Mainly (but not exclusively) a capella

Mixed Blessings rehearsals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Establishment: Mixed Blessings choirAssessment by: Tom LeeDate: 06/09/20 
Review Date: ongoingApproved by:Date:

1. Context

Revised guidance for the Performing Arts was published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 14 August 2020, and further updated on 21st August 2020, confirming that non-professionals can now take part in singing activity, whilst keeping to the current social distancing guidelines.

  • This Risk Assessment is for Mixed Blessings rehearsals recommencing 9th September 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • This document has been prepared in line with the latest DCMS guidance and additional guidance from the Royal School of Church Music, the Association of British Choral Directors, and the Musicians’ Union
  • While the guidance is clear that choir rehearsals may now take place, recent research studies indicate that the cumulative aerosol transmission present during choir rehearsals is likely to create additional risk; this document is designed to mitigate this potential aggregate risk
  • We have some members in the NHS ‘clinically vulnerable’ category which means that they are at higher risk from COVID-19
  • The DCMS guidance states that ‘Organisations have a duty of care to volunteers and non-professionals to ensure as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety’
  • All Mixed Blessings members are required to read and abide by this document. It has been prepared to enable us to start rehearsing together again during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to minimise the risk of any one of us contracting or spreading the virus.

2. Purpose and usage of this document

  • Mixed Blessings is deemed to be a non-professional group ‘participating in performing arts other than for work purposes’
  • This document is designed to help Mixed Blessings rehearse safely during Stage Four of the DCMS roadmap for the return to performing arts: ‘Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)’
  • This risk assessment is for rehearsals without an audience
  • This risk assessment will be shared with members in line with government recommendations
  • his risk assessment will be published on the Mixed Blessings website in line with government recommendations
  • The information in this document is subject to change to ensure it remains in line with the latest government advice and any local lockdown rules.

3. Risk Assessment

Control Measures Residual
1. COVID-19
via a member
who is unwell
 HighPrevent those who are or might be unwell from attending rehearsals

Members must not attend rehearsal if they:
  • Have a high temperature
  • Have a new and persistent cough
  • Have loss of smell and/or taste
  • Have recently tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Are self-isolating
These requirements are to be sent to all members via WhatsApp / email and to be made available on the Mixed Blessings website.
Choir members are required to inform Tom or Jane Lee if they develop possible symptoms; Tom/Jane will then send out an anonymous ‘possible symptoms’ alert to other members via WhatsApp.
 2. Increased
risk of COVID-19 transmission through lack of social distancing
 HighMembers to observe social distancing at all times

During rehearsals
  • Singers are required to stand a minimum of 1m apart side-by-side (2m where possible) and 2m apart in front / behind
  • Conductor to wear a facemask at all times
  • Members from the same household / social bubble can sit together
  • A seating plan will be provided; we will adhere to this seating plan for the duration of the pandemic
  • For the first rehearsal (09/09/20) members will be shown to their seats in their individual households / bubbles
  • herever possible members will remain in their seats for the duration of the rehearsal, including any breaks
Outside rehearsals
  • Members are required to observe the latest government social distancing guidance outside the church immediately before / after rehearsals

3. Increased
risk of COVID-19 transmission through sharing
of items during rehearsals
MediumNo items to be shared during rehearsals 

No items are to be shared or handed around during rehearsals. Members are asked to bring with them their own personal items including:
  • Music
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Pencil
  • Drinking water
  • Throat sweets
  • Cushion (if required)
These and other items are not to be handed round during rehearsals. When new music is handed out, the person handing it out will sanitise hands before and afterwards.
4. Increased
risk of COVID-19 transmission through lack of
or inadequate data for Test and Trace 
MB Members

Other church users

of the wider
MediumSet up a temporary data collection scheme so transmission of COVID-19 can be traced

The Government guidelines suggest a temporary record of participants to assist government Test and Trace requests
  • Tom / Jane Lee to take a record of attendance at each rehearsal
  • Choir members to agree to have names stored for 21 days
  • Choir members to agree to allow this data to be shared with Test and Trace
5. Increased
risk of COVID-19 transmission through poor sanitisation 
 MediumIncreased sanitisation measures

It is our responsibility to sanitise the areas of the church we use before and after use
  • Hand sanitiser will be provided at the rehearsal entry / exit point
  • Members to use hand sanitiser on entering / leaving rehearsals
  • Members to bring their own hand sanitiser with them
  • Tom / Jane Lee to wipe down pews and high-risk surfaces / touchpoints with anti-bacterial wipes before and after each rehearsal
  • We will bring our own keyboard to rehearsals to avoid us having to use the church piano or Clavinova; hand sanitiser will be available on the keyboard; anyone who plays the keyboard must hand sanitise before and afterwards
6. Increased
risk of COVID-19 transmission through excessive aerosol production 
MediumRestriction of aerosol production / spread

  • Members asked to avoid shouting during rehearsals
  • We will avoid singing fortissimo
  • Where possible we will leave the doors to the outside open during rehearsals to provide additional ventilation
  • Rehearsal duration will be decreased; we will aim to have rehearsals of between 60 and 90 minutes maximum