We encourage all clubs to read the guidance, available here, and a useful early summary from Making Music here.

In particular, we note the following:

  • As always, it is in the nature of government guidance that it does not always give us the unambiguous guidance we seek, and can at times seem confusing and contradictory.
  • Of particular note, the DCMS have now said '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.'
  • They also say elsewhere: 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…

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… Businesses and venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host larger groups.

Our guidance to clubs is firstly that the committee and musical leaders in each club read and digest the quite lengthy guidance and take responsibility for managing the way forward for your club. We are currently unclear as to whether the DCMS regards 6 – or 30 – as the maximum number who can sing together in a club setting, and are seeking clarification on that with Making Music who have in turn written to DCMS for further guidance, as they too are unclear). The Making Music guidance here is also helpful (requires a Making Music login, as for your insurance documents).

Before considering a way forward we suggest that you:

  • Poll and act on the views of your members before resuming singing.
  • Undertake a risk assessment of any activity you are considering, and keep your risk assessments on record.
  • Consider the clinically vulnerable
  • Liaise and reach agreement with any rehearsal venue you use on necessary practices.
  • Work outdoors where possible
  • Understand and practice social distancing when rehearsing, and before and after rehearsing.
  • Limit the number of members singing together.
  • Limit exposure by starting with quite short rehearsals.
  • Limit exposure by singing side by side or even back to back
  • Consider PPE for the musical director who may be out front facing the singers.
  • Do not share sheet music.
  • If you live in an area where additional local restrictions apply, of course these must take priority.

These are early days, and much is still unclear, but we are looking forward to working with you at starting to develop a resumption of our activities.