Brass Bands England Covid update
Brass Bands England has today (9 April) received confirmation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on what brass band activity will be possible as planned from next Monday (12 April).
As previously reported by BBE, the Government has confirmed the guidance that will be in place under Stage 2 of the roadmap from 12 April 2021. Non-professional activity will be permitted in groups of up to six, or a maximum of two households, and will only be permitted outdoors, as per the previous ‘rule of six’ regulations. A group comprising up to two households, or if an exemption applies (e.g. those within the same support bubble), may include more than six people. If playing in these settings, social distancing must still be maintained, including maintaining a 2m spacing between participants.
It was also reconfirmed that at this stage there is no provision to allow multiple groups of six to engage in activity in the same location, as was the case in some previous tiers. Indoor non-professional performing arts activity is not currently permitted in any setting. The guidance defines non-professionals as those participating in the performing arts other than for work purposes. This precludes those who work as professional musicians from participation in settings they are not being paid their professional rate for.
Before undertaking non-professional performing arts activity, you should consider the case for proceeding (or not) based on any restrictions in your area, the risk involved in the activity, location and the number and health of participants, particularly if vulnerable individuals are involved.
BBE has previously published guidance and advice that covers rehearsals in groups of six, which is available on our Covid-19 Guidance for Brass Bands page and activity should be operated under the provisions laid out in Risk Assessment No.1. This guidance will be updated shortly.
The Department for Education has also published guidance for youth groups in out-of-school settings. This guidance states that, from 12 April 2021, activity can be provided as outdoor or indoor provision to all children, without restrictions on the purpose for which they may attend. Parents should be encouraged to limit the number of out-of-school settings children are sent to, preferably to one.
All indoor activities should be considered if they can be carried out safely and you should consider whether you can run them more safely outside instead, as the risk of transmission is lower outdoors.
To reduce the risk of transmission, you should also aim to minimise mixing between children as far as possible. You should keep children inconsistent groups or ‘bubbles’, consider whether children can be kept in the same bubble as they are in during the school day in order to minimise mixing between different children.
Where it is not possible to group children in the same bubble as they are in during the school day, you should keep them in small groups of no more than 15 children and at least one staff member; and where possible, with the same children each time they attend. Further steps that can be taken to minimise the risk of mixing between children would include keeping children from the same school together, or working with parents and carers to keep siblings from the same household together. Multiple groups of up to 15 may still occupy a single space but must be managed as separate groups and not allowed to mingle. BBE recommends within our risk assessment to treat all attendees as individual groups of 1 to simplify the arrangements in place.
In outdoor groups there is no limit on the number of attendees however the same measures to minimise mixing should be implemented as indoors.
BBE has published guidance for larger rehearsals on our Covid-19 Guidance for Brass Bands page and bands should use Risk Assessment 3 for outdoors and 4 when indoors, although there are some different requirements for youth settings as shown below.
The key measures that every youth band should have in place are:
Face masks should be worn by all children in Year 7 or higher.
Prevent those self-isolating from attending.
Encouraging staff and children to clean their hands thoroughly and more often - soap or hand sanitiser should be readily available.
Ensuring good respiratory hygiene for everyone by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
Cleaning frequently touched surfaces more than usual.
Increased cleaning of toilets and washrooms.
Using social distancing to reduce contact and mixing between groups of children.
Keeping children in the same bubbles they are in during the school day where possible, or otherwise in small, consistent groups.
Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.
Promoting and engaging with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Managing and reporting confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Containing any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
Full guidance for out-of-school settings can be found in the Government's Guidance for Parents and Carers of Children Attending Out of School Settings.
When can brass bands play again? Live Performances & events
Live performances should not take place at this time. The intention is that these will be permitted from Step 3 of the roadmap (no earlier than 17 May). This is subject to review and further guidance will be provided in advance of Step 3.
Guidance for charity-organised activity will be published on 12 April, but this will apply to events such as village fetes and not regular activity, such as rehearsals, at this point.
When can bands rehearse again?
BBE has previously published guidance for where bands fit into the Government’s roadmap for removing restrictions.
As yet this guidance does not override anything else in this plan, although further updates are expected in due course. This means that full band rehearsals are not expected before 12 April for youth bands and 17 May for those involving adults, both with social distancing in place. Social distancing restrictions are not expected to be lifted until 21 June at the earliest.
The timings outlined above are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates are all contingent on the data and subject to change.
Brass Bands England Covid-19 guidance
BBE will continue to update its guidance as regulations are updated and this can be found on our Covid-19 Guidance for Brass Bands page with advice for resuming activities, including example risk assessments. We thank NewMoon Insurance Services, for their sponsorship of the BBE Covid advice through support of the Brass Band Emergency Fund. Anyone wishing to support the Fund can do so here via the Brass Bands Emergency Fund Crowdfunder page and bands wishing to apply for support should contact BBE on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Government’s performing arts guidance can be found on the Government website.