Wales: COVID-19 advice for musicians
Key dates for the music sector
On 18 June 2021, the First Minister for Wales confirmed that other than a few minor changes, rules would remain the same for a further four weeks to help combat the spread of the Delta variant. All future changes are subject to public health conditions remaining favourable.
In brief, some key dates which may affect musicians’ work include:
1 March: Wedding and civil ceremonies will be permitted in ‘approved premises’.
15 March: All primary school children and some other learners return to onsite learning, following the phased return which began on 22 February.
27 March: 'Stay-local' rules lifted and replaced by an all-Wales travel area. Outdoor children’s activities for under 18s will be allowed, but indoor activities should not take place. Self-contained holiday accommodation will reopen to members of the same household or support bubble.
12 April: Restrictions for travel into and out of Wales from the rest of the UK and Common Travel area will be lifted. All children and post-16 learners return to face-to-face learning. University students return to blended face-to-face and online learning. A small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people planned.
26 April: Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can take place. Wedding receptions can take place outdoors for up to 30 people at regulated premises.
3 May: Extended household will again allow two households to meet and have contact indoors. Supervised children’s indoor activities can recommence. Organised indoor activities for adults can recommence for up to 15 people.
17 May: Up to 30 people can take part in organised indoor activities and up to 50 people in organised outdoor activities. This includes wedding receptions and wakes. Entertainment venues, including theatres and concert halls can re-open.
27 May: All settings can re-open for live music performances. Please see details below.
7 June: Regulated events allowed outdoors with up to 10,000 people seated or up to 4,000 people standing (subject to risk assessment).
21 June: Wedding and civil partnership receptions or wakes organised by a business, can take place in indoor regulated premises. The number of people is limited by venue size and a risk assessment.
Last updated: 23 June 2021
Our understanding is that private face-to-face tuition is permitted indoors for both adults and children, with appropriate Covid-19 mitigations in place, including an up-to-date risk assessment.
Please refer to Welsh Government guidance where teaching in other people’s homes and the performing arts guidance for further information under section 3.22 about teaching in your own home, another home or a non-domestic setting.
Organised children's activities can resume indoors where supervised by appropriately qualified and trained individuals. There is no limit on the number of children and young children that can attend, but organisers should be mindful of the space available. Government guidance reminds organisers that they have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to coronavirus. Children and young people are those who were aged under 18 on 31 August 2020.
Performances and rehearsals
From 17 May 2021, theatres and concert halls can re-open.
From 27 May 2021, all settings can re-open for live performances with certain provisions in place.
Further down the page there are separate sections about performing at weddings and amateur music.
Last updated: 28 May 2021
From 17 May 2021:
Theatres and concert halls can re-open. Please refer to Government guidance on performing arts for further details about Covid-safety measures, including a dedicated section to ‘Singing and playing wind and brass instruments’ under section 3.19.
From 27 May 2021:
Live performances can recommence across all settings provided that venues undertake a full risk assessment and follow Government advice on mitigation and social distancing under the performing arts guidance or guidance for hospitality venues. We are expecting the Welsh Government to update this guidance to incorporate this announcement in the near future.
Schools and colleges
From 22 February 2021 there will be a phased reopening of schools. Please see below for more detail.
Last updated: 1 April 2021
The Welsh government confirmed that a phased return to schools for foundation phase learners will begin from 22 February. This will be subject to Covid data continuing to move in the right direction.
From 22 February 2021
The following children or young people will be permitted to return to onsite learning:
- Foundation phase learners
- Small numbers of vocational learners, including apprentices
- Children of critical workers
- Vulnerable learners
- Children who attend special schools and PRUs
From 15 March 2021
The following children or young people will be permitted to return to onsite learning (in addition to the categories permitted from 22 February):
- All remaining primary school children
- Learners in exam years
- Learners in years 10 and 12
- All secondary settings will have the flexibility to provide learners in years 7, 8 and 9 with the opportunity of a check-in focussed on support for wellbeing and readiness for a return to their onsite learning after Easter. Remote learning will continue during this period when learners are not on site.
From 12 April 2021
All children and post-16 learners return to face-to-face learning.
University students return to blended face-to-face and online learning.
Amateur choirs and groups
It is our understanding that amateur and non-professional music can resume from 3 May with certain restrictions on numbers.
Last updated: 2 June 2021
Please refer to Government guidance on performing arts for further details about Covid-safety measures, including a dedicated section to ‘Singing and playing wind and brass instruments’ under section 3.19.
Amateur groups may find the WellRehearsed app helpful, which has been developed by the Association of British Choral Directors (abcd) and Making Music. It will help to generate data on music making activities in the UK, so that we can make the case for choral singing and for music activity in the community.
Music in worship
Places of worship are open for members of the public for communal worship.
Last updated: 2 June 2021
An organised group or groups of musicians or singers are permitted during an act of worship, but a specific risk assessment and mitigating actions should be put in place to provide a COVID-19 safe environment.
- Singing or playing in groups should be limited in line with the capacity of the space available to take into account physical distancing requirements
- Congregational singing is not permitted indoors
- Wind or brass instruments should not be played indoors
- Anybody not in an organised group of musicians or singers should not join in
- Organised singing can happen in fixed groups of up to six people who should remain consistent and rehearse and perform together, whilst generally maintaining physical distancing amongst themselves.
- Organised groups of musicians should keep volumes low
- Only where physical distancing and other mitigations allow, a fixed team of six may perform with other fixed teams to create a larger group
- The decision whether to play an organ that requires air to be pushed through the mechanism should be based on a risk assessment and adherence with physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning guidance
- It is advised that you use alternative instruments such as a piano, electronic instruments or recordings
- Bell ringing or similar is permissible but with a risk assessment in place and other COVID-19 mitigations including social distancing and hand hygiene protocols
Weddings and funerals
From 21 June 2021, wedding and civil partnership receptions or funeral wakes organised by a business, can take place in indoor regulated premises. The number of people is limited by venue size and a risk assessment.
Please see below for further detail, including where life events are not being organised by a business.
Last updated: 23 June 2021
From 21 June 2021:
Wedding/civil partnership ceremonies and receptions
Please note that different rules apply where wedding/civil partnership ceremonies and receptions are organised by a business as opposed to by individuals i.e. the family or couple.
Organised by a business:
Wedding/civil partnership ceremonies and receptions can take place in regulated premises with maximum numbers for receptions determined by the capacity of a venue and their risk assessment.
Organised by individuals:
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions can take place on either business premises or on private land i.e. private gardens and homes.
Where taking place on private land, numbers are restricted as follows:
Indoors: only members of the household or extended household can gather.
Outdoors: up to 30 people (whether or not from the same household) not counting carers of persons attending or children under 11 provided (in the latter case) that all attending are from no more than 30 households.
Where taking place on business premises:
Indoors or outdoors:numbers permitted will be determined by the risk assessment carried out by the person responsible for the venue. The risk assessment will be based on the size of the venue and any other reasonable measures, which includes maintaining social distancing.
Important information for performing musicians:
Any permitted activities should be accompanied by a specific risk assessment and mitigating actions should be put in place to provide a COVID-19 safe environment. Please see below for important details which are relevant to performing musicians:
- Background music at a low-level volume can be played during the ceremony itself, however singing is not permitted.
- Blown instruments should not be played.
- Solo singers or small groups of singers would be allowed and should follow the guidance for the performing arts.
- Accompanying music at a reception should be played in a way that does not encourage guests to sing along, shout or to raise voices to maintain conversation as these are high risk activities.
- Whilst loud music, be it recorded or played live, should be avoided during the ceremony or reception, it would be possible to have unamplified live music performed by a socially distanced group (such as a string quartet) as a background.
- The decision whether to play an organ that requires air to be pushed through the mechanism should be based on a risk assessment and adherence with physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning guidance.
- The use of alternative instruments such as a piano, electronic keyboard or recorded music should be considered.
- Bell ringing or similar is permissible but with a risk assessment in place and other COVID-19 mitigations including social distancing and hand hygiene protocols.
Get the support you need as a music professional
'I want to say a personal thank you as you work to support all musicians during this unprecedented time. I have been impressed with the speed of response to inform and help the profession, as well as your letters to and lobbying of the government on our behalf.'
ISM member since 1999