On 11th January the Government published update guidance for the safe use of places of worship. The full guidance can be found at here and church leaders are encouraged to read them and acquaint themselves with the changes.
Of particular interest might be the revised guidance on Singing, Chanting and Playing Musical Instruments. Te revised guidance reads as follows:
COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Singing, playing some musical instruments, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols. Safeguards should be put in place to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread.
- Where singing or chanting is essential to an act of worship, this should be limited to one person wherever possible. Exceptionally, where it is essential to the service, up to three individuals should be permitted to do so. Strict social distancing should be observed and the use of Plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers, and each other.
- Communal singing should not take place. This applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
- Chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should also be avoided in communal worship and and in rehearsals.
Where communal singing plays a big part in worship, and recordings are available, we suggest you use these as an alternative to live singing. If a place of worship hosts a professional group for rehearsing you should follow the performing arts guidance.
- Avoid playing recorded music at a volume that may result in people using raised voices or shouting to communicate when arriving or leaving for worship.
- Spoken responses during worship should not be in a raised voice.
- Good ventilation plays a crucial role in reducing transmission. Do what you can to improve ventilation whenever possible.
Partnership Regional Co-ordinator, London & South East England