On 13 September 2022, New Zealand moved out of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, also known as the ‘Traffic Light System’. This change has meant that:
– the government’s previous Events and Gatherings Guidelines are no longer in force
– all mask-wearing requirements have been removed, except in healthcare and aged care facilities
– only people who test positive with COVID-19 are required to isolate for 7 days. Household Contacts are no longer obliged to isolate.
– all Government vaccine mandates have now ended (as of 26 September)
However, Covid is still very much in our communities, and Covid-19 case numbers are on the rise again, following the easing of restrictions. Many people are being infected for a second time and each new infection carries the risk of long-Covid, hospitalisation or even death for those most vulnerable.
NZCF is mindful of the additional risks associated with group singing and advocates a cautious and nuanced approach that takes into account the levels of transmission in the community alongside the individual risk levels of your singers and audiences. Each choir will vary in terms of its demographics and associated risk levels. Whatever policy your choir adopts regarding masks or other risk mitigations, we strongly encourage you create an environment where individual singers may still wear a mask – even in performance – should they feel more comfortable doing so.
Safety above all else
By its very nature choral singing is a collective pursuit, which means acting in service of ‘the whole’ is an essential component of belonging to a choir. We believe choirs have a responsibility to put the safety and wellbeing of singers, families, volunteers, and patrons above all else.
Acknowledging the risks associated with group singing
We know that singing increases the transmission of aerosols and therefore increases the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 to others. For that reason, we advocate that choirs consider the demographics of their group to develop practices that will mitigate risks to their singers and audiences.
For links to international research and guidance, visit this page on the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) website: https://acda.org/resources-for-choral-professionals-during-a-pandemic