Updated Advice from HSE Concerning Singing in Church
EAI has received further clarification from the HSE via the Taoiseach’s Office on the requirements for church soloists.
“Congregational singing, choir singing and carol singing is not permitted, due to the increased risk of spreading virus to others present at the service.
Solo singing in a religious setting such as a church or place of worship can only be done as part of an essential act of worship, and only if deemed appropriate following risk assessment. In order to sing without a face covering, the soloist should be physically located behind a plexiglass screen as far away as possible (more than 2 metres in all directions) from the congregation and other individuals, including the musical accompanist and the celebrant. Extended physical distancing (more than 3 metres) should be considered if possible. Any screen used should be cleaned regularly.
If singing from an organ loft, it is essential that the organ loft is large enough to allow a minimum of 2 metres distance in all directions between the singer and the organist. Extended physical distancing (more than 3 metres) should be considered if possible. If the loft is situated above the congregants, the soloist should be placed behind a plexiglass screen so that the risk of droplet transmission from the soloist over the edge of the loft and onto the congregation below is minimised. Any screen used should be cleaned regularly.
Music sheets, stands or microphones should only be used by the individual singing and not shared during the performance. These items and any surfaces that are touched during the performance should be cleaned between use if used by different persons. The singer and organist should be placed back to back, or side to side, rather than facing each other.
It is important that the congregation is made aware that they should not sing along with the solo singer or other instrumental music.”
Obviously this creates more work for churches that are already under pressure and are attempting to comply with the evolving advice that we are receiving. Please understand that we at EAI are requested by the government to keep Evangelical churches informed of these requirements. We did not create them, neither are we expected to police them.
In my own local church (Solid Rock Drogheda) we purchased perspex sheets from a local hardware store and built our own stands to hold them in place:
If I can be of help in providing further clarification, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would stress that EAI is a charity, and does not purport to offer legal advice, but we do strive as fellow believers to offer common sense interpretation to individual Christians and churches as we all negotiate these challenging and changing times.
We will try not to overwhelm you with continual emails, but will, over the holiday period, attempt to keep you abreast of any changes that affect Christian worship.
Your’s in Christ’s Service