The Welsh Government has published guidance on carol-singing and traditions such as plygain traditional Welsh carols and calennig and Mari Lwyd at the New Year. It covers singing beyond formal worship, but the two key paragraphs regarding worship are as follows:
“Carol services in places of worship can take place subject to the capacity of the building defined by risk assessment and subject to face coverings being worn and 2m physical distancing being in place between household groups. This can include performance by a choir and/or musicians but congregational singing should be avoided. It is worth noting that those taking part in such a service may not be regular attendees at a place of worship so the responsibility of explaining the behaviour expected of those attending including not joining in the singing falls to the organisers of the place of worship. Service organisers may wish to consider ticket only admission to ensure capacity numbers are not exceeded and provide the facility to explain requirements in advance.”
“Carol services, or singing, can take place outdoors as an organised event. Whether that be by a faith group or other institution. These events are subject to a cap of 30 people including performers but not the organisers of the event nor to include children under 11. These events can involve communal singing by all attending whether they form part of an organised singing group or not. Reasonable control should be secured for the space in which the event takes place to ensure that the numbers cap can be maintained and that all participants can maintain the 2 metres physical distancing with those outside their own households or extended households. Efforts should be made to ensure others do not gather thereby extending the numbers in close proximity. If the organisers think they will have difficulty retaining the cap of 30 people because other members of the public may wish to join in, then they should not hold the event.”
For carol services, wind instruments may be used under very strict conditions:
“Musicians may accompany a singing group both indoors and outdoors. This may include wind instruments, provided good ventilation is in place and there is a full 2 metres physical distance kept free around each musician, including their respective instruments.”
Nothing in the guidance changes the existing legal regulations, but it brings together information which was previously dispersed and includes useful guidance on drawing up a risk assessment for an event of this kind, so organisers should read the guidance as a whole.
Having said this, the Welsh Government reminds everyone that the health situation in Wales is currently very serious and that all risk assessments should begin by asking the question, Given the inherent risks involved do I need to engage in this activity at all? Are there safer alternatives such as broadcast?
[With our grateful thanks to the Revd Gethin Rhys of Cytûn, from whom this has been plagiarised!]