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July 2021 Covid-19 Update

Statement from Jane Marriott, Trust Director
Wednesday 14 July 2021

To our Members, visitors, supporters and all who enjoy Harewood

480 days ago, Harewood, like most other public places, was forced to close its doors, and the House, its outbuildings and the majority of the site stood empty for the very first time in over 250 years.

Throughout the last 16 months, our passion at Harewood for everyone to enjoy this wonderful place has not waned – be it through new online content whilst we were closed, to introducing exciting new outdoor activities such as pop-up play and the new Three Parks Walks to support our health and well-being, to re-thinking our programme of exhibitions to ensure that Members, visitors, staff and volunteers alike could continue to connect with Harewood in whatever way possible. This difficult time has also encouraged us to re-invigorate our commitment to being a safe place to engage with difficult conversations, be a platform to lift up marginalised voices with conviction to provoke discussion around racism and be ever more open about Harewood’s colonial past, as this is a place is for all of us.

The safety of our staff, volunteers, Members and visitors however remains paramount, and like many other visitor attractions across the UK, we have decided to maintain a level of guidance in place to ensure that we can all be as protected from Covid-19 as possible, not least whilst the remainder of the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out.

The decision to do this is something that has been endorsed by audiences across our industry and by our industry bodies – ALVA and BIAZA among others. The majority of visitors wish to keep themselves and others as safe as possible whilst we manage the impact of this pandemic, and keep new variants at bay.

That’s why, effective from Monday 19 July, for the next month at least, the following will remain in place:

  • We will continue to ask everyone to wear facemasks indoors and in very busy areas. This includes the House, Courtyard and Terrace Cafés, the Shop, on the Ferry and Shuttles, and in the Church. Should you forget to have a mask, we can provide one, however, visitors are within their rights to refuse to do so should you wish.
  • Pre-booking remains in place for all visitors, however gate entry may be permissible where capacity allows for Members.
  • We will continue to ask you to pay by card or by contactless only.

However, to allow an easier visit with the lifting of some government restrictions, the following will also apply Monday 19 July:

  • We will remove the one-way system in the Bird Garden, allowing free flow of visitors.
  • Our on-site capacities have increased.
  • You no longer need to check in, although Test and Trace QR codes will remain in place and we would encourage you to use them.

We would ask you to be mindful of keeping social distance if appropriate, but we will no longer remind you of this.

The rules around self-isolation and requests issued by NHS Test & Trace remain in place. Should you have any symptoms related to Covid-19, or have been contacted by NHS Test & Trace, or have received a positive test result, you should not visit Harewood.

This guidance will be reviewed once more in line with Government announcements in mid-August.

Everyone at Harewood wishes to express our gratitude to all those who have supported and continue to support us, through this difficult time, as a charity. Harewood Members and many visitors have been incredibly thoughtful and caring towards our teams over these past 16 months, for which we are particularly grateful.

Our Trustees and Executive team also wish to express our sincere thanks to all Harewood staff and volunteers. Together they have shown such conviction, agility and willingness to do everything we can for you – our Members and visitors – to ensure that Harewood has been able to provide as much as a normal visit as possible, and an escape from the restrictions of the past year to explore our 140-acre site.

We are particularly grateful to several funding partners who have provided urgent grants necessary to ensure our survival throughout this time, and to those who have generously donated, including:

  • Historic England who supported urgent repairs to the Terrace, and additionally an in-depth study into the long-term future of Harewood’s Walled Garden architecture, through the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund;
  • Arts Council England who have supported the 2022 Harewood Biennial, enabling artists to continue their practice during lockdown and for Harewood to launch an upcoming online programme through the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund;
  • Other projects generously supported by the DCMS Culture Recover Fund;
  • The National Heritage Lottery Fund who generously funded essential conservation works on Harewood’s buildings;
  • The Sylvia and Colin Shepherd Charitable Foundation for supporting the Bird Garden Appeal;
  • The Calmcott Trust and Skipton Building Society for supporting an outreach project with a local academy, and a project to engage local students with Harewood’s gardens post-pandemic;
  • ArtFund who provided a grant to ensure we could connect with audiences at home;
  • All those who have support Harewood’s Adopt a Book campaign, supporting the conservation of Harewood’s collections;
  • All those who kindly donated to our first ever Bird Garden Appeal, ensuring we could cover its running costs despite being closed;
  • And finally, to all those who remain Members and those who have visited.

We look forward to welcoming you at Harewood in the coming weeks and months, as we look towards a brighter, exciting and optimistic future.

Jane Marriott
Trust Director