply.
- Following the First Minister’s most recent announcement, the Restrictions Business Fund Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) and Discretionary based grants for non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism (NERHLT) sectors has been extended to provide a single top up payment to cover the period between the 25 January and end of March 2021 for businesses affected by national restrictions.
- From Wednesday 16th September, organisations in the culture and heritage sector can apply for financial support from the Welsh Government’s £53 million Cultural Recovery Fund.
- Organisations in the culture and heritage sector, including independent cinemas, can find out if they are eligible to apply for financial support from the Welsh Government’s £53 million Cultural Recovery Fund here.
UK Government Support
- £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs
- £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions.
- UK Government has also announced the rate of VAT applied on tourism and hospitality-related activities, including cinemas, will be cut from 20% to 5%.
- £500 million scheme to kickstart film and television production struggling to secure insurance for Covid-related costs.
- UK Government has extended the Job Retention Scheme until end of April 2021.
- The Film and TV Production Restart Scheme helps film and TV shows struggling to get insurance for Covid-related risks to get back into production. The registration deadline for this scheme is 23:59 on 28 February 2021, and claims will be able to be submitted up to 23:59 30 November 2021 for losses incurred up until 23:59 on 30 June 2021. The scheme has been extended so that cast and crew over the age of 70 can be included in the cover provided.
- The Job Support Scheme has been expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions
- Support for Businesses, the Self-employed and Sole Traders.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Guidance for Filmmakers
- Filming (includind recces) can still take place in Wales, providing the production puts measures in place in accordance with Welsh law to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus. Where the alert level requires accommodation to close, local authorities or Welsh Ministers can authorise or make a request for accommodation businesses to provide some other services whilst closed. Productions should contact Creative Wales to assist with gaining the relevant permissions from the Local Authority.
- As of 18 January 2021, the Film and HETV Travel Self-isolation “Quarantine” Exemption, along with other screen exemptions and Travel Corridors, has been suspended for at least one month.
- British Film Commission guidance on Covid-19 safety protocols for the production of film and high-end TV. This is updated regularly, and includes the latest travel rules, restrictions and exemptions, so please check back.
- Guidance for Safe Working in Post-Production and VFX during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Welsh Government guidance for a phased return of Creative Industries.
- Welsh Government guidance for working in other people’s homes.
- BECTU Film & TV recovery plan.
- ScreenSkills TV Skills Fund masterclasses on working safely during Covid.
Guidance for Exhibitors
- Welsh Government guidance for organisations and individuals in Wales who manage culture and heritage destinations and venues that are open to the public.
- New Welsh Government restrictions dictate that cinemas and other indoor entertainment venues will have to close from 18:00 on Friday 4th December. Welsh Government is providing an extra £340m to support businesses affected by these tougher coronavirus restrictions. Find out more here.
- Face coverings: Welsh Government guidance on measures to be taken by employers and managers of premises.
- Test, Trace, Protect: Welsh Government guidance on keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors.
- UK Cinema Association Covid-19 guidance for cinemas.
- UK Cinema Association and ScreenSkills online learning module and assessment test around Covid-19 for people working in cinema exhibition.
Guidance for Film Education Providers
- Children in Wales continue to be home-schooled, with schools closed to pupils other than for children of key workers or those who are vulnerable. On 29th January, the First Minister indicated that if infections continue to fall, the youngest primary school pupils may be able to return from 22nd February. Additionally, Welsh Government are continuing to work on proposals for older pupils and college students who have to do vocational examinations "to return to school and colleges in a phased and flexible way after half-term."
- The Welsh Government has set out their current thinking for how they will change the operations of schools and other providers over time in response to COVID-19. Read more here.
- Ffilm Cymru's Film Education Project Fund is currently open for applications; film education practitioners can find out more here and apply by 29th January.