Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statements yesterday (22 September), Brass Bands England (BBE) can confirm that the clarification received from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over exactly how this new legislation will affect brass bands in England is in in line with the official Government advice.
Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do and the relevant paragraph, 3.18, reads as follows: ‘Can I go to my hobby club / amateur musical group / other leisure activity?
It is against the law to gather in groups of more than 6, where people are from different households or support bubbles. Some activities - such as those organised for under-18s - are exempt. In a COVID-19 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 groups of more than 6 at any time.
If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.’
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
BBE’s Chief Executive Officer, Kenny Crookston, commented: “We would like to reiterate that being allowed by law to hold rehearsals is no recommendation that bands should actually do so. 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 team members will be available from 6.00-8.00pm on Thursday (24th) to discuss any concerns bands may have over Covid-19 mitigation and offer advice on how to proceed as safely as possible. This session is free of charge and open to all banding organisations, and those wishing to attend can sign up on this link