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Church of England urges gov’t to allow singing to return to church amid fading COVID-19

The Church of England is urging that singing be allowed in churches as soon as possible in light of the receding COVID-19 pandemic.

Current guidance from the government of the United Kingdom states that singing and playing instruments, other than the church organ, ought to be avoided amid official reviews of the latest available scientific and medical advice about which activities can be managed safely, according to The Bristol Live.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick warned last month of the problem of exhalation spreading droplets further during the singing of hymns and thus increasing the likelihood of a further disease spread.

Along with the Royal School of Church Music, the Church of England is encouraging the government to be proactive to ensure making music can resume in churches once it is safe.

“We know that for church musicians this remains a difficult time and many are anxious to know the date it will be possible to sing and play together again,” said Sarah Mullally, the bishop of London.

“We are encouraging the Government to be alert to the consequences of our choirs’ continued silence – and to take a proactive approach to allowing singing to return to our churches and cathedrals as soon as it is possible to do so safely.

“This way we can safeguard our choral tradition which many believe to be the finest in the world.”

Royal School of Church Music director Hugh Morris stated: “We know from the work we have been doing to support church musicians up and down the land that they are longing to express themselves in music making; and we endorse the encouragement to the Government to be alert to the importance of allowing a safe return of choirs and singing to all our churches.

“The ministry of music is such a vital part of the life of the church, and choral music is a rich part of the tapestry of worship.”

Churches and other houses of worship are set to open for private prayer on June 15. Normal services are not expected to resume until at least July 4 or later.

Retail stores that were considered nonessential reopened last week in the United Kingdom for the first time since March when widespread lockdown measures were instituted.

Prohibitions on singing due to coronavirus restrictions were not exclusive to Great Britain.

In the United States, such restrictions appeared in Mendocino County, California.

The county public health order, which faced backlash went into effect from Good Friday until May 10, in the west coast state stipulated that only four individuals were allowed to record worship sets from one place and “no singing or use of wind instruments, harmonicas or other instruments that could spread COVID-19 through projected droplets shall be permitted unless the recording of the event is done at one’s residence.”

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