Local MP Luke Pollard has called for evidence on indoor singing and Covid-19 transmission to be reviewed following a last-minute announcement from the Government.
After many months of being unable to sing together, choirs were looking forward to restarting rehearsals on Monday 17th May. However, the Government updated the Performing Arts guidance the very next day. It confirmed that ‘non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people’.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“Hundreds of people enjoy singing in Plymouth’s choirs and many of them have got in touch with me recently to express their disappointment. On Friday I held an online meeting with local choir directors to discuss the issues that the Government’s U-turn has raised.
“Research published last year concluded that singing is no more dangerous in terms of Covid-19 transmission than speaking loudly or physical exercise. It makes little sense to me to limit choirs to six people whilst making organised indoor sports exempt from the gathering limits.
“The Government ought to publish the evidence that was used as the basis for this seemingly confusing and contradictory decision. Until that information is made public, I can understand why choirs are calling for the Government to bring singing in line with the guidance for indoor organised sport. I look forward to hearing music in our community halls, places of worship and schools as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Ryan Jenkins and David Walters, co-directors of Plymouth’s North Prospect Community Choir and Blokes Who Sing, said that the guidance has been “grossly mismanaged” by the Government. They added:
“We were due to welcome singers back to choir rehearsals as well as launch a new choir, but instead had to cancel with days to spare. As you can imagine, we are incredibly angry, as are many more of our choir colleagues across England.
“Choirs have prepared for the return with extensive risk assessments and mitigations. However, the Government now tells us this is not safe enough – although it would be fine for us to go to the pub, gym, or travel abroad to an amber list country.”