MASTER OF HIS TRADE - Remembering Allan Littlemore

Issue 6082

COVID ROADMAP - Optimism at route out of restrictions

COMPOSER CAST - Christopher Bond meets Naomi Styles

Roadmap back to banding in England revealed

Tuesday 23 February, 2021

Following almost a year of on-off lockdowns, bands in England are one step closer to resuming their activities after the unveiling of the UK government’s roadmap out of COVID restrictions.

The Prime Minister addressed parliament on February 22 and delivered a press conference later that day, setting out plans to gradually relax restrictions – now Brass Bands England has confirmed how brass band activity will fit into the proposed schedule. Dates remain conditional and the proposed timetable provides ‘no earlier than’ dates and various stages at five-week intervals to allow the government and health experts time to assess the impact of the previous step and provide a week’s notice before changes occur.

At the beginning of step one, which will see pupils return to schools nationwide, there will be no change to the current guidelines that prevent bands rehearsing or performing. In the second phase of step one, not before March 29, the ‘rule of six or two households’ will apply outdoors, making small ensemble rehearsal possible in these groups.

During step two, no earlier than April 12, all children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity regardless of circumstance. Social distancing will be required and BBE will publish guidance when the details of requirements are available.

Non-professional activity will be able to resume during step three, which is planned to happen no earlier than May 17. This will be in line with social contact rules indoors and outdoors, as was the case previously.

During step three, no earlier than May 17, COVID-secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits. This will include:

●      Controlled socially distanced indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will socially distanced outdoor events with a capacity of either 50 per cent or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
●      Special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

Step four, no earlier than June 21, will enable large events to take place, including theatre performances, above the step three capacity restrictions, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.

Before taking each step, the government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates are all contingent on the data and subject to change.

BBE will continue to update its guidance as regulations are updated and can be found at the BBE website on resuming activities including example risk assessments.