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Association of Choral Directors
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NZCF guidelines for choirs at Alert Levels 2 & 3

 

Auckland is currently at Alert Level 3.2. The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. On 3 December New Zealand will move to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework (aka the ‘traffic light system‘). To understand what the traffic light system means for choirs, download NZCF’s 1-page guide: Choirs & the traffic light framework

 

At Alert Level 3.2, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. Choirs may choose to rehearse outdoors, but face coverings are strongly encouraged and physical distancing is essential. Keeping an accurate contact/attendance list is vital, and ensuring all those attending are fully vaccinated will greatly reduce the possibility of transmission.

At Alert Level 2, choirs of up to 100 members may rehearse, but scanning in at rehearsals is now mandatory, face coverings are encouraged and singers should space out by at least 1 metre.

The 100-person maximum applies per each defined, separated area within a venue, as long as intermingling in common spaces can be prevented. Therefore, a larger choir could potentially conduct sectional rehearsals simultaneously at the same venue if they are in self-contained, separated areas.

School groups are subject to the Ministry of Education guidelines.

Please note: We at NZCF are not health or legal professionals. Please do not consider this medical or legal advice. These guidelines are based on NZ Ministry of Health guidelines and advice we have received from Professor Michael Baker. We will update this page as and when the government guidelines change.

Alert Level 3.2 – choirs may only rehearse outside and with a maximum of 25 people. The guidelines below should be followed.

Alert Level 2 – all the guidelines below apply.

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Stay home if you are at all unwell

Choir management should reserve the right to turn away a singer displaying signs of being unwell.

Singers may consider carrying out their own temperature checks before attending rehearsals.

 

Contact tracing

It is now mandatory to have a QR code at rehearsals so that attendees can scan in. You can either use the venue QR code, or create your own QR poster.

In addition, ensure that attendance registers are accurately recorded and contact lists are kept up to date. Taking a photo at rehearsals may be an additional means of recording attendance.

 

Face coverings

Masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. They prevent aerosols from spreading when we sing. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms. Wearing a face covering is not a legal requirement (see the Ministry of Health advice on Private social gatherings (including book clubs, musical or cultural groups or hobby groups) and Worship and faith-based gatherings). However, we do encourage the use of masks, both for your own protection and to protect others in your choir who may be vulnerable or unvaccinated. Visit our page on Masks for Singers

 

Physical distancing

Space out at rehearsals: At least 1 metre between singers, both side to side and front to back. The conductor should stand as far back from the choir as practicable. Don’t sing in a circle formation – all the singers should face forward.

 

Ventilation in rehearsal rooms

Ensure adequate ventilation, with a minimum room temperature of 18°C.

 

Wash/sanitise hands

Ensure there is access to hand washing/hand sanitiser at the door to the rehearsal room and in the bathrooms. Also consider cleaning/sanitising piano keyboards and other equipment and surfaces after use.

 

Coughs & sneezes 

Sneeze and cough into your elbow – this is good practice no matter the bug.

 

Snacks & drinks

You may wish to limit the sharing of snacks and drinks at rehearsals.

 

Attendance

Choirs may consider recording rehearsals for those who cannot attend. This will encourage members to exercise greater caution and to stay at home if remotely unwell.

Remember that members of your choir will have different reactions and levels of anxiety with the return to Alert Level 2. Some may not feel comfortable coming to rehearsals and may prefer to wait until Level 1. Some may be comfortable wearing a mask, while others may not. Please be flexible and please be kind.

 

Performances at Level 2

  • The latest Government guidelines for Events and Entertainment at Alert Level 2 indicate that there are no restrictions on audience numbers at an event facility such as a concert hall as long as everyone can safely stay 1 metre apart. Churches are also treated as event facilities if they are being used as concert venues, rather than places of worship.
  • Check with your concert venue regarding the capacity limits in place. You will need to make sure everyone can distance safely. You may want to alternate occupied seats with vacant seats to help everyone keep a safe distance.
  • If your venue has a stage, make sure the audience is seated at least 1 metre away.
  • Think about how people can safely distance in congested areas – for example, bathrooms, entrances, lifts, corridors and walkways.
  • Performers do not need to wear a face covering when on stage, but are encouraged to do so backstage.
  • Audience members should be encouraged to wear a face covering where possible.

For more information and advice for NZ choirs in the Covid-19 Delta environment, watch the video below, recorded on 2 September 2021. Click here for information on masks for singers.

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