Government guidelines

Note that in all four nations, sector specific guidance is generally being replaced with more generic guidance as restrictions are lifted. You may therefore find that existing links have either disappeared or been replaced with a link to the more general guidance.

Our risk management guidance pages have now been updated to help and encourage people plan their choir's return. Every choir will have its own views on when and how it wants to return our guidance is intended to help everyone make the right decision for them.

England Step 4 from 19 July

Guidance for step 4 has been published for people who work in settings related to events & visitor attractions or organise events in a workplace, including non-professionals. This replaces the previous performing arts guidance, which will no longer exist separately.

The DCMS have confirmed that there will be no limits on the number of people, including choirs or any other amateur performance groups, who can gather indoors or outdoors.

Guidance for Devolved Nations

Links to the latest guidance in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are below.

Northern Ireland. The latest update from the Northern Ireland Executive from 27 July is here. Arts Council NI guidance on safe reopening of performance venues (June 2020) can be found here.

Scotland. From 9 August, Scotland moved beyond Level 0, but certain protection and guidance remains.

Guidance for non-professional performing arts activity has been replaced by the more general guidance for businesses and workplaces.

Face coverings remain mandatory in most indoor public settings.

Events can now take place again, but permission must be sought from the local authority for outdoor events above 5,000 and indoor events above 2,000. Further detail on large-scale events can be found here. Advice on smaller-scale events and activity can be found here.

Wales. Wales moved to Alert Level 0 from 7 August.

All businesses and premises are permitted to open. There will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events. Guidance for employers, businesses and organisations can be found here.

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. Face coverings remain a legal requirement in public indoor settings.


Guidance for teachers

England. Guidance for schools (updated 17 August) can be found here. The new guidance includes details about the relaxation of rules around bubbles. For specific advice on music in schools, we recommend you read Music Mark's latest guidance, which is openly available.

Northern Ireland. Indoor singing in groups together with one-to-one singing lessons can resume for all pupils, with mitigations in place.

Scotland. Guidance for schools can be found here. At Level 0, all music activities are permitted but with a recommendation to maintain appropriate mitigations, especially in terms of hygiene and effective ventilation. This brings music in line with sport.

Wales. Guidance for the return of schools from September can be found here. There is nothing specific about singing or music.

Guidance for out-of-school settings for children

England. Guidance updated 17 August Full out-of-school provision can recommence.

Music lessons in private homes can take place. From 19 July, providers will continue to have a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those visiting or attending, despite the easing of COVID19 restrictions. The ISM has useful information on this here.

Youth activities

Providers of youth services and activities should also refer to the National Youth Agency's guidance for managing youth sector spaces and activities during COVID-19.

Registered early years providers

England. Registered early years providers caring for children under the age of 5 should refer to the guidance for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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

Music Mark



England. Click here for guidance for places of worship, which was revised to take account of lifting of the restrictions on 16 July. Again, there is no limit on the number of people who can take part in singing and congregational singing is therefore permitted again.

The Church of England has revised its guidance accordingly and can be found here, whilst the RSCM's latest FAQs are here.

Northern Ireland. The latest guidance for singing as part of worship in Northern Ireland can be found here.

Scotland. The latest government guidance for singing as part of worship in Scotland, updated 10 August, can be found here. Singing, including congregational singing is permitted indoors and outdoors as part of worship in small groups (there is no further definition of 'small'). Congregations are advised to wear face coverings and to maintain 1 metre physical distancing. Face coverings are not required for the purposes of performing where: there is a partition between the person and other persons, or a distance of at least one metre is maintained between the person and other persons.

Wales. The latest guidance from the Church of Wales, applicable from 7 August, can be found here.

The latest government guidance for singing as part of worship in Wales, updated 8 July, can be found here.

Information from other organisations

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


Making Music

Musicians' Union

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