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Choirs and the COVID-19 Traffic Light Framework

On Friday 3 December, New Zealand moved out of the Covid-19 Alert Levels and into the new 3-level ‘traffic light’ COVID-19 Protection Framework.

All of New Zealand is currently in RED. Read on below for the rules applying to rehearsals and concerts in the RED traffic light setting setting.

Choir rehearsals and performances fall under the government’s Events Guidelines. Read on for our own NZCF guidelines under the ‘traffic light’ system.


 

The New Zealand Choral Federation continues to take an active role in providing guidance to choirs as they plan and carry out rehearsals and performances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Objectives:

  1. Provide as safe an environment as we can for all participants.
  2. Conform to the advice and directives of health authorities.
  3. Clearly model appropriate behaviour in NZCF-run activities and all public offerings.
  4. Provide ongoing support for our members and the wider choral community.
  5. Provide support for individual choirs to negotiate safe singing practices to suit the needs of their own communities.

 

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 go beyond the Ministry of Health and MBIE guidelines to consider the demographics of their group alongside the risks involved to develop practices that will mitigate risks to their singers and audiences.

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 commend choirs for their innovative and rapid responses to date, which have put the safety and wellbeing of our singers, families, volunteers, and patrons above all else.

Vaccination mandates

NZCF stands firmly behind vaccination as the best means currently available for protecting the health of our community and the wider performing arts. We support public health education efforts that offer accurate information about vaccine efficacy and safety. We strongly recommend that all choral conductors, choral singers and accompanists collaborative who are eligible to receive a vaccine follow Ministry of Health guidance and become fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

Additional precautions 

In addition to all singers being fully vaccinated, we continue to recommend the following precautions:

  • the use of masks at rehearsals, especially if some members are not vaccinated. Visit our page on Masks for Singers
  • physical distancing of at least 1 metre
  • increased ventilation – windows should be open to allow adequate air flow
  • reduced rehearsal times/more frequent breaks
  • vigorous hand washing/sanitising
  • regular cleaning of common surfaces

What does the ‘traffic light’ system mean for choir rehearsals or concerts?

Choral activities fall under the Events and gatherings guidelines. The rules for events and gatherings are largely the same, but government advice states:

Events involve ticketing, registration or another way to control access. They can be held either at a commercial or private venue. [Concerts are events]

Gatherings may be open to the public but do not require tickets or registration. Gatherings include voluntary or not-for-profit sporting, recreational, social, or cultural activities, community club activities, faith-based gatherings, funerals or tangihanga, and weddings (as well as gatherings at someone’s home). [Rehearsals are gatherings]

 Red 

  • Record keeping and scanning is required
  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged

Vaccine passes

  • If vaccine passes are mandated for rehearsals and concerts, there is a limit of 100 people, indoors and outdoors, based on 1m physical distancing.
  • If vaccine passes are not mandated, a maximum of 25 people are allowed at gatherings (eg, rehearsals). Events (concerts) cannot take place.

 Orange 

  • Record keeping and scanning is required
  • Face coverings are encouraged as an extra precaution at rehearsals. For concerts, choirs may perform unmasked but we strongly recommend that audiences remained masked.

Vaccine passes

  • If vaccine passes are mandated for rehearsals and concerts, there are no limits on attendees.
  • If vaccine passes are not mandated for rehearsals, there is a limit of 50 people, indoors and outdoors, based on 1m physical distancing. Events (concerts) cannot go ahead.

Green 

  • Record keeping and scanning are required
  • Face coverings are encouraged

Vaccine passes

  • If vaccine passes are mandated for rehearsals and concerts, there are no limits on gatherings.
  • If vaccine passes are not mandated for rehearsals and concerts, there is a limit of 100 people, indoors and outdoors, based on 1m physical distancing
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