There are reports the government is considering relaxing rules around congregational singing as lockdown measures start to ease in England and Wales.
In an email sent from the government to John Stevens, Head of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, the government announced they may allow small singing groups indoors and congregational singing outdoors from 29th March, although the final date is still subject to confirmation.
Under current coronavirus rules, congregational singing at church is not encouraged. It is recommended the number of those involved in leading worship is kept “as small as possible” and social distancing guidelines should be respected at all times.
Many church leaders have asked the government for clarity about the restrictions regarding singing. In the update, the government acknowledges this and says that discussions are “ongoing across Government” and that they “intend to provide more detail shortly”.
The update reads: “The current plan is to allow single small groups of singers to perform during an act of worship from [29th March].
“At the same time, we hope that congregations will be able to take part in singing in the grounds of a place of worship, observing the social distancing rules around attending groups and following the guidance on safer singing. As soon as we have confirmation, we will send through further details.”
The email also clarifies the restrictions around weddings. It confirms that only weddings qualifying as “exceptional circumstances” can take place before 29th March, which includes instances where “one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.”
There had previously been confusion as to whether this requirement had been removed on 8th March; however, the government has now clarified it will continue until 29th March.
Weddings can currently take place with up to six attendees, excluding those working at the event. The cap on guests will continue after the 29th March but the “exceptional circumstances” prerequisite will no longer apply.