Revised guidelines allow non-professional singing again

See our new practical considerations for conductors and choirs to help you plan your way back to singing, revised (25 August) to reflect the recent clarifications and the results of the recent scientific research into aerosols and singing.

Revised guidance for the Performing Arts was published by the government on 14 August. The good news is that the guidelines now confirm that non-professionals can now take part in singing activity, whilst keeping to the current social distancing guidelines. As of 21 August the guidelines have been clarified regarding the numbers of singers allowed. See below for an updated summary and here for the full guidelines.

These guidelines apply to England only. Guidance is still awaited in Wales. Guidance for Northern Ireland is here. Guidance has now been published for Scotland on 21 August here.

We strongly recommend that you read the detailed guidance, both on the performing arts, and the more general social guidelines, including guidelines for community organisations and community venues. Any activity should be planned on its own merits, with a risk assessment, and follow Covid Secure guidelines. You should also check any local restrictions that are in place, which can change rapidly.

Guidelines for places of worship have also now been updated to allow small church choirs to sing - click here for the full guidelines.

A summary of the main relevant points is below, with links to the detailed guidance:

Performing Arts guidelines 13 August (with updates 21 August)

Both professionals and non-professionals (meaning those participating in performing arts other than for work purposes), or groups which include non-professionals, should refer to this guidance for their activities

Additional mitigations, such as extended social distancing, were previously required for singing, wind and brass given concerns that these were potentially higher risk activities. DCMS commissioned further scientific studies to be carried out to develop the scientific evidence on these activities, which has allowed us to reconsider appropriate mitigations. Both professionals and non-professionals can now engage in singing, wind and brass in line with this guidance. People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Venues, performers and audiences should ensure 2m distancing applies wherever possible.

However, these studies have also indicated that it is the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events that is likely to create risk. We are continuing to develop more detailed understanding of how to mitigate this potential aggregate risk, but in that context, organisations should therefore consider:

By considering and adopting these measures cumulatively, the overall risk of the event will be reduced.

Households should always remain socially distanced from each other (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location. It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces).

Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment.

Within this guidance there are no set limits on the numbers who can be involved in planned non-professional activity taking place outside and/or in a Covid-secure venue. This is in line with guidance on "gatherings in Covid-19 secure venues" in the meeting people from outside your home guidance. However, organisations must ensure an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment is carried out and that the numbers of individuals involved are able to be socially distanced at all times. Organisations and venues will want to minimise the risk as far as possible and this guidance sets out a number of mitigations that should be considered when doing so. See the bullets above and section 3 for further details.

General government guidelines for meeting people outside your household:

Gatherings in COVID-19 secure venues

When meeting friends and family, even in venues like restaurants, pubs, places of worship or community centres, you should follow the guidance on gatherings and:

Anyone in your support bubble counts as one household.

Clubs or groups can begin to meet again in COVID-19 secure venues. However, you should take care to remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or is not in your support bubble. You should also limit social interaction with anyone outside of these formal activities even if you see other people you know. Venues should ensure they comply with COVID-19 secure guidelines.

It's against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), or in a public outdoors space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance. The government will be introducing fines for those who facilitate or organise illegal gatherings of over 30 people.

Gathering in larger groups

You should only be socialising in groups of up to 2 households (including your support bubble) indoors and outdoors or up to 6 people from different households when outdoors.

More generally, you can continue to meet in larger groups if necessary for work, voluntary or charitable services, education, childcare or training, elite sporting competition or training, to fulfil legal obligations, to provide emergency assistance, or to enable someone to avoid illness, injury or risk of harm.

You can also meet in larger groups for weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies and services, community activities and support groups - which should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 secure guidelines.

It is otherwise against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). Businesses and venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host larger groups. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. The government will be introducing fines for the organisers or those who facilitate illegal gatherings of over 30 people.

If taking part in activities with larger groups, you should take particular care to follow social distancing guidelines. In addition to those guidelines, the following principles should be observed to ensure you meet people in a way that minimises the risk of spreading infection:

From government guidelines FAQs on what you can take part in

3.8 Can I attend an activity club or support group?

Yes, you can. Premises such as activity clubs, community centres and youth clubs can reopen, and should follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. It is important to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene in these circumstances. Outside of these formal activities, to help control the virus, you should limit your interactions with those you don't live with.

Government guidelines on the use of community venues

These were updated on 14 August.

3c: Recreation, leisure and social gatherings

Clubs or groups that use community facilities can begin to meet again and facility managers should follow these COVID-19 secure guidelines to facilitate that.

Premises or locations following COVID-19 secure guidelines will be able to hold more than 30 people, subject to their own capacity limits. It is important for people to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene when visiting these spaces. People using community facilities should continue to limit their interactions with those they do not live with outside of any formal activities they are participating in to help control the virus.

People meeting in a club or group context at a community centre should be encouraged to socially distance from anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble.

Community facilities are now permitted to host socially distanced indoor and outdoor performances in line with the performing arts guidance. Managers and organisers should consider and adopt the mitigations set out in the guidance to reduce the overall risk of the event. These include:

Both professionals and non-professionals can now engage in singing, wind and brass in line with the performing arts guidance.

Posted: Fri 14th August 2020

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