We had pinned our hopes on the “Road Map”. We were deep into preparation for a concert – our 40th Anniversary Concert, no less – and the government dropped its bombshell.
Twenty four hours after the country had moved into Step 3, with its promise of being able to meet in person, the government announced that, despite the regulations telling us that “Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen” – that meant everyone except amateur choirs.
Are we upset? Yes. Are we angry? Yes.
Our local Members of Parliament have been bombarded with our expressions of displeasure and have replied only with the most anodyne of pre-prepared statements.
But you can’t keep the Dorian Singers down. We are re-scheduling the concert for September – Saturday 25th September, to be precise. Obviously, this could change again – we’re keeping a very close eye on the regulations as they change, even though it’s like trying to nail jelly to a wall. We are determined, though, that we will celebrate our 40th Anniversary, and in style.
If you are interested, this was the official response from the MP for Suffolk Coastal:
As you will be aware, an amateur choir of up to 6 people can now sing indoors and outdoors amateur singers can perform or rehearse in groups of 30.
I recognise that you may wish to see this number rise or to allow activities to take place with multiple permitted groups and I understand that this updated guidance may be disappointing. As you may appreciate, the Government is taking decisions based on the advice of public health experts. There is strong public scientific evidence indicating that singing loudly increases aerosol and thus increases the risk of coronavirus transmission, particularly indoors.
A New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) assessment of transmission of Covid-19 in singing and music events found evidence to suggest that singing can produce more aerosols than normal talking or breathing. Singing for any appreciable amount of time therefore may present a risk for the creation of infectious aerosols and allow for infection transmission.
As with any activity, the cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means that the more people are involved, the higher the risk of transmission. Therefore, it is important to limit the total number of individuals involved in singing as far as possible and reduce the possibility of large-scale transmission events.
Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey MP