Latest update 18th June 2021

June Updates:

From Making Music:

  • England Step 4 delayed until 19 July; meanwhile no change for choirs indoors at max 6 singers. Check Making Music guidance tool for all nations of the UK as there have been a number of changes everywhere recently: https://www.makingmusic.org.uk/resource/can-group-get-back-in-person 
  • For Making Music members the backdoor opened by DCMS (“Whilst it is for organisers and venues to determine how to operate in accordance with the relevant guidance and regulations, we would remind you that the limits do not apply to activity taking place for work or commercial activity.”) and the confirmation from our insurers that groups can meet in more than 6 to rehearse towards and perform in a concert for which tickets are/will be sold or to rehearse towards and perform in an event for which the group is paid a fee, means that effectively most choirs could return to indoor rehearsals now. 
  • I thought you would all be interested in this research from Canada which looked at 24 ‘superspreader’ events and whether at these events masks were worn. Short answer: no. More arguments for wearing singers’ masks indoors when rehearsing! https://www.choralcanada.org/blog.html. Do feel free to share on social media
  • The app WellRehearsed is now live on Android AND Apple! See more information here: https://www.makingmusic.org.uk/resource/wellrehearsed-app-covid-19 . Please encourage absolutely all choirs to use this and report whenever they are rehearsing – this will only help us if we manage to get BIG DATA together, for impressive stats. Basically, if nobody has got infected at a rehearsal, it will take you less than a minute to report every week. And if someone has, then you are encouraged to answer a long questionnaire which would help all of us really quickly adapt our protocols because we’ll be able to understand immediately how the problem may have arisen. The app is totally anonymous – no worries about holding or sharing data therefore.
  • We have still not heard from PHE (where our letter to Prof Chris Whitty had been re-directed to), so are re-issuing the letter which Dr Jenny Harries from PHE was copied in to, directly to her.

We are still working away at trying to uncover why the decision to restrict choirs indoors was taken, i.e. what evidence there might be underlying that. For two reasons:

    • If we don’t understand what they’re worrying about, then the concern is that that worry will not be removed by Step 4 and/or that choirs are immediately restricted again if there is another lockdown. There’s been a roundabout rumour it might be to do with ventilation – well, if we knew for sure, we could tell the relevant department just how much we’re on top of ventilation in this sector already!
    • If there is evidence that we genuinely don’t know about, then we need to know what it is, so we can all update our guidance and risk assessments for our members asap.
    • Therefore, I will also be writing to Sir Patrick Valliance who chairs SAGE and the person from the Health and Safety Executive which sits on the Environmental Monitoring Group (a committee like SAGE and which according to SAGE minutes has been tasked with working on ventilation). And will continue to submit Freedom of Information requests though it is not possible to get to all these bodies via FOI requests. It is also, sadly, quite easy for departments to bat the question away if you don’t exactly ask the right one – which is difficult if you don’t know what the needle looks like that you’re trying to find in the dark in a haystack. Any experts amongst you on this, please do come forward.

May Updates:

Making Music have recently released an article which is relevant to BABS members, 'Covid-19 guidance for choirs: play your part'. Please click here to read the press release: England Step 3 guidance for choirs – only 6 indoors | Making Music

For England:

Following on from our update earlier, our initial thoughts were correct. We know this will be a disappointment for many. We will continue to keep you updated.

The guidance states (section 2.4):

  • “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 can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is 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.”

This means guidance is different for singing and non-singing groups, with greater restrictions on what singing groups can do.

Singing:

  • Inside: fixed maximum of 6 people
  • Outside: no fixed maximum as long as conditions are met - so maximum numbers are dictated by safety.

Non-singing: 

  • Inside and outside: no fixed maximum as long as conditions are met - so maximum numbers are dictated by safety.

For the recent update please see below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities?fbclid=IwAR1me8IBIT3IqCBG3AIGNcUs1GnkcnzNyntSnfpeB3T3BPUuhOhvTD0itiM#permitted-activities-in-multi-use-community-facilities-signposting-to-relevant-guidance

For Scotland:

You can check which protection level your are is in using the Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland.

Future indicative dates

  • 7 June: all of Scotland will move to Level 1
  • 28 June: all of Scotland will move to Level 0

The summary information on what you can do at each level has been published and can be downloaded here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

It makes specific reference to non-professional performing arts in the “Leisure and entertainment section” as follows:

  • Level 4 - closed.
  • Level 3 - closed.
  • Level 2 - Outdoor organised adult non-professional performing arts activities permitted.
  • Level 1 – Indoor (and outdoor) organised adult non-professional performing arts activities permitted.
  • Level 0 - Indoor (and outdoor) organised adult non-professional performing arts activities permitted.

What can groups do?

  • From 17 May (confirmed) – outdoors organised activity in mainland Scotland. For islands in Level 1, indoor group activity. With reference to performing arts guidance (see below)

  • From 7 June (indicative) – outdoors and indoors group activity in all areas. With reference to performing arts guidance (see below) 

There are some different rules for youth groups (see below).

Guidance for performing arts (adults)

Scottish Government guidance revisions were published on 17 May and there is a section with an Operational guide for non-professionals gathering for performing arts activities. It permits organised groups to undertake their activities “currently permitted in their local authority area, according to its protection level on the strategic framework”.

Definition of organised group: “Organised non-professional performing arts activity for adults (indoors or outdoors) should be managed by an organisation - including a business, charity or club.”

“Organisers should only proceed with their activity if they can comply with the requirements specified in legislation and in this and other relevant guidance.”

Capacity: There is no cap on numbers in a group in this guidance. This is the guidance instead “Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring 2 metre physical distancing between participants/households and between organisers/leaders and support staff/ volunteers and participants/households, and in accordance with the guidance and maximum numbers for events”

The maximum numbers at events are here

  • At Level 2, numbers are capped at 250 standing outdoors 
  • Level 1, numbers are capped indoors at 100 standing/200 seated

These caps are unlikely to be prohibitive for music making activity. The number of music makers that can safely be accommodated in a venue while retaining 2m distance is likely to be the smaller number.

Operational guidance: Groups are permitted and required to operate under the same guidance as that provided for professional organisations “Organisers should undertake the same risk assessment processes as referenced in this guidance for professional organisations” and “non-professionals should follow all relevant operational guidance provided for professional performing arts organisations as well as that provided for non-professionals.”

Some steps that will usually be needed are provided, including (this is an extract):

  • Keep a record of attenders for 21 days to support Test and Protect.
  • Make sure that participants do not attend if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or when advised to self-isolate.
  • Observe 2 metre physical distancing between each participant/household and any others attending, such as conductors, accompanists or audiences (where permitted). (measured from the edge of a performer’s chair)
  • Use back-to-back or side-to-side positioning of performers (rather than face-to-face)
  • Limit the duration of rehearsals and performances
  • Avoid exposure of attenders through using alternative programmes, technology or adapting, re-arranging or re-orchestrating for fewer participants.
  • Consider using screens or barriers in addition to physical distancing.
  • Determine what level of monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms or for COVID-19 is required to achieve as reasonable a level of risk mitigation as possible.
  • Ensure there is a clear policy in place for managing a COVID-19 positive individual

Operational guidance for professional organisations: There is additional guidance for professional organisations that non-professionals are required to follow in the whole guidance document. This includes a section on ensuring physical distancing at all times.

In the section called People involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting events there is guidance: 

  • On singing "...steps should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, including limiting the number of people participating and increasing ventilation.”
  • On playing music  “Face coverings should be worn wherever possible unless exempt. Where wearing a face covering is not practical, for example, when playing some instruments, other mitigations such as screens, physical distancing, etc should be considered. Since face coverings have been shown to reduce the mass of aerosol expelled during singing, their use should be considered as additional precautionary mitigation.”
  • On handling musical instruments etc –  (extract):
    • using designated storage for large instrument cases; musicians with smaller instruments keep cases under their seat
    • avoiding sharing professional equipment wherever possible and place name labels on equipment, for example, percussionists maintaining their own sticks and mallets.
    • handling of music scores, parts and scripts to be limited to the individual using them
    • if equipment has to be shared, regularly disinfecting it (including any packing cases, handles, props, chairs and music stands) and always between users
    • consider quarantining hired objects for 72 hours before use
    • cleaning of musical instruments by musicians, where possible
    • creating picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and mics hand-to-hand
    • not permitting audience onto the stage or to touch equipment, props, instruments, set or other objects used by performers

Members should read all guidance for professionals and non-professionals relevant to their activity and include mitigations in their risk assessments.

Youth groups

Groups making music with children / young people under 18

There is Scottish Government guidance on ‘organised activities for children’, last review published on 21 April 2021. The guidance is still under review however and Scottish Government have told us there will be further clarification of when and in what circumstances ‘higher risk’ activities are able to restart.

It covers unregulated activities and services that are voluntary, third sector, parent/peer led or unregulated providers delivering a service or activity. We think our members delivering music activity for children are most likely to fall into this category. Schools, regulated childcare and youth work are covered in separate guidance. 

The guidance includes maximum group sizes allowed per level. The indicative dates for Scotland to move into each level are at the top of this page.

What does the guidance say?

This guidance specifically references music in this section of the guidance as follows:

“music … activities should take place only in situations where they comply with the low risk criteria in group settings.”

The guidance defines some activities as ‘lower risk’:  …such as music activities with percussion, keyboards, strings and guitars’. These are permitted take place within the maximum group size allowed at each level (see below).

  Indoor Outdoor
Baseline (level 0) 30 30
Level 1 30 30
Level 2 20 25
Level 3 10 20
Level 4 Not permitted 15

Singing groups: the guidance states that ‘… Singing, especially in large groups, is considered a higher risk activity …’ and ‘it is recommended that singing indoors, as the main part of any activity, does not take place … at this time.’ It also states that ‘Some of the risk is reduced if the activity is taken outdoors. It will be up to each individual group/organisation/service provider to consider how or if this can be done safely.’ This suggests that group singing could take place outdoors but it is not defined in what numbers and with what mitigations this could take place.

Choirs: the guidance states that ‘Choirs should not recommence at this point.’ There is no definition of a choir provided.

What can groups do?

Music making with children/young people under 18 – other than woodwind/brass and singing

Can take place in groups outdoors and indoors up to the maximum numbers permitted at each protection level (in the table above). Check with protection level your area/the country is currently in.

Choirs and singing groups with children/young people under 18

‘Choirs should not recommence’. Singing groups are ‘not recommended’ indoors at any level so should not recommence.

Singing outdoors could take place but ‘it will be up to each individual group/organisation/service provider to consider how or if this can be done safely’.

For Wales:

Wales uses a four level alert system. Alert level one has the least restrictions and level four the most. 

Wales is currently at alert level two, which does allow groups to meet and rehearse outdoors and indoors, with limits on numbers.  

So, what can my group do?

As of 17 May

Outdoors: organise a rehearsal with up to 50 adults attending in total: 

  • This cannot be in the grounds or gardens of private homes (where the limit on number is max. 6 people from 6 households).
  • Groups must carry out a risk assessment and have measures in place to mitigate risk (see COVID secure rehearsals below).
  • Groups rehearsing in public need to think about how to manage members of the public / passers-by. If people stop and watch, a rehearsal can quickly become a performance – which is not a permitted activity
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed as part of the activities
  • There are no limits to the number of children aged under 11 that can take part

Indoors: organise an indoor rehearsal with up to 30 adults

  • This cannot be in a private home.
  • Groups must carry out a risk assessment and have measures in place to mitigate risk (see COVID secure rehearsals below).
  • Although less of a concern indoors than out, groups rehearsing in public should still be mindful members of the public / passers-by. If people stop and watch, a rehearsal can quickly become a performance – which is not a permitted activity
  • There are no limits to the number of children aged under 11 that can take part

There is a useful section in Alert level 2: frequently asked questions that covers this: 

"Can choirs and brass bands resume practicing indoors or outdoors?

Choirs and brass bands are permitted to rehearse indoors with up to 30 members under the organised activity rules. Outdoors, up to 50 people are permitted to convene under the organised activity rules. Organisers have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to coronavirus. Therefore, risk assessments should consider the space available to allow social distancing as far as is possible"

Road out of lockdown

The Welsh government have released a detailed document outlining the strategic plan and what is and isn’t possible at each alert level. 

    For Northern Ireland:

    The guidance states "Outdoor static band practice/band rehearsal permitted.”

    The numbers allowed to rehearse depend on the regulations in place at the time. Current regulations/guidance states:

    • "Up to 10 people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors...”  This applies to non-domestic settings - i.e. in public. 
    • This is increased to 15 people from three households in private gardens.

    Obviously these restrictions on the number of people meeting outdoors will not facilitate many rehearsals.

    The guidance also states that:

    “Theatres and concert halls are permitted to open for rehearsals or a live recording without an audience.”

    What can groups do? 

    From 30 April:

    • Meet to rehearse outdoors, in public, in groups of 10 people from a maximum of two households. If groups do rehearse in public they need to think about how to manage members of the public / passers-by. If people stop and watch, a rehearsal can quickly become a performance – which is not a permitted activity
    • Meet to rehearse outdoors, in private gardens, in groups of 15 people from a maximum of three households.

    The Northern Ireland Executive have released a document detailing the pathway out of lockdown and restrictions and have released some indicative dates for next steps. These are pending confirmation and we will update this page once we have that.

    Indicative date: 24th May

    Outdoor gatherings can take place with no more than 500 people – which would allow for outdoor rehearsals.

    When groups can meet in person again the organiser will need to carry out a risk assessment which meets the requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 and take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

    The Arts Council Northern Ireland document: In the Bubble of Our Making: Reopening the Arts in Northern Ireland also has information on the sorts of measures needed (page 30):

    • “Observing social distancing at all times whilst playing.
    • Group size would be governed by the regulations in place at the time.
    • For professionals (i.e. for work purposes) where social distancing is not possible, using fixed teams which are positioned socially distanced from any other fixed team or anyone else. – Note that this fixed team approach is not recommended in non-professional environments unless all the members of the fixed team are part of the same household or support bubble. It is also unlikely that this fixed team approach will be feasible where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously.
    • Using back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
    • Playing outdoors wherever possible.
    • If playing indoors, limiting the numbers to account for ventilation of the space and the ability to social distance.
    • Considering using screens or barriers in addition to social distancing.”

    It includes extra measures for singing- based on the UK Government guidance ‘Principles of safer singing’:

    • “people with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or who are known to have been in recent contact with others who have COVID-19, do not participate in singing or attend singing events.
    • Singing takes place only in larger well-ventilated spaces, or outdoors.
    • Performance or rehearsal is for limited periods of time at a reduced level of loudness, using
    • microphones for amplification if available.
    • Maximum group size would be governed by the regulations in place at the time and Limited numbers of people sing together.
    • Singers are spaced at least 2 metres apart in all directions”

    Previous Updates:

    We are currently waiting on the official guidance from DCMS however this has been spotted on the release which came out today with regards to weddings.

    For England:

    "From Step 3, indoor professional performances can take place, including at a ceremony or reception. Although there is no limit on the number of professional performers that can perform at a ceremony or reception, the number should be determined by how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place between the performers and guests. Performances should follow the guidelines as set out in the performing arts guidance.

    Amateur choirs, bands, or musicians may also perform in a group of up to 6 indoors. Outdoors, they may perform in multiple groups of up to 30.

    All performances should follow the principles for safer singing and performing arts guidance. Communal singing should not take place indoors at either Step 2 or Step 3."

    Taken from: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremonies-receptions-and-celebrations

    April Updates:

    Local Authority Guidance including non-professional performing arts and music groups (England). In particular please note:

    Singing

    The performing arts guidance sets out how professional singing can take place in both outdoor and indoor settings. While indoor and outdoor venues cannot reopen until Step 3, professional rehearsals and streaming can still take place in theatres and concert halls. Non-professional activity, such as rehearsals, can take place outdoors from 29 March in line with social mixing limits however audiences are not permitted in any settings until Step 3. Non-professional activity indoors cannot resume until Step 3.

    The performing arts guidance advises that organisers should take proactive steps to encourage audiences to support the safety of the event and discourage activities which can create aerosol such as shouting, chanting and singing along. Coronavirus spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Singing, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols. If singing does take place, steps to reduce the risk of transmission should be taken, including limiting the number of people participating as far as possible. The cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission. Further advice about how groups can implement further mitigations such as reducing the length of activity can be found in the performing arts guidance. Performances in places of worship should also refer to this guidance."

    March Updates:

      In England

      From 29 March: DCMS guidance specifically mention non-professional activity and allows for activity to take place within social contact limits. This means Six people or two households can meet outside to rehearse. This can be in a public place or private garden. Anyone meeting in public should think carefully about what might happen if people stop and watch – which is not a permitted activity.

      The guidance states:

      "Outdoors, non-professional performing arts activity will be permitted from 29 March, within the legal gathering limits. People can take part in non-professional performing arts activity outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households or an exemption applies (for example a support bubble). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble."

      Provisional roadmap

      DCMS have pointed us towards the Government guidance on Reopening businesses and venues to provide clarity on how the road map will affect leisure time music. 

      Below are some provisional dates and activities that set out what groups might be able to do further down the line based on the Reopening businesses and venues guidance. The dates are the earliest possible dates the government has said activities might be able to take place. It is all subject to government review and confirmation, which we expect to get approximately a week before each of the dates below.

      We anticipate that DCMS will release more information on each step of the road map at a later date and will update this page when they do.

      Step two (12 April earliest)

      Community centres and other public buildings can open but the Government guidance on Reopening businesses and venues says:

      “indoor events that bring people together - even if they do not mix with other households - must not run until Step 3.”

      Indoor rehearsals will not be possible at step two.

      The same guidance for outdoor activity:

      Outdoors, non-professional performing arts activity will be permitted from 29 March, within the legal gathering limits. People can take part in non-professional performing arts activity outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households or an exemption applies (for example a support bubble). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.

      Step three (17 May earliest)

       The Government guidance on Reopening businesses and venues says:

      "At this step, both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to specific conditions: that they comply with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for organised sport or exercise, supervised activities for children or a significant life event)."

      So, indoor and outdoor rehearsals will be possible in step three with no formal limits on numbers but with some conditions:

      • Completing a relevant risk assessment.
      • Having measures in place to mitigate risk.
      • Managing numbers safely within social contact limits: “those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits...”
        • This means that the total number of people attending a rehearsal can be more than the social contact limit – but that they must always remain in sub-groups within social contact limits.
        • So, indoors the social contact limit at this step will be 6. If your venue would safely allow for 42 people (as an example) to attend, all 42 could attend but they would have to stay in a maximum of 7 sub-groups of 6 people. With no mixing / switching between the sub-groups.
        • Making Music advise that you go further than this and treat everyone as a sub-group of 1 – and don’t allow for any mixing. This will mean your rules can be very simple and clear and make the rehearsal much easier to manage.

      Step four (21 June earliest)

      The government hope to lift all COVID secure requirements at this step.  There will be more information on this nearer time following government reviews, in particular a promised government review as to when specific mitigations are no longer necessary, e.g. face masks, social distancing etc.

      In Scotland

      Under current national lockdown restrictions groups cannot meet to rehearse in person.

      Online rehearsals are of course possible.

      The First Minister announced on 23 February that Scotland would remain under ‘stay at home restrictions’ until at least 5 April (indicative) and hopefully return to the variable levels system of restrictions on the 26 April (indicative).

      The Scottish Government’s timetable for easing coronavirus restrictions published on 16 March gave 17 May as the indicative date for non-professional performance arts to resume outdoors.

      We will make any revisions when the Scottish Government publishes the revised levels framework.

      In Wales

      Wales is moving to a four-tier system. Tier one has the least restrictions and tier four the most. 

      The Welsh government have released a detailed document outlining the strategic tier plan and what is and isn’t possible at each level. They have also released a useful shorter document explaining each tier.

      All of Wales is in tier four. The guidance below covers tier four restrictions.

      Tier four

      Organised outdoor activity is not possible at all. 

      Concert halls are closed.

      Indoor organised activities are limited to 'public and voluntary services' and community centres can have limited opening for ‘essential public services’.

      The Health Protection Regulations 2020 does not clearly define what is covered by 'voluntary' and 'essential public services', but given the overall tone of tier four restrictions we do not think it includes music group activity.

      Groups cannot meet to rehearse. 

      The two keys bit of guidance to be aware of are: 

      1. The Organised Activity section of the leaving your home and seeing other people guidance, which has some general rules organisers should follow. 
      2. For music groups the Rehearsing, Performing and taking part in the performing arts: Guidelines for phased return has more detailed and specific guidance. Some general points:
      • The guidance makes no distinction between professional and non-professional groups (unlike the English equivalent) – the inference being it does apply to non-professionals.
      • It gives specific information for singing, wind, brass (part 3.19)
      • It gives specific information for other (non-singing, wind and brass) musical activity (part 13.20)
      • There have been some updates to the guidance – so if you read it a while ago it is worth another read. 

      The guidance has lots of considerations and suggestions - you do not necessarily have to implement all of them. You should implement the ones that are most relevant to you in making sure you are providing a safe environment.

      Some essentials are:

      • Do your own risk assessment 
      • Maintain social distancing at all times
      • Clean more often (hands and venue)
      • Use face coverings
      • Have a track and trace system in place
      • Increase ventilation
      • Turn people away with symptoms

      In Northern Ireland

      National lockdown update 

      Current lock down measures are in place with the next review due on 15 April. 

      The two key current messages are;

      • “You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes).
      • You should not travel more than 10 miles from your home in order to take exercise.”

      Taken from Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance: what the restrictions mean for you

      On gathering indoor and outdoor the guidance says:

      “Up to six people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors, or in non-domestic indoor settings for a permitted reason.”

      Music rehearsals are not a permitted reason so in person rehearsals are not possible under current lockdown measures.

      Pathway out of restrictions

      The Northern Ireland Executive have released a document detailing the pathway out of lockdown and restrictions.

      There are three dates for Comprehensive Formal Reviews:

      • 15 April
      • 13 May
      • 10 June 

      Between each date the data will be analysed for a 3-week period. The Executive will then review the data for a further week and make a decision on the next step out of restrictions. 

      There are nine pathways for different parts of society. The pathway relevant to rehearsals for music groups is Culture, Heritage & Entertainment 

      Each pathway has a five-phase approach going form: phase one ‘lockdown’ (current phase) to phase five ‘preparing for the future’ (this is not no restrictions at all – but more of a middle ground between restrictions relaxing and things getting back to normal).

      Groups being able to rehearse together seems likely to be in phase three. Indeed “A band can practise together” is specifically mentioned as an example of what might be possible in phase three of Culture, Heritage & Entertainment pathway.

      We do not know when phase three will start or exactly what restrictions will be in place. Sometime in May seems like a possibility at the moment, but that is subject to review dates and confirmation.

      With thanks to Making Music for guidance and information.

      26th March

      Updated Gov.uk guidance re amateur performers from 27 March

      16 March
      Schools and colleges return, plus practical Higher Education courses
      Stay at home guidance remains
      No in person rehearsals

      February Updates:

      The dates are the earliest possible dates the government has said activities might be able to take place. It is all subject to government review and confirmation, which we expect to get approximately a week before each of the dates below.

      We await detailed information on the performing arts, but the key points so far are:

      8 March
      Schools and colleges return, plus practical Higher Education courses
      Stay at home guidance remains
      No in person rehearsals

      29 March
      Rule of 6 or two households outdoors only, this could include rehearsals
      Travel should be minimised

      12 April
      Events pilots begin
      Outdoor attractions open including drive-in events
      Outdoor hospitality open
      Community centres can open

      17 May
      Indoor entertainment reopens, plus remaining outdoor entertainment
      Amateur activity can recommence (ABCD/Making Music seeking clarification on whether outdoor rehearsals could take place earlier)
      Rule of 6 or two households indoors, 30 people outdoors
      Domestic overnight stays
      Large events with capacity limits - 50% or 1000, whichever is fewer

      21 June
      All measures lifted – which means groups could be back to full activities

      We are waiting clarification from DCMS on how rehearsals will fit into each stage of the roadmap, what it will mean in a practice, and what limit on numbers there will be. Recreational sporting activities are specially mentioned in the roadmap – Making Music/ABCD are asking if leisure time music activities will have parity with sporting ones. 

      January Updates:

      December Updates:

      November Updates:

      • Government Guidelines: Performing Arts Update 27 November 2020
      • COVID-19: suggested principles of safer singing. GOV.UK updated 20 November 2020.
      • England enters a national Tier 4 lockdown on Thursday 5 November lasting until 2 December.

        DCMS have confirmed that no amateur music activity can take place during this time – so groups will not be able to meet and rehearse under any circumstances. 

        In the meantime, you can:

        • Meet online
        • Plan for how to return safely to in person rehearsals when you are able to do so. 

        We will keep this page updated as we find out more about what will happen after 2 December.  

      October Updates:

      September Updates:

      August Updates:

      July Updates:

      June and Earlier Updates:

      Please note, it is still important for individual groups to make their own risk assessment based on official government guidance.

      Remember BABS are here to help! Members of the Board are available to help you by visiting your zoom rehearsals or in any other way so please do contact us if we can be of assistance. 

      In order to assist our members in trying online video conferencing, we have prepared a pack, which includes guidance on running meetings, running rehearsals, and other things to consider. We have updated this document as of January 2021. Please click here to download the document - we hope it is of use to some of you!
       
      We are all looking forward to the day where we can sing together on the risers again.

      For more information on the current situation and regular updates please see the below links:

      Further information and support on what we can do at this time is constantly coming in. Click on the links below to get some more ideas on what other choirs are doing to stay connected, further information and research.