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Re-opening Vortex Risk Assessment for Live Performances Upstairs

New Vortex Jazz Club Limited Covid-19 Risk Assessment – Re-opening for live performances upstairs with an audience


This Covid-19 risk assessment has been carried out in consultation with staff and volunteers in preparation for the re-opening of the upstairs performance space for live performances with an audience.

This risk assessment takes into account updated government guidance in particular the performing arts guidance, the pubs/bars guidance, and the cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home guidance, as well as the HSE air conditioning and ventilation guidance.

This risk assessment will be reviewed and revised where necessary or appropriate in the light of experience following re-opening and/or any changes in government guidance.



Risk: Transmission on stage between musicians and/or between musicians and members of the audience.

The maximum size of band to be booked initially is a trio.

There will be one house per night and one set.

In the first instance following re-opening there will be gigs before live audiences on weekends only. (There will be live streams on other nights.)


Stage set-up

Risk: Transmission on stage between musicians and/or between musicians and members of the audience.

Musicians onstage will be socially distanced; and side-to-side playing, not face-to-face playing, will be encouraged in accordance with the performing arts guidance.

The club and musicians will follow the government’s performing arts guidance and take account of any amendments issued to the guidance.

The front row of the audience will be socially distanced from the musicians on stage (the positioning of the front row of tables is clearly marked with hazard tape).

Musicians will access the stage via a tape-marked “corridor” by the inside wall which is sufficiently wide to ensure social distancing from the audience.



Automatic no-contact hand sanitiser dispensers have been provided at ground floor entry to the club, at first floor entry to the club, in the office, behind the bar and by the toilets.

(A supply of non-automatic dispensers will also be maintained as a back up in case of any problems with the automatic dispensers.)

Prominent notices are displayed encouraging the regular use of hand sanitiser and regular hand washing by audience members and staff.



To mitigate the risk of transmission of Covid-19 within the club generally the premises will be thoroughly cleaned before each use of the club, whether for a gig or a day hire. (In the first instance following re-opening there will not be any gigs on evenings when there has been a day hire.)

During the evening there will be regular cleaning of frequently used surfaces including door handles, the stairwell banister, taps, bar surface and tables.

Drinks lists and any fliers on tables will be binned at the end of the evening.



Audiences and musicians will be informed via the website of the systems adopted by the club to deal with Covid-19 and what is expected of them (eg compliance with Test-and-Trace, hand sanitising, not to go to the club if experiencing Covid-type symptoms etc).


Entry to the club

Risk: Covid-19 being brought into the club by audience members, musicians and others entering from outside.

Clear notices will be put up at point of entry as follows:

  • Instructing people not to enter if they have or may have Covid-type symptoms.
  • Asking people to use hand sanitiser on entry to the club
  • Encouraging people to wear a mask when moving around inside the building.

Risk: health risk to security officer from incoming audience members.

The security officer will be socially distanced from incoming audience members. The security officer will sit at a desk situated in the slide-back doorway to Downstairs so as to socially distance from the incoming audience. The security officer will wear a faceguard/mask.

Risk: transmission during entry procedure.

Incoming audience members will be asked to stand on the half-landings (marked by floor signage) when queueing to gain entry. Two metre separation will be marked outside the club taking into account other users of the outside space.

The head of the queue to get in will be on the mid-stairwell half-landing. The Night Manager will call people forward when ready and show them to their seats and will be responsible for controlling any movement between the office and the club.

Given the narrow stairwell there must be no passing on the stairs. Prior to the commencement of the gig a one-way system will operate: anyone needing to leave the club (eg musicians after sound checking) will be asked to exit through the rear door and then follow the fire escape route to street level.

Doors will open 7 30. Music 8 30.

After the gig exit will be via the main stairwell.


NHS Test and Trace

The government’s performing arts guidance states that we should support NHS Test and Trace by keeping a temporary record of visitors to the premises. This record must be stored securely and must not be shared with anyone except NHS Test and Trace. The record must be destroyed as confidential waste after 21 days. This is already being done for day hires.

Audience members will be asked to sign in with their own pen. If they don’t have one then the club will provide one which will be wiped clean between uses.



Operation of the Upstairs club space is not viable with two metre social distanced audiences. Therefore the club will operate with one metre socially distanced audiences plus mitigations, as set out in this risk assessment, which include increased frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning; regular cleaning & disinfection of toilets; and using side-to-side working wherever possible.

Audiences will be seated as individuals or groups from the same household or support bubble and must maintain social distancing.

Audience members are to be seated (though not necessarily at a table), and will be expected to remain seated during the evening except when using the toilets. No standing will be permitted at gigs (including at the bar – see below).

The capacity of the club will be limited to reflect these provisions.

The positioning of rows of seating has been marked with floor tape.

Tickets (including members tickets) must be booked in advance via Ticketweb. There will be no door sales.

Where people want to be seated together as a household or bubble one person should book for the entire party or household and there will be a message on Ticketweb to this effect.

Where possible, windows and doors will be opened to improve ventilation.



Risk: transmission during use of toilet facilities

There is to be no queueing for toilets in the corridor outside the toilets. If both toilets are engaged then audience members must wait in the club space for someone to exit before entering on a one in, one out basis. Signage will be be put up to this effect & there will be floor markings to indicate where to stand.

The door to the toilet corridor will be left open before and after the performance.

Hand sanitiser will be provided outside toilets to be used before entering and exiting. Signage will be put up to this effect.

Posters will be displayed outside the toilets and in the toilets themselves giving guidance on correct handwashing procedures.

Toilets will be regularly cleaned during the evening.



Risk: need to protect volunteers and audience members from risk of transmission.

There will be table service only. A disposable paper drinks list will be placed on tables. The viability of using a mobile ordering app is being investigated.

No cash will be taken – payment will be by contactless card only.

No hot drinks will be available.

Bar staff will be wearing protective perspex face guards. There will be one volunteer behind the bar pouring drinks and one volunteer in the club space serving drinks.

There will be no “hanging out” at or behind the bar.

There will be no merchandise sales at the bar.

If the till is to be used only the volunteer behind the bar should input data.

Gloves are to be worn to collect glasses after the gig.

A paper towel dispenser will be set up in the kitchen for use by staff & volunteers for hand drying and closing taps.

Bottled beer only – it will not be viable to sell draught beer as audience capacity will be insufficient to shift it before it goes off.


Sound engineers

Risk: need to protect sound engineers from transmission.

Action: signage and floor markings will emphasise the need for audience members to keep socially distanced from the sound engineer in the booth when waiting to use the toilets.

The sound engineer will be responsible for cleaning equipment at the end of the gig.


Background music

Risk: people having to raise their voices increases the risk of aerosol transmission.

Action: background music will be kept very low to avoid this risk.


Office/Green Room

This room will continue to have a dual function. Musicians should use only the “sofa area” not the office area. Singers and wind/brass players will be asked not to practice in the office/green room.

To continue to protect office staff from risk they will continue to work from home, apart from one person to be in the office each day on a rota system. Meetings to continue to be conducted via Zoom.

The windows should be kept open to maximise ventilation.



Prior to re-opening to the public there will be a pilot gig with an invited audience of staff and volunteers to road-test the procedures.


Reviewed and revised: 2 September 2020.


If you are coming to the club please be mindful of the following procedures.

We’ve implemented the following changes to our systems to make the club as Covid-safe as we can:

  • Please buy tickets in advance as there will be no door sales. There will be twenty tickets only onsale for each gig.
  • If you want to sit together as a household/bubble we would ask that one person books all the tickets for the group. If you book separately you may be seated separately.
  • We ask you not to attend gigs if you have or think you may have any Covid-19 symptoms.
  • We will ask you on entry to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace. If possible please bring your own pen to write down the details.
  • There will be no standing at gigs. Everyone who books a ticket will be allocated a seat, but we cannot guarantee that you will have a table.
  • Orders for drinks and snacks will be taken at tables. We are sorry but for the time being no hot drinks will be available.
  • We ask that everyone wears a mask when moving around inside the building.
  • We are cashless – we accept contactless payments only.
  • We ask everyone to observe social distancing at all times. One metre social distancing will operate in the club space, with mitigations as detailed in the risk assessment which is available on the website.
  • Automatic hand sanitiser stations are provided at various places within the building and we encourage regular use of hand sanitiser.


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