Alberta Health has strongly recommended that singing not occur in person at any gatherings, including religious services at this time. People and choirs who wish to sing together are strongly encouraged to explore alternatives to in-person singing, such as virtual training or recording sessions. However, in the case of outlying situations where no other options are available, singers could assemble with the following precautions:
1. The number of people singing together in the same space must be limited to the fewest possible, up to one third of the normal occupancy or 15 people (whichever is less). This number can only include singers, coaches and conductors, and musicians; audiences should not attend.
2. Leaders of the singing group should institute practices such as:
Having people face away from others while singing.
Ensuring that musical scores or other items are not shared between singers.
Practices are cancelled if a location does not allow for 2 metre separation between singers and other attendees (e.g., coaches).
3. The owner or manager of the facility should establish rules, procedures, and physical barriers to prevent the spread of disease, such as:
Ensuring that all attendees maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others at all times by marking out seating or standing areas.
Having mechanical separation between individual singers available such as acrylic plastic barriers.
Cleaning and disinfecting washrooms and all frequently touched surfaces before and after the gathering is complete.
4. It is strongly recommended that in-person children’s choir practices do not occur, given the difficulty of maintaining physical distancing between participants.
Alberta Health has indicated that they continue to work toward finding ways to safely resume activities that are essential to the spirit of our communities, including choral singing. Choir Alberta will remain in contact with Alberta Health and communicate changes to these guidelines as they become available.
These guidelines were issued by Mr. Graham Statt, Deputy Incident Commander of the Emergency Operations Centre and Assistant Deputy Minister – Pharmaceutical and Supplementary Benefits Division of Alberta Health, in response to a letter from Choir Alberta and Pro Coro Canada dated 11 May 2020.
COVID-19 Impact Survey for Canadian Choirs NATIONAL SUMMARY OF RESULTS
The national summary of results from the COVID-19 Impact Survey are now available. Highlights include:
1,232 choirs from 611 choral organizations across the country took part (257 of which are from Alberta)
4,987 concerts and choral events have been cancelled or postponed between Jan 1 and Aug 31 (an average of 4 events per choir)
82% of choirs surveyed (which represent 4% of Canadian choirs) reported financial losses totalling over $5.2 million, an average of $5,000 per choir
Many choirs reported concerns pertaining to the mental and physical well-being of their choristers, citing the loss of community as being of greater significance than the financial losses
Many conductors have implemented temporary online solutions including digital "rehearsals" on Zoom, Skype, and Google, virtual choir projects, and video sharing