Arts Council England has stated that “a good opening is an inclusive reopening” and The Audience Agency very much agrees.

As of July 2021:

  • around half of people ‘Strongly agreed’ or ‘Agreed’ they were ‘Worried about falling ill with COVID’ (52%)
  • and two thirds were ‘Worried about others I know falling ill with COVID’ (67%).

Whilst these figures have both fallen since February (when they were 59% and 73% respectively), they still show widespread concern.

That said, this is not necessarily acute concern:

  • overall only 13% ‘Strongly agreed’ they were ‘Worried about falling ill with COVID’
  • and 17% that they 'Strongly agreed' that they were ‘Worried about others I know falling ill with COVID’.

Those most likely to be concerned were:

  • Those with dependent children under 16 (63% and 74% worried about themselves/others they know falling ill; cf. 48% and 65%) - particularly those with younger children.
  • Those with a disability (62% and 72%; cf. 46% and 64%).
  • Those aged 25-34 (61% and 68%; cf. 45% and 63% of over 65s).
  • Women (54% and 70%; cf. 50% and 63% of men).

This doesn’t necessarily mean these groups are less likely to attend.

It does, though, suggest that there are particular concerns for those in these groups...

  • Higher proportions of those 25-34 and with dependent children say they are ‘happy to attend’, for example.
  • Though lower proportions of women and people with disabilities say they are ‘happy to attend’ than men and those without disabilities.
  • Notably, the proportion who ‘Strongly Agree’ that they are ‘Worried about falling ill with COVID’ is more than double among those with a disability (19%) than without (9%).

Ensuring that reopening is done in a way that supports a full range of visitors is important, and Arts Council England's Seven Inclusive Principles is a really good place to start. We also second loudly ACE's advice that to really understand your audiences’ needs during reopening, it’s important to ask them.