The Berkshire Argentine Tango Club - El Amanecer
The Berkshire Argentine Tango Club
Post 19th July Easing of COVID Restrictions
Whilst we all know that COVID restrictions have been lifted and that a large percentage of the population will have had two vaccinations, it is quite obvious that we will all remain at risk of catching the Corona Virus even if that risk is slight and with the probability that the effects will be much reduced from the early days of the pandemic.
In effect, COVID is here to stay and will become part of our daily lives much as Flu is. Flu used to kill thousands and is now regarded as something that we must accept and live with.
There will, however, now be a responsibility placed on the Public to actively take steps to ensure that they are not likely to transfer the virus to others. These steps include:
# Good ventilation should be maintained;
# Social contact should still be minimised;
# Masks should be worn in busy confined spaces such as public transport
# Being tested if you develop symptoms;
# Self-isolating if you test positive, or are asked to isolate by Test & Trace.
That being the case, I am trying to take a pragmatic view as to how we can proceed both as Tango dancers and as Organisers. I also want to maintain the concept that Tango is “inclusive” and to keep unnecessary rules and restrictions to a minimum.
The restrictions being lifted – for individuals
Essentially, the 2m social distancing requirement is going to be removed and there will be no limit now on the numbers that you can meet up with.
However you are advised to:
# Limit close contact with those you don’t normally live with;
# Minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts;
# Maintain the use of Face Coverings in crowded areas.
The restrictions being lifted – for businesses
All businesses are now allowed to reopen;
Capacity limits will be removed;
No social distancing rules;
Certain mitigations will still need to be followed:
Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces;
Ensuring sufficient air flow around the venue;
Unwell staff and customers shouldn’t enter the building;
QR code for Trace and Test will still need to be displayed;
Twice weekly testing for staff should take place.
So What Are Our Plans As Restrictions Start To Ease?
If you are displaying any COVID-like symptoms please stay away!
New symptoms–sore throat, cough, runny nose, sneezing
Temperature checks on arrival will continue as a confidence builder;
Face coverings will continue to be necessary outside of the dance studio
We will no longer have the “throw down lines” for floor spacing;
Rotation around the room will be the norm;
Social Distancing will not be enforced (but is expected!);
Some Venues will have their own One-Way system– please respect this;
Hand Sanitiser will continue to be provided and should be used often;
Our teachers have voluntary regular testing and will continue to do so
The government have introduced a COVID-Pass using the NHS app
(not the Test & Trace app. Confusingly, whilst all apps are “apps” the app you need to search for is called “NHS App”)
This is the easiest way for you to prove yourself fully vaccinated or having recorded negative test results
If you do not have a smartphone you can obtain a printout or a letter if you have requested this from NHS 119;
If you have a negative lateral flow test result you can also show us the email or text message, so long as it was within 48hrs of your visit;
In general, you will not have to pre-book for events (including Classes), but it is highly recommended that you do so as it assists our administration and ensures a trouble free entry to an event;
We will no longer restrict dancers to dancing on their own, or limited to their regular partner, if they mutually wish to rotate amongst other dancers;
Please respect the needs of teachers, for the time being, to limit their contact with attendees.
We plan to implement the Governments recommendation whilst at the same time provide a safe and comfortable environment in which both attending dancers as well as staff can relax and enjoy themselves.
The above statements outline how this will be achieved.
However, there is one issue that has not been addressed above, and which remains the most contentious subject for many people: –
How do we allow everybody to have the option to dance with whoever they want whilst at the same time providing instantly available information which allows then to know the personal choice of their intended partner as well as the potential risk they present?
As far as I can see, dancers fall into the following main categories:
a) People who will only dance with the established partner;
b) People who come with a partner but are prepared to change partners and dance with anyone;
c) People who come with a partner but are prepared to change partners and dance with anyone who does not
present a risk (i.e. fully vaccinated or negatively tested);
d) People who come alone and want to dance with anyone;
e) People who come alone and want to dance with anyone who does not present a risk;
Categories a) and b) do not present a problem (see later).
The next main issue seems to me to be the issue of risk – how can people know if their intended partner represents a risk (i.e. not not able to provide proof of being fully vaccinated or of a negative test).
Category d) does not present a problem for themselves but other people will want to know if they are safe.
In Buenos Aires, it is common practice to seat people together if they do not want to dance with other people. I propose to adopt the same practice at my events putting people who do not want to change partners on easily identifiable tables – probably by a sign so that allocated tables can be expanded as the need arises.
That sorts out Categories a) and b) (i.e. if you are not sitting at a designated table, you will be indicating that you are prepared to accept an invitation to dance by another person or conversely ask another person to dance.)
Having listened to everyone's comments, I have changed my previous policy and now accept that the safest way forward is to ensure that everyone is tested negative. With this in mind, anyone not able to provide proof of any kind with be given the opportunity to take a test provided at our Reception table - obviously they will have to wait 20 minutes before joinin the dancing!
Finally, with regards to our immediate solutions, I should stress that we will continue with maintaining the best possible ventilation at our events with open windows and doors.
Additionally, there will be a few extra aspects at Reception. Mos people we have talked to have stressed the requirement to for them to “feel” safe when attending events. With this in mind, there will be a request for people to present an NHS-Pass or evidence of a negative test. (Staff on Reception will be displaying a printout of their NHS-Pass on the Reception Desk and will have taken a negative Lateral Flow Test.)
There may be a variety of legitimate reasons why people cannot present an NHS-Pass or evidence of a negative test so they will NOT be banned from attending the event but will be required to wear a Name Badge. We also hope to be able to provide Lateral Flow Tests at Reception for anyone who wants to take advantage of them.
Given the controls above, there is no reason why everybody should not be able to attend an event and feel safe.
You should also note that Hand Sanitation will continue to be available at Reception as well as at other points in the room.
In line with the government’s guidelines, our teachers will be prepared to engage in close hold with students as this is an important method of conveying the nuance of Lead and Follow. However, please be aware that the guidelines also state that individuals should limit close contact with those that they don’t live with. Whilst our teachers may be one extra person that you are partnering we have to consider the number of people they could end up partnering in a week. With this in mind, please accept that Teachers may not indulge in as much physical contact as in the past and that a greater degree of solo work may have to be undertaken.
Most people taking sensible precautions (e.g. face coverings, sanitisation, etc) seem to be prepared to enter populated areas (e.g. shops, transport, etc) without having any knowledge about whether or not the people around them have been vaccinated or tested. It seems to me that a similar approach can be taken towards attendance at Tango events (Classes, Milongas, Tea Dances, etc). The key is in the words “taking sensible precautions” but, it has to be said, that a good deal of individual concern can be mitigated by the dissemination of information which is what I have tried to cover above.
However please bear in mind that not everyone will be fully comfortable with returning to ‘normal’ as we move out of lockdown restrictions. Therefore we ask that you respect each other’s space in classes and try to avoid getting too close.
Additionally, we ask that you respect each person’s choice and be prepared to wear a mask, or not dance with someone, depending on their expressed views.
There are no plans at this stage of excluding anybody from any event but please be aware that, without appropriate proof, no one may be prepared to dance with you!
We will be constantly monitoring both government & industry advice, as well as feedback from our students, so please let us knows if you have any questions or comments.
Here are some Government documents that you might care to refer to:
The primary document Main document on Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread from 19 July 2021
If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information from the NHS on How to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting
Guidance on Keeping yourself and others safe as we return to normality.