Following last week’s news that restrictions on choirs would be lifted, the government have now published their guidance relating to choirs. There are no surprises this time, but there remains a lot to consider for leaders of non-professional choirs as lockdown life officially ends on Monday 19th July.
The link for the guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts#arts-2-1
One aspect that choir leaders are finding an obstacle is that their venues remain cautious about singing taking place on their premises. This is partly down to guidance that venues have been issued with telling them to be exactly that. One clause states that venues should “encourage the use of outside space where practical”, especially for “higher risk activity such as exercise or when people are singing”.
The link for this guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/restaurants-pubs-bars-nightclubs-and-takeaway-services
This is where Project Get Singing comes in. The PGS team has been conducting research into rehearsals from Autumn 2020.
We all know that singing has been a notable pariah of this pandemic, though the scientific research that has been undertaken in the ‘Perform’ study, published in August 2020 showed that it was no more dangerous than the shouting or loud talking you will find in most social spaces. This led to many choirs reopening to live rehearsals, and the data collected countrywide and number crunched by the Head of Cambridgeshire’s Covid Response Team Next that we hope to share very soon should have something that MDs can take to venues to put their minds at rest.
Moving forward, it is important to remember that despite the relaxation of restrictions, the need for a robust risk assessment is still essential in ensuring a safe environment for singers. This is particularly important as the government has shifted responsibility onto choirs, effectively leapfrogging what would have been Step 3 in their Road Map.
Making Music and ABCD continue to provide clear information about how to make the most of the new way of life as safely as possible. Links to their relevant web pages can be found at www.mdbrunch.uk/guidance