COVID-19 Information

Risk Assessment Shortcut

Current Government Guidance

Arts Council NI
From “In the Bubble of our Making: Reopening the Arts in Northern Ireland (p30)”

December 2020

REVISION OF GUIDANCE ON SINGING AND PLAYING BRASS/WIND INSTRUMENTS WITH OTHERS

The Arts Council guidance is revised to reflect the current position taken in England – where the guidance has been updated to take account of the findings in Aerosol and droplet generation from singing, wind instruments (SWI) and performance activities – 13 August 2020 (publishing.service.gov.uk) and Public Health England’s recently published COVID-19: suggested principles of safer singing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

On that basis the core points when playing brass/wind would be the same as for any other instrument and would include:

  • Observing social distancing at all times whilst playing.
  • Group size would be governed by the regulations in place at the time.
  • For professionals (i.e. for work purposes) where social distancing is not possible, using fixed teams which are positioned socially distanced from any other fixed team or anyone else. – Note that this fixed team approach is not recommended in non-professional environments unless all the members of the fixed team are part of the same household or support bubble. It is also unlikely that this fixed team approach will be feasible where professional performers work with more than one group or organisation simultaneously.
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Playing outdoors wherever possible.
  • If playing indoors, limiting the numbers to account for ventilation of the space and the ability to social distance.
  • Considering using screens or barriers in addition to social distancing.

For singing, professional and non-professional, the guidance would adopt the suggested principles of safer singing – link above – the core points of which would be

  • people with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or who are known to have been in recent contact with others who have COVID-19, do not participate in singing or attend singing events.
  • Singing takes place only in larger well-ventilated spaces, or outdoors.
  • Performance or rehearsal is for limited periods of time at a reduced level of loudness, using microphones for amplification if available.
  • Maximum group size would be governed by the regulations in place at the time and Limited numbers of people sing together.
  • Singers are spaced at least 2 metres apart in all directions

Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance

From: Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance: what the restrictions mean for you | nidirect

Indoor gatherings

Up to 15 people can meet indoors, except in someone’s home, or in a static caravan or self-catering holiday home.

You may not organise, operate or participate in an indoor gathering which consists of more than 15 people.

Outdoor gatherings

Up to 15 people can meet outdoors, but you should maintain social distancing by being at least two metres apart, as well as good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.

The limit for outdoor gatherings does not apply to gatherings where that gathering has a recognised person responsible for organising or operating the gathering, however a maximum number limit of 500 applies.

An outdoor gathering can be organised or operated for a particular nature, including:

  • for cultural, entertainment, recreational, outdoor sports, social, community, educational, work, legal, religious or political purposes 

The organiser must have carried out a risk assessment which meets the requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 and take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

A person responsible for organising or operating a gathering must, if requested to do so by a relevant person, provide to that relevant person a copy of the risk assessment and an account of the reasonable measures taken as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 24 hours of the request.

COVID-19 measures Q&A from 11 December – Executive Office

From: Covid-19 measures from 11 December – Questions and Answers | The Executive Office

Are outdoor seasonal band performances or carol services permitted?From 11 December, outdoor band rehearsals and outdoor performances, including live singing, are permitted, subject to a risk assessment if more than 15 people are participating, and measures are in place to limit risk of virus transmission. There is an upper limit of 500 people attending for outdoor gatherings. Public health and Social distancing guidance should also be adhered to. It should be noted that live music is still prohibited in licensed venues. Indoor events can take place but are limited to a maximum of 15 people.

Brass Band League NI Advice

The BBL would like to thank Brass Bands England for allowing us to make use of their extensive guidance.

Risk Assessments

Although local government guidelines state that a risk assessment only has to be completed if more than 15 people are participating in an event, we recommend that a risk assessment is completed for each event where more than one player is participating.

Risk Assessment 1 – Up to 15 Outside

Risk Assessment 2 – Up to 15 Inside

Risk Assessment 3 – More than 15 Outside

Carolling

Please see below for some guidance on how to safely get out playing in the community:

  • Limit the number of people involved as far as possible (the red Salvation Army carol books used by many are deliberately written so that only 4 parts are required – see the front of the book).
  • No sharing of stands, music, instruments or mouth pieces.  Each individual should bring their own equipment along with a towel and waterproof bag to collect any “water”.
  • Maintain 2m social distancing. You should maintain social distancing between groups or households at all times.  Players should play back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible.
  • Consider the case for performing (or not) given the wider health context of your area with particular regard if vulnerable individuals are involved (remember attendance is not compulsory and it is up to each individual whether they are happy to play or not).
  • Getting there – people should not give lifts to anyone outside of their household or bubble
  • Playing outside – a risk assessment must be completed if more than 15 people are participating
  • Playing inside – indoor events are limited to a maximum of 15 people

In addition, we advise anyone collecting money not to handle the collection for 72 hours after and to use gloves when doing so to avoid the risk of transmission (the gloves should be binned or washed immediately after handling any money). We also recommend taking steps to show the public that safety is taken seriously by demonstrating measures taken such as use of bell covers which, whilst not necessary outdoors, can have a positive impact on public perception. We also recommend that you use floor marking to help manage spacing between players and also the general public.

Rehearsals

Rehearsing can now resume, but with significant safety requirements. The additional requirements are:

  • A face covering must be used at all times when not playing. This includes percussion while playing and conductors (who may choose to use a face visor for visibility of their face). 
  • Play outside where possible – a risk assessment must be completed if more than 15 people are participating
  • If indoors, ensure that rooms are ventilated by keeping windows and doors open. This may mean you need to remind members to arrive with suitable clothing as being cold does not remove this requirement. Please note indoor playing is limited to a maximum of 15 people.
  • Consider the case for performing (or not) given the wider health context of your area with particular regard if vulnerable individuals are involved (remember attendance is not compulsory and it is up to each individual whether they are happy to play or not).
  • Due to aerosol transmission it is important to limit the total number of individuals involved as much as possible.
  • Social distancing should be maintained at 2m. People should not engage in activities that may lead to social distancing being compromised. 
  • Additional requirements laid out, including the use of screens, are covered within the BBL risk assessments.  
  • No sharing of stands, music, instruments or mouth pieces.  Each individual should bring their own equipment along with a towel and waterproof bag to collect any “water”.

Useful Links

Health protection coronavirus restrictions regulations

Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance: restrictions for Christmas

Following the Science: A systematic literature review of studies surrounding singing and brass, woodwind and bagpipe playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investigation into the Release of Respiratory Aerosols by Brass Instruments and Mitigation Measures with Respect to Covid-19