Communal singing could resume in England's churches by June 21, according to the government minister who oversees faith.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Greenhalgh pinpointed the June date as the earliest possible time for congregations to be permitted to sing hymns:
"I'm very hopeful then that we will be able to return to singing. It is of course quite strange to go through a service and not be able to sing. It's an integral part of an act of worship, really," he said in an interview with the paper.
Communal singing is currently prohibited except for a handful of singers, if deemed an essential part of worship.
Lord Greenhalgh, who's Catholic, added that he expected some online services, launched as a result of the pandemic, to continue but said he valued attending in-person and hoped in the coming months that church services would resemble more closely those held prior to the pandemic.
"My personal view is that nothing beats being in a place of worship and praying and just having that time to think about all the things that you want to think about, as well as participating in a structured service," he said.
When asked when church weddings with larger numbers would be permitted he said June 21 would also be the earliest date "but that's not a guarantee."
June 21 is the date Boris Johnson cited as the projected date for no attendance limits on weddings and funerals. It is also the date when large venues such as nightclubs could re-open dependent on coronavirus rates continuing to fall.