The UK government has reduced the number of people being able to meet socially in a group to 6, from 14 September. However, there is still an open question as to whether music groups would be affected by this or not.
Currently, the list of exemptions from this rule includes sports (indoor and outdoor) and youth activities, but not other community activities, such as music groups.
We have been given to understand that the guidance will be updated by 14 September, so there is a small chance to influence it.
If you feel strongly that music groups should be exempt from the rule of 6, as exercise classes are, then you should write to your MP without delay asking that community arts/community music groups, organised by businesses and charitable organisations, in controlled settings should be exempt from the restrictions on social gatherings, in the same way that sporting and youth activities are.
Here are some of the arguments you might wish to put forward:
- Research has now been undertaken which shows that musical activities are no more dangerous than loud speaking in close proximity; effective mitigations are therefore now possible, in terms of ventilation, face coverings, rigorous 2m social distancing etc.
- Musical group activity creates some of the same benefits as sporting activity does, e.g. on respiratory and immune systems, helping many people who cannot undertake other forms of exercise
- The mental health benefits of group music activity are now proven beyond doubt and are crucial at this time when the nation is reeling from 6 months of pandemic and the prospect of renewed restrictions in the winter, combined with difficult economic prospects; restricting groups again right now would deal a further blow to the mental health of millions across the UK who participate in such activity
- This is formal activity in strictly controlled settings, rigorously risk assessed by a committee of people or similar, or a business owner, responsible for the well-being of participants, undertaken only with risk mitigations in place and enforced.