Group Singing In Ireland: With Hope, We Look To The Future

As has been the case over the past 15 months, Sing Ireland has been closely following the latest guidelines and announcements from the Government in relation to the easing of pandemic restrictions. We have also sought regular clarifications and made representations to Government on behalf of the sector.

Many groups may wonder what the latest announcement of restrictions from the Irish Government means for them and we seek to clarify that here. Sing Ireland has also been following the restrictions and recommendations in Northern Ireland and given that the two jurisdictions are at different stages with regard to their vaccination programmes, the advice will be different. This statement speaks to the most recent announcements from the Republic of Ireland. The most recent information regarding Northern Ireland can be found HERE

The rollout of the vaccination programme is gathering pace and has been progressing well. Therefore choirs and singing groups can look to a careful return to group singing and choral activity in the next months. Sing Ireland is hopeful but recommends that singing groups take a slow and considered approach to gathering for rehearsals. Ireland has not had a spreading event that relates to choral activity to this point and this is something we know we can maintain once careful risk assessments are undertaken.

For the Republic of Ireland the following applies:

From 7th June

No indoor events

Outdoor organised events should

-not exceed 100 where the event is held in not a relevant venue

- not exceed 200 where the event is held, or to be held, in a relevant venue with a minimum accredited capacity of 5,000

Organised Outdoor Events (Controlled Environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager) that are events held, or to be held, for social, recreational, exercise, cultural, entertainment or community reasons, but does not include –
(a) an event to be held in a dwelling,
(b) a wedding reception,
(c) a sporting event,
(d) a training event, or
(e) a dance rehearsal event;

A relevant venue is a fixed or temporary venue, including a stadium, arena, grandstand, park, pitch or golf course, that would, but for the restrictions on attendance at events provided for by these Regulation, be capable of accommodating at least 5,000 persons outdoors;

-Updated guidance has been issued for religious services HERE

From 5th July (Subject to Public Health Guidelines at the time)

- the numbers permitted at outdoor organised events can further increase to a maximum of 200 for the majority of venues, with a maximum of 500 for outdoor stadia/venues with a minimum accredited capacity of 5,000

Sing Ireland will continue to update the situation as we learn more.

See the full Government guidance here.

Risk Assessment and Mitigations

Sing Ireland urges choirs and singing groups to consider how they can plan for a cautious restart of group singing, when it is possible to do so. However, each group must take ownership of whether to start in-person rehearsals again and should they decide to do so, they must minimise risk and take every precaution when planning. Covid-19 is still present and an exacerbation of the virus is possible.

Sing Ireland urges caution and to assess risk on an individual choir or singing group basis. Should a choir or singing group decide to return to rehearsals, Sing Ireland would urge them to appoint a risk assessment officer and follow measures and precautions to ensure that singing is as safe as possible and that they are protecting those who are most vulnerable. A risk assessment and resulting mitigation measures should be undertaken before resuming physical meetings.

Sing Ireland has also issued risk assessment and resulting risk mitigation suggestions in the following document. However, the clarifications that Sing Ireland sought have made it clear that a risk assessment or COVID officer must be appointed by singing groups ahead of any return to face to face meetings. Risk assessment and resulting risk mitigation measures must also be undertaken and is an individual responsibility for each group.

Please find important risk assessment suggestions and questions from Sing Ireland HERE

‘PLANNING FOR YOUR SINGING GROUP IN UNCERTAIN TIMES’ is a document by Sing Ireland to assist you in planning for a return looking at your structure and goals

Information Webinars and More

On 11th May 2021, Sing Ireland hosted a webinar to discuss and explore how choirs and singing groups will be able to return to rehearsing and performing in the same room, bringing some insight from groups that have been able to get back together from other nations across the globe. Sing Ireland was joined by Lyn Williams from the Gondwana Choirs in Australia and Thomas Caplin a conductor, professor and singer from Norway/Sweden. You can view the webinar recording here.

You will also find many webinars, resources and statements on our website under the Covid-19 tab here.