4BR has been informed that Brass Bands England (BBE) is currently in contact with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) seeking interpretation of the latest announcement on the Covid-19 Pandemic made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The new legislation, which comes in effect on Monday 14th September in England, restricts social contact to groups of six or fewer, but notification has been made of certain exceptions such as sport and education.
A similar announcement has been made for Scotland (Thursday 10th September) and Wales restricting gatherings of separate households over six people but no further announcements have yet been made in Wales and Northern Ireland.
4BR understands BBE is urgently enquiring into how this will directly affect amateur music groups in England, as at present the situation remains somewhat unclear. It is understood that the DCMS has indicated that clarity will be forthcoming.
BBE Chief Executive Officer, Kenny Crookston, told 4BR: "We appreciate the frustration that the banding community is experiencing at this time and our staff members are working tirelessly to achieve clarity on this very important announcement.
Sport and education are among activities receiving exemption from the new legislation and we are discussing with DCMS the relative risks for musicians, which are well documented in recent months, as well as how an appropriate case for can be made within Government for a fair and equitable approach.
Our colleagues at DCMS are also under tremendous pressure at the moment and we are thankful for their efforts in seeking this urgent clarification on our behalf."
BBE team members will be available at 6.00pm tonight to discuss any concerns bands may have over Covid-19 mitigation and offer advice on how to proceed as safely as possible when rehearsals do actually take place4BR
He added: "There will inevitably be questions within bands as to how they should proceed and we will make an announcement as to how they will be affected as soon as we receive clarification from DCMS, which we expect to be in the next 72 hours.
In the meantime, BBE team members will be available at 6.00pm tonight (Thursday 10th) to discuss any concerns bands may have over Covid-19 mitigation and offer advice on how to proceed as safely as possible when rehearsals do actually take place."
Bands can sign up for tonight's Zoom session at: https://www.bbe.org.uk/civicrm/event/info%3Fid%3D94%26reset%3D1
The session is free of charge and open to representatives of all bands and banding organisations.