Government guidelines

A four-stage roadmap was announced by the Government on 22 February to lift the current restrictions in England over the next few months.

Government research and reports

  • DCMS and PHE commissioned scientific studies to develop the scientific evidence on singing, wind instruments and performance activities. This included the PERFORM and SOBADRA research projects, both undertaken in summer 2020. The PERFORM study was undertaken by a collaborative partnership led by Bristol University and Imperial College London (PERFORM). Find out more here about the research and download the full paper here. NB The research has since been peer reviewed in the Aerosol Science and Technology journal - click here for details.
  • You can read the NERVTAG statement on Assessment of transmission of COVID-19 through musical events from 16 July 2020 here and read the resulting report published by the Singing and Wind Instruments working group in August 2020 following the publication of the scientific studies above here.
  • The Government's Singing and Wind Instrument Group, established in June 2020 as part of the COVID-19 response, published a suggested principles of safer singing in November 2020 as a result of the studies above and we recommend that you read this as part of your risk assessment and planning.

Guidance for Devolved Nations

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

Guidance for the performing arts in England from 17 May

Revised guidance for the Performing Arts in England was published by the DCMS on 14 August and revised on 21 August, 9 September, 17 September, 24 September, 16 October, 5 November, 1 December, 23 December, 6 January, 15 and 26 March and 14 April. The latest revision was published on 18 May.

Whatever type of choir you lead, you are strongly recommended to read the guidance in full, which you can find here. There is specific guidance for non-professional activity, as well as professional activity.

If you lead young singers (whether within the school timetable or in an out-of-school setting), then there are further guidance links below. If you lead a choir in a place of worship, there is also further guidance below.

NEW - visit our FAQs page on the current guidelines for England which supplements this page and gives updates on insurance cover for choirs and the definition of 'commercial activity'.

Performing Arts Guidance in England from 17 May

Read the full guidelines here.

Non-professional activity. Section 2.4

The guidance states:

'Non-professional activities are permitted indoors and outdoors, within the legal gathering limits.

Outdoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 30 people. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities.

Indoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles. Activities. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities.

However, non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people.

Activities should be organised to allow for social distancing to be maintained.'

We sympathise with the frustrations felt by everyone who had planned their return to singing. We are attempting to get more clarification on why singing has been singled out this way and to lobby for the restrictions to be relaxed in a safe way.

Click here to go to our campaign page and see how you can help

Education

Music Mark has issued a really useful summary of the latest updates from 17 May, which you can find here.

Guidance for teachers

Guidance for schools (updated 24 May) can be found here. Information about music in schools is under the section on curriculum.

Guidance for out-of-school settings for children

Guidance updated 20 May

Full out-of-school provision can recommence. There is specific guidance for music and singing in section 12. There is now no fixed limit on the numbers in indoor groups, however, if occupancy levels, distancing and ventilation are not favourable, smaller groups are recommended (e.g. 15 children or fewer per group)

Music lessons in private homes can take place, following the protective measures in this guidance, and additionally following the government guidance for working in homes.

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

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

ISM

Guidance for musicians in places of worship

England

Click here for guidance for places of worship, which was last updated on 24 May. This is sadly in line with the performing arts guidance and states:

'Where singing takes place, it should follow the principles of safer singing.

Indoors: a group of up to 6 amateur singers can perform, or rehearse for performance with social distancing being maintained at all times. There is no limit on the number of professional singers but they should follow guidance on performing arts. Performances should take place at the front of the place of worship to a seated audience. Indoor communal singing should not take place.

Outdoors: When worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing in multiple groups of up to 30. Congregation members should continue to follow social distancing rules. For guidance on singing outdoors outside of acts of communal worship, please refer to the performing arts guidance.

Singing should follow the principles of safer singing and the principles set out in the performing arts guidance.'

The latest Church of England guidance can be found here and the RSCM's latest FAQs are here.

Wales

Click here for guidance on singing as part of worship in Wales.

Scotland

Click here for guidance on singing as part of worship in Scotland.

Guidance for Devolved Nations

Please note that the guidelines above apply to England only.

Scotland. Guidance for the performing arts can be found here. The Scottish Government's timetable for easing of restrictions can be found here and allows for the long-awaited return of non-professional activity to return outdoors only on 17 May, but indoors as well in June, all depending on the data at the time.

Wales. Performing Arts guidance for Wales is here and the latest general guidance as the lockdown is lifted is here. The most recent Welsh Government announcement on 23 April brought forward some changes, so that Wales should be at alert level 3 on 3 May, and then alert level 2 on 17 May. At present, it's possible for up to 30 people to take part in outdoor only organised activity. It's hoped that organised indoor activity for adults can resume on 3 May (brought forward from 17 May), limited to 15 people.

Northern Ireland. General Arts guidance for Northern Ireland is here and the Northern Ireland Executive's pathway out of restrictions document is here, which places the start of amateur rehearsals during the 'gradual easing' phase. The next review is due on 13 May.

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

Community venues

Revised guidance for community venues was published on 17 May. At 2j it states:

'Indoors: a group of up to 6 singers will be allowed to perform, or rehearse for performance with social distancing being maintained at all times. Indoor communal singing should not take place.

Outdoors: singing is permitted outdoors in a group of up to 30.

Singing can also take place in multiple groups of 30 outdoors provided it is organised as a permitted organised gathering and follows the guidelines set out in the events guidance for local authorities. Each group must adhere to the legal gathering limits and be kept separate for the duration of the activity. For further information, please see the section on permitted organised activities.'

Government guidance to local authorities for organised events

This guidance sets out advice for local authorities in England around organised events: this guidance is mentioned in the performing arts guidance and you may find it useful to read it - click here to view it.

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