Government guidelines

As restrictions ease in all four Nations, our risk management guidance pages remain there for reference. Every choir will have its own views on what mitigations are appropriate and when and how to end them and our guidance is intended to help everyone make the right decision for them.

For more general COVID-19 resources, see our COVID-19 portal, or use the links in the side menu.

Restrictions are ending in all four Nations, but the dates and details vary in each country. This pages is currently being updated to reflect the changes.

England

UPDATED 5 April. The Government published its plan for living with COVID-19 on 21 February. From 1 April 2022 all restrictions have been be removed and guidance to the public and to businesses has been consolidated in line with public health advice. This includes the previous events and attractions guidance, which was being used by music groups and other performing arts organisations.

You can find guidance for businesses and the workplace here

and general guidance for the public here.

The Government portal for all Covid advice is here.

  • From 24 February you are no longer required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. You are however advised to stay at home for at least 5 days if you either have Covid symptoms or have tested positive. You should avoid meeting people at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19 for 10 days after the day you took your test.
  • From 1 April, the Government will no longer provide free testing for the general public in England.
  • Face coverings are not required in public places (excepts some health and care settings)
  • Organisations are no longer required to do Covid-specific risk assessment, but are still expected to consider Covid as part of their wider risk assessment.
  • The NHS COVID pass is no longer legally required at any venue, but can be used voluntarily by organisations.

Ventilation remains a key factor in reducing the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 and you can see the current government guidance here. Where there is continuous talking or singing, providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended. There is also helpful advice on ventilation, including the use of CO2 monitors on the HSE website here.

Guidance for Devolved Nations

Northern Ireland. All regal restrictions were lifted on 15 February and replaced by guidance.

There is no legal requirement for social distancing in indoor seated venues and indoor visitor attractions, but is advised. The wearing of a face covering is no longer a legal requirement, but is advised. A COVID-compliant risk assessment for activity is no longer legally required. Covid certification is no longer required for venues, but is still encouraged.

You are still advised to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. Tests are available until 22 April to anyone. Routine testing will be phased out gradually from 22 April.

The latest Arts Council NI advice can be found here.

Find out more detailed advice for your activity in Northern Ireland here.

Scotland. UPDATED 5 April. On 22 February the First Minister set out a framework for the continued easing of restrictions.

Guidance for cultural performances and events can be found here. There is also an events sector checklist. A risk assessment is still required and this is expected to last until 21 March.

The 1 metre physical distancing requirement in hospitality and leisure venues has been removed, however there is still a requirement for face coverings when rehearsing and performing. This is expected to remain in place until 18 April.

Face coverings for performers (including musicians and choir members) can be removed if a distance of at least one metre is maintained from others, or there is a partition between performers. Find further information can be found here.

Performers are able to perform or rehearse for a performance without face coverings in situations on stage where the wearing of a face covering is not possible, and one-metre distancing or partitioning is not possible. There needs to be either a partition or a distance of at least one metre between performers and other people (including the audience) but "other people" does not include those who are performing or rehearsing with the performers or assisting with the performance or rehearsal. These exemptions from wearing face coverings without one-metre distancing or partitioning should be the exception rather than the norm.

COVID Vaccination Certificates are no longer required for events, though venues can continue to use this on a voluntary basis. Attendance limits on events have been removed.

You are still advised to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19; this requirement will end from 1 May. Free tests are still available until 18 April.

Wales. Wales moved back to Alert Level 0 on 28 January.

Guidance for employers, businesses and organisations can be found here.

Restrictions on events and gatherings have been lifted and 2 metre social distancing is no longer required, but still advised.

The NHS COVID Pass is no longer required for events.

You are still advised to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. Free tests will be available to people with symptoms until the end of June.

From 28 February, face coverings are only legally required in retail, public transport and health and care settings, however it is strongly advised people wear a face covering indoors if they can.

Organisers continue to have a legal duty to undertake a COVID-19 specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

Worship

England. UPDATED 5 April. Specific guidance for places of worship has been withdrawn. The Church of England's guidance remains for reference here, likewise the RSCM's latest FAQs are here.

Northern Ireland. The latest general guidance for Northern Ireland can be found here. In line with other indoor activities, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering during an act of worship, or whilst singing during an act of worship, but it is advised.

Scotland. UPDATED 5 April. The latest government guidance for worship in Scotland can be found here. The legal requirement to wear a face covering in places of worship was lifted on 4 April 2022. Whilst there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering, or a requirement for places of worship to implement other practicable measures, people are encouraged 'to adhere to sensible precautionary measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19'.

Wales. The latest guidance for Level 0 can be found here, including suggested mitigations when singing.

The latest guidance from the Church of Wales can be found here.

Education

Guidance for teachers

England. UPDATED 5 April. Specific guidance has been withdrawn and general guidance is now contained in Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children's social care settings.

For more specific advice on music in schools, we recommend you read Music Mark's Covid guidance resource, which is openly available and regularly updated.

Northern Ireland. Indoor singing in groups together with one-to-one singing lessons can resume for all pupils. Read the latest guidance here.

Scotland. Guidance for schools can be found here. All music activities are permitted but with a recommendation to maintain appropriate mitigations, including good hygiene, effective ventilation and physical distancing, in line with general school guidelines. From 28 February staff and students in secondary schools will not be required to wear face coverings in classrooms but they will still be required in communal areas.

Wales. Guidance for schools can be found here. There is nothing specific about singing or music and therefore singing and music can take place without restriction. From 28 February face coverings are no longer required in classrooms, but should be worn by staff visitors, and secondary aged learners when moving around indoor communal areas outside the classroom, such as corridors, where physical distance cannot be maintained.

Guidance for out-of-school settings for children

England. UPDATED 5 April. Specific guidance has been withdrawn and general guidance is now contained in Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children's social care settings.

Music lessons in private homes. Providers continue to have a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those visiting or attending. The ISM has useful information on this here.

Youth activities

Providers of youth services and activities may find the National Youth Agency's guidance for managing youth sector spaces and activities during COVID-19 useful.

Registered early years providers

England. UPDATED 5 April. Specific guidance has been withdrawn and general guidance is now contained in Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children's social care settings.

We recommend reading the websites of our music education colleagues for more detail on education guidelines:

Music Mark

ISM

General information from other organisations

Find out more information from our fellow music organisations, including detailed information for the Devolved Nations:

ISM

Making Music

Musicians' Union

Click here to go back to our main COVID-19 resource page and to find our risk assessment guidance.