NZCF has published information and guidelines for choirs about how they may operate during Level 2. Below is a statement from Christine Argyle, Chief Executive, made on Tuesday 7 September. For the full statement and a link to an interview with Professor Michael Baker go to the NZCF website.
As you will know, most regions in New Zealand head into level 2 at midnight tonight, while Auckland remains at level 4 until Tuesday 14 September. Following yesterday’s announcement, we have updated our Guidelines for Choirs in Alert Levels 2 & 4, basing these on the Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidelines and further clarification on face coverings given by the Prime Minister at today’s briefing.
You will be aware that the Level 2 restrictions are different from those that were in place before, because of the higher levels of transmission associated with the Delta variant of Covid-19. Those differences, and how they affect choirs, are as follows:
- Rehearsals are limited to 50 people (previously 100 at Level 2)
- Scanning in with a Covid-19 QR code is now mandatory at rehearsals
- Face coverings are strongly encouraged (but are not mandatory for community clubs (eg, choirs) or faith-based worship groups)
Last week I spoke with epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker to find out what we might expect in a new Level 2, and whether the guidelines for choirs should be stricter than those permitted by the Ministry of Health. Interview with Professor Baker.
Some choirs may make face coverings a requirement at rehearsals in Level 2, while others may make it optional. NZCF strongly recommends the use of face coverings at Level 2. Studies such as the one reported in this short BBC video have shown that masks significantly reduce the spread of aerosols and droplets.
There are numerous websites with recommendations for masks for singers. NZCF is not yet in a position to recommend specific masks but here are a few articles and webpages that may be of interest:
Ultimately, it will be up to each choir to decide whether they wish to resume rehearsals at Level 2 or wait until we are in Level 1 with fewer restrictions. To a large extent, this will depend on the levels of comfort within the choir membership. We urge you to be patient, be flexible, be kind and keep the wellbeing of your singers at the heart of your decisions.