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FAQs on the Easing of Covid-19 Restrictions in England

Following recent changes to Government guidance in England, musicians have been contacting us with their questions about how the changes may apply to them.

Published: 19 August 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
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Ask your question as part of the next #AskTheMU Q&A with MU Deputy General Secretary Naomi Pohl on Monday 24 August. Photo: Shuttertock

We’ve put together an FAQ featuring questions from members and non-members alike. These FAQs were last updated on Thursday 27 August. See our FAQs on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions page for our latest guidance.

If you have a question that isn’t answered below, and you are an MU member, please contact your MU Regional Office for advice and assistance.

If you’re not a member, you can still ask your question as part of the next #AskTheMU Q&A. Keep an eye out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for details.

Live performance

Is live music allowed in pubs and bars?

Yes - the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has confirmed that live music can take place in pubs and bars as long as the Government’s Performing Arts guidelines are followed.

Can indoor live performances take place everywhere?

No - indoor live performances are still not permitted in areas of local lockdown in England, in nightclubs in England, or anywhere in the devolved Nations. We will update members as this changes.

Can amateur groups start rehearsing and performing again?

Yes – the Government’s Performing Arts guidance applies to both professionals and non-professionals.

The guidance confirms there are no set limits on the numbers who can be involved in planned non-professional activity taking place outside and/or in a Covid-secure venue, but that organisations must ensure an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment is carried out and that the number of individuals involved are able to be socially distanced at all times.

Organisers should review the guidance in full and ensure any planned activity is compliant before it goes ahead.

How are ‘professional’ and ‘non-professional’ musicians defined in the Government's Performing Arts guidance?

‘Professional’ musicians are defined as those who are performing for work purposes.

Can choirs begin again?

Yes. Both professional and non-professional choirs can rehearse and perform provided the Performing Arts guidance is adhered to.

What is the current guidance for brass bands?

As with choirs, both professional and non-professional brass bands can rehearse and perform provided the Performing Arts guidance is followed.

What is the guidance for charity concerts?

Both professional and non-professional groups can perform at charity concerts now, provided the Government's Performing Arts guidance is followed.

Section 3 of the guidance is specifically dedicated to 'Managing Performances' and deals with topics like audience management, venue capacity, toilet facilities, staging, entrances and exits. Concert organisers should ensure a full COVID-19 risk assessment is completed in relation to the event and that the relevant guidance is adhered to.

Music Education

Can private woodwind lessons start in a medium sized living room?

Yes, members can resume their face to face teaching as long as the other criteria are satisfied.

Is there an update to the advice on the MU website about teaching?

See our Music Teaching During the Outbreak page for our latest health and safety advice for teachers.

Singing, wind and brass instruments

Where can I find the research about singing, wind and brass instruments?

Information about the research is included in the Introduction section of the Government’s Performing Arts guidelines.

What does "cumulative aerosol transmission" mean?

In relation to the transmission of Covid-19, it means the number of aerosol particles existent in a given space depending on several factors.

These factors include:

  • The volume of the space
  • The number of individuals inhabiting that space
  • The activities those individuals are undertaking (and more specific measures - for instance with brass playing, the volume of performance, the specific instrument-type, the pitch of notes played)
  • The length of time they have inhabited that space
  • The ventilation system in place within that space

DCMS has said that the cumulative aerosol transmission from brass and woodwind playing is no greater than from just breathing or speaking – which is why the Government guidance on this has changed.

We’re keeping our Covid-19 advice updated as new information comes in. Get specific advice on your areas of work in our dedicated Coronavirus Advice Hub.

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