Sing Ireland Welcomes the Gradual Return of Singing Groups 03/09/2021

Sing Ireland warmly welcomes the inclusion of group singing in the roadmap announced by the Irish Government on 31st August, 2021. We acknowledge the patience and strength of the group singing sector over the past eighteen months and it is with heartened anticipation that we look to the next months and to the return of group singing.

The number of Irish people who regularly sing in choirs and singing groups is significant. Research from the EU Culture Programme reports that over 229,000 people are involved in group singing in Ireland and this is an activity from which so many in Irish society derive enormous well-being, social and health benefits. Sing Ireland is excited and glad that the group singing sector can look to a gradual return to this joyous and life-affirming activity.

In considering the ways that singing groups can return it is essential that the health and well-being of singers/choristers, conductors, accompanists, and their families takes precedence. Each singing group must make its own decision as to whether and when to start in-person rehearsals again. Should they decide to do so, Sing Ireland has identified the steps required to minimise risk and we would urge groups to take every precaution when planning. Covid-19 is still present and an exacerbation of the virus is possible but that risk has been reduced given the high level of vaccination of the Irish people.

When a choir or singing group decides to return to indoor or outdoor rehearsals, Sing Ireland would urge them to appoint a safety co-ordinator/covid officer and to take precautions to ensure that singing is as safe as possible and that they are protecting themselves, others, those who are most vulnerable, and the wider community. A risk assessment and resulting mitigation measures should be undertaken before resuming physical meetings. In order to aid this return, Sing Ireland has launched a Covid safety online course that will give choirs the tools to ensure that they have considered all of the necessary safety measures this is available HERE. An updated risk assessment document is available HERE

Sing Ireland appreciates that there will inevitably be different comfort levels amongst singers as they look to return to their choirs and singing groups. It will be important for the sector that singing groups cater to the most concerned singers in their groups so that all who wish to return to singing can do so in a safe and supportive environment.

The following information and guidelines are taken from HERE

For LIVE EVENTS (e.g. concerts/performances)

Currently permitted (with protective measures)

- the numbers permitted at outdoor organised events have 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

From 6th September (with protective measures)

Organised outdoor events and mass gatherings can take place with capacity limits of 75% of venue capacity where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months), or accompanied minors (under 18), in line with sectoral guidance.

Organised indoor events and mass gatherings* can take place with capacity limits of 60% of venue capacity where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months), or accompanied minors (under 18), in line with sectoral guidance.

Where patrons have mixed immunity status, there will be no change to the current restrictions during September.

*Indoor events and mass gatherings includes conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions and large-scale business events involving external audiences, and bingo venues.

For indoor live music, drama, live entertainment and sporting events, the audience/spectators should be fully seated. Easing of capacity limit restrictions does not apply to large privately organised social events.

From 20th September (with protective measures)

Live Events- As above

For Group Activities (e.g. rehearsals)

Organised indoor group activities
Organised indoor group activities (sports, arts, culture, dance classes) can take place with capacity limits of 100 people (with appropriate protective measures) where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months), or accompanied minors (under 18).

Where patrons have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult leaders/teachers).

Multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures.

Number of pods will have regard to the size of the venue and substantial social distance between individual pods. For further information on pods please see HERE.

Organised outdoor group activities

Restrictions on outdoor group activities for participants will be removed.

Note, where applicable, spectator attendance will remain in line with regulations for events.

Protective Measures:

Protective measures have not as yet been fully defined. However, Sing Ireland has identified the risk mitigation measures that may be necessary and would recommend the below measures be considered by singing groups.

Protective measures may include risk mitigations including masks, social distance, hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation, one-way systems, information for contact tracing, and the appointment of a risk assessment or covid officer.

A new facet of the latest guidance that groups will need to be aware of if they return to indoor group activities, is they will be required to check vaccine and immunity status as different regulations apply to fully vaccinated/recovered groups and those with mixed immunity. Information on checking vaccine and recovery certs can be found HERE

NOTE: you cannot ask an individual to provide information about their immunity status prior to arriving at an activity due to GDPR regulations. Using the covid cert checker retains no information.

22nd October (Subject to public health guidance)

  • requirements for physical distancing to be removed
  • requirements for mask wearing outdoors and in indoor private settings to be removed
  • limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities to be removed
  • certification of vaccination, immunity or testing as a prerequisite for access to, or engagement in, any activities or events (with exception of international travel) to be removed