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No Progress On Amateur Choir Restrictions in England

There has been no movement from the Government on their restrictions for amateur choirs in England, despite growing pressure from the MU and others. We’re calling on members to sign the petition to have the matter debated in parliament.

Photo ofIsabelle Gutierrez
By Isabelle Gutierrez Published: 02 June 2021 | 3:20 PM
Abstract style photo of a blurred chour, who appear to be dressed in black tie.
We have set out the financial, and the mental health and wellbeing, benefits of permitting such choirs to gather in greater numbers. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Despite several approaches to DCMS regarding the current restrictions placed on amateur choirs – as we previously reported on – there has been no change in the Government’s position on the matter. This means that restrictions continue to only allow one single group of six singers indoors.

The ultimate decision on any such changes lies with the Cabinet Office, and we have been informed that a backtrack on the current position is highly unlikely regardless of the arguments we put forward.

We have set out the financial, and the mental health and wellbeing, benefits of permitting such choirs to gather in greater numbers, which we believe can be done safely, provided there is sufficient venue capacity and the relevant risk assessments have been completed. But the government does not seem to appreciate the significance of the matter to us and our members.

Renowned voice doctor, Dr Declan Costello, has supported our ask, writing to Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, asking for the scientific evidence to be published on which the decision to limit amateur choirs to groups of just six indoors was based.

Dr Costello was involved in original research into the aerosols produced by singing, talking and shouting in 2020, which ultimately resulted in the government permitting amateur choirs to gather indoors in larger numbers, and is concerned that the research has simply been ignored when making decisions for step 3 of the government’s Spring Roadmap. Dr Costello has tweeted his letter which you can read on his twitter feed.

Take action now

A petition to parliament has gained over 50,000 signatures, meaning the government are required to respond.

At the time of writing, they were yet to do so. However, if the petition gains 100,000 signatures the matter will be debated in parliament. If you haven’t done so already, please visit the parliament webpage and add your name to the petition.

Sign the petition

In the meantime we will continue to press the government on this directly.

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Photograph of Andi Hopgood sat at the front of a lecture hall, talking into a microphone. Behind her, a large screen displays the MU logo.

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As the Government continues to restrict the meeting and rehearsing of amateur choirs in England, jazz vocalist, musician and teacher Andi Hopgood discusses why amateur choirs are so essential – from their benefits to wellbeing to the employment they provide.

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