Touretteshero COVID Update

As a disabled-led company with clinically extremely vulnerable people in our team, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions since the start of the pandemic. In our first public statement about it back in March 2020 we said:

“Our primary focus is to maintain the health and wellbeing of all our staff as best we can… So, for the time being we’ll be winding down all non-essential work in order to help make the next few weeks and months as simple as possible for everyone.”

Since then, we’ve adapted how we work and developed a risk matrix that helps us make decisions about what we consider to be safe and manageable during unpredictable and changing circumstances.

While we’ve been able to start doing some creative work in person again, this has always been on the understanding that we’re confident about the risks to our team, our artists, our audiences, and our communities.

There have already been several times when new waves of infection have required us to go back to doing essential work only, and I’m sad to say that we have reached this point again now.

I was due to perform at Liberty Festival tomorrow evening, and we were set to hold our Journey To A Better World workshop at the Albany the next day. After careful consideration and several lengthy conversations, we have decided that we will not be able to participate in these events due to our concerns about the pandemic.

There are several interconnecting reasons for this decision:

The Risks for Me – As someone clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to COVID, I’ve had to take extra precautions to stay safe, particularly now that all restrictions have been lifted. With the reported rate of infection now at 1 in 18 people, I am once again having to drastically limit what I do, particularly because the newest variants seem to be more transmissible outdoors.

The Risk To Our Team – Our entire team is currently being impacted by multiple separate COVID related issues. Leftwing Idiot is recovering from it and several others either have it themselves or have it within their households. All this means we’re stretched incredibly thin.

The Risk To Audiences – Finally we’re concerned about the safety of our audiences and wider communities. We don’t want to encourage disabled and clinically vulnerable people to attend events and activities that we consider to be unsafe for ourselves. We have lost friends and colleagues to COVID, so this is something we take very seriously.

There’s a growing gulf in expectations between those of us who must still consider every risk that COVID poses, and the public perception that the pandemic is over.

Our priority for the next few weeks is to keep everything simple so our team can recover and stabilise in a humane way.

A hand drawn digital image by Jess Thom. Cursive text reads - 'with love and solidarity' a jammy dodger biscuit with a jam heart at the centre. Around the edge of the image are objects from Touretteshero's world - wheelchairs, fidget toys, biscuits, hedgehogs, rainbows and lampposts.

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