Revised Covid safety arrangements

Type of post: Orchestra news item
Posted By: Arden Tomison
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sat, 12 Sep 2020
Hi everyone, as you know we were looking to get back together again to rehearse but then the rules changed. On the face of it we can't now plan to get together. BRO are members of making music and I received this from them the other day:

The UK government has reduced the number of people being able to meet socially in a group to 6, from 14 September. However, there is still an open question as to whether music groups would be affected by this or not.

Currently, the list of exemptions from this rule includes sports (indoor and outdoor) and youth activities, but not other community activities, such as music groups.

We have been given to understand that the guidance will be updated by 14 September, so there is a small chance to influence it. 

If you feel strongly that music groups should be exempt from the rule of 6, as exercise classes are, then you should write to your MP without delay asking that community arts/community music groups, organised by businesses and charitable organisations, in controlled settings should be exempt from the restrictions on social gatherings, in the same way that sporting and youth activities are.

Here are some of the arguments you might wish to put forward:

  • Research has now been undertaken which shows that musical activities are no more dangerous than loud speaking in close proximity; effective mitigations are therefore now possible, in terms of ventilation, face coverings, rigorous 2m social distancing etc.
  • Musical group activity creates some of the same benefits as sporting activity does, e.g. on respiratory and immune systems, helping many people who cannot undertake other forms of exercise
  • The mental health benefits of group music activity are now proven beyond doubt and are crucial at this time when the nation is reeling from 6 months of pandemic and the prospect of renewed restrictions in the winter, combined with difficult economic prospects; restricting groups again right now would deal a further blow to the mental health of millions across the UK who participate in such activity
  • This is formal activity in strictly controlled settings, rigorously risk assessed by a committee of people or similar, or a business owner, responsible for the well-being of participants, undertaken only with risk mitigations in place and enforced

An important note!

It is entirely up to you if you get involved. We believe that it is important that groups are allowed the freedom to risk assess their own activity as it is so varied in terms of participants, settings etc. If you agree – even if your own group is not able or ready to meet in person! – then please do get involved: only voters can persuade their MP to take up an issue. We cannot do that on your behalf.

We are working with Brass Bands England, Association of British Choral Directors, Singing Network UK and others on this.

Please do share this email with anyone you think may find it of interest.

Best of luck,

Barbara Eifler, Chief Executive
Making Music

Anyone reading this is invited to write to their MP if you support the idea of music groups being subjeet to amended guidance. Thnaks to all for your support.