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When can brass bands rehearse again? Implications for banding as Covid restrictions diminish

We have been working in conjunction with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to explain how brass band activity is planned to fit into the proposed roadmap for the removal of Covid restrictions in the coming weeks and months. The proposed timetable has been set out by the Prime Minister in his Covid-19 Reponse - Spring 2021 document, which presents the step-by-step roadmap to reopening in England. 

Brass Bands England Covid-19 Update

It should be noted that all dates contained in this update remain conditional and the proposed timetable provides ‘no earlier than’ dates and various stages at five-week intervals. This is to allow the government and health experts time to assess the impact of the previous step and provide a week’s notice before changes occur.

At the beginning of Step 1, which will see pupils return to schools nationwide, there will be no change to the current guidelines that prevent bands rehearsing or performing. In the second phase of Step 1, not before 29 March, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply outdoors, it is not yet clear if this will allow small ensemble rehearsals to be possible in these groups.

During Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, all children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity regardless of circumstance. Social Distancing will be required and BBE will publish guidance when the details of requirements are available. 

When can bands rehearse again?

But when will brass bands be able to play again? Non-professional activity will be able to resume during Step 3, which is planned to happen no earlier than 17 May. This will be in line with social contact rules indoors and outdoors as was the case previously and is currently set out on the Brass Bands England Covid advice page

During Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, COVID-secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits. This will include:

  • Controlled socially distanced indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will socially distanced outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.

  • Special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

Step 4, no earlier than 21 June, will enable large events to take place, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.

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 Risk Assessments

BBE will continue to update its guidance as regulations are updated and can be found on our Covid-19 guidance and resources, including example risk assesments. 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 via the Crowdfunding page and bands wishing to apply for support from the fund should contact BBE on