The UK government has released guidance on performing that includes specific recommendations about singing.
The lengthy report, Performing Arts: Working Safely Through The Coronavirus, is for performers, venue operators and arts organisations and, some would say, open to interpretation.
To read the guidance that refers specifically to singing, go to section 4.2. There are 16 key recommendations in total. The main takeaways are:
- Singers should practise extended social distancing (3 metres) with other singers, musicians, accompanists and audience members.
- Singing in front of audiences should be limited to professionals only.
- Where possible, singing should take place outdoors.
- Singing group sizes should be as small as possible in one discrete space. Only consider increasing this number following a comprehensive risk assessment.
What does it mean?
Without wishing to sound non-committal, it will most likely mean different things to different people.
The guidance raises many questions that singers and groups will have to resolve based on their own health, the health of those closest to them and the potential risk to audience members and other performers. Other key factors will include the size of the performance space and ventilation. Some may also question where it leaves them in terms of indemnity.
The Musicians’ Union (MU) says: “Remember there are legal obligations around Health and Safety and you should ensure any engager has provided a Risk Assessment to you and you are confident that your own personal safety is a priority before accepting any engagement.”
If MU members have received a risk assessment from a venue or arts group, the MU is willing to advise. It is also asking members to get in touch if they have any concerns about conditions in their workplace.