Small choirs will be allowed to perform at churches in England for Palm Sunday services and Easter, the Government has said.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said groups would be able to practise and perform inside places of worship if they are socially distanced and limited to “as few singers as possible”.
Under previous guidelines in England, only one person was allowed to sing or chant indoors when deemed “essential to an act of worship”, or a maximum of three people in “exceptional” circumstances.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Twitter that he was “pleased to have clarified guidance on choirs ahead of Easter services”.
Pleased to have clarified guidance on choirs, ahead of Easter services! 👇 https://t.co/5cSNtkvbcG— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) March 27, 2021
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said: “We are grateful to the Government for clarity on guidance for singing as we head into Holy Week and Easter.
“From Palm Sunday, congregations will be able to sing in the church grounds, and a small group of singers may now sing indoors.
“This will allow churches and cathedrals to plan their worship to help online and in-person congregations to mark the journey of the passion and resurrection – a journey of hope, while making local arrangements to ensure transmission risk is minimised.”
Sizes of congregations in England depend on the space available in the grounds, and religious authorities must conduct a risk assessment to ensure households can be socially distanced.
In Scotland, communal worship in a place of worship was permitted from Friday, with a maximum congregation of 50 people, even in areas under the highest Level 4 restrictions.