Socially-distanced carol singing outside can go ahead

Updated 29 November 2020

Carol singing can take place outside with social distancing, MP Andrew Selous, Second Church Estates Commissioner, has confirmed. Indoor communal singing is to be limited to “performance only” for choirs and bands from 2 December, meaning choirs or bands can sing in places of worship over Christmas but not the wider congregation. He also said Nativity plays for under 18s will be  allowed.

The Government has issued the following advice. You can read it in full on the Government website or visit the Church of England website.

Indoor performances

Professional and amateur choirs may perform in any indoor venue permitted to open, as per the restrictions in each tier and should follow the rules outlined above.

Based on public health advice for indoor performances, the audience or congregation should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including singing, shouting and chanting.

The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times. This follows the advice generally for the Performing Arts. Particular attention should be paid to how participants can arrive and leave the site safely while maintaining social distancing.

Attendees should walk or cycle to the event and avoid public transport or sharing a car with anyone outside their household in line with safer travel advice.

Outdoor performances

Professional and amateur choirs may perform outdoors in any venue permitted to open, as per the restrictions in each tier and should follow the rules outlined above.

Where a performance is held outdoors, an audience or congregation may join in with singing and should follow performing arts guidance. This means that audience or congregation members should follow social distancing of 2m and event organisers should ensure this is maintained. Attendees should remain seated where possible. The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the outdoor space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times. Particular attention should be paid to how participants can arrive and leave the site safely while maintaining social distancing.

Door-to-door carol singing can take place in a group(s) of no more than six participants. If there are more than six people in total, each ‘group’ must not interact, ‘mingle’ or otherwise socialise. Participants should adhere to public health advice, including to ensure that you maintain at least 2m distance from anyone you do not live with and the threshold of any dwellings.

Attendees should walk or cycle to the event and avoid public transport or sharing a car with anyone outside their household in line with safer travel advice.

Bishop Ruth has welcomed the decision saying, “It is wonderful news that we will be able to sing together again. Although we can’t do that inside, I’m sure we will all benefit from being able to sing together with joy this Christmas. Singing helps lift our spirits, it makes us happy, and it is important for our mental health and well-being.”

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