Restrictions on singing may be eased

RESTRICTIONS on singing which mean many choirs, bands and groups still cannot perform together and young children cannot sing in school could soon be relaxed, the States heard yesterday.

Deputy Richard Renouf
Deputy Richard Renouf

However, Health Minister Richard Renouf has warned that any change in guidance would need to be balanced against the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

Deputy Renouf said new advice on singing issued by the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on 4 September was being considered by the Government of Jersey.

And he said that a separate piece of work was under way to hopefully allow singing in early years and primary school settings soon.

Although singing and the use of woodwind or brass instruments in lessons or performances by the general public remain ‘strongly’ discouraged, new guidelines introduced earlier this month allow for these types of music in schools and colleges.

Teachers in schools and nurseries, however, are not allowed to sing with children during learning and playtime.

Answering a question in the States from Deputy John Le Bailly yesterday, Deputy Renouf said: ‘We are considering these recommendations and have commenced a review of our guidance to identify potential ways of easing the existing restrictions on singing in the lowest-risk scenarios.’

Asked about a timescale for the work, the minister said he knew it was a ‘concern to many people’ and the work was being done as ‘quickly as possible’. However, he refused to be drawn on a specific date by which the guidance may change as he said he did not want to rush consultation with interested parties.

‘We are working as quickly as we can to get this in place,’ he said. ‘It is finding that balance and recognising the therapeutic effects of singing and the pleasure it gives to so many people but also balancing it against the risk of spreading infections – we are working on it very hard.’

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