Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on 12 October, Brass Bands England (BBE) has now received clarification from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over exactly how this new three-tier legislation will affect brass bands in England.
Full details of the three-tier Covid-19 alert system and how these affect people in each part of the country can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-levels-what-you-need-to-know
In relation to brass banding activity, organisations may continue to meet in accordance with the social-distancing conditions announced by BBE on 23 September following the most recent Government announcement, which states: ‘...in a COVID-secure venue or public outdoor place, non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups, can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between separate and distinct groups of no more than 6 (In Medium areas and outdoors) or individual households (in High and Very High areas). If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups (depending on Local Covid Alert Level restrictions) - including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising - then such non-professional activity should not take place. See Local Covid Alert Level guidance (Medium, High, Very High) for more details on group size.’
Full details of this announcement can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts
Under the current guidance, in order to run a Covid-secure rehearsal, bands must produce and follow a risk assessment to cover all aspects of the rehearsal process, from members’ arrival until they leave, to ensure social distancing throughout and making sure ‘mingling’ does not occur throughout the group. Example risk assessments are available from BBEs advice and resources page at https://www.bbe.org.uk/what-we-do/covid-19-advice-guidance-and-resources
BBE’s Chief Executive Officer, Kenny Crookston, commented: “We have been inundated with enquiries from members regarding the new three-tier Covid-19 alert system. It is hoped that this will help to bring some clarity to the situation, which was also among the Government’s intentions when it introduced this strategy. This still leaves choices open for bands, but we would reiterate that safety of band members, their families and the general public remains of paramount importance and we firmly recommend that those who do indulge in collective banding activity follow guidelines previously published by BBE in conjunction with the DCMS and that they pay close attention to the risk assessments published on the BBE website.”
BBE is currently working on a risk assessment for public performances and hopes that have that available in the next few weeks.
If anyone has questions on restarting or continuing banding activities, then please contact BBE on 01226 771015 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls so please be assured we will get back to you but it may take us some time. Our web resources might be able to help you sooner.